After nearly two years of speculation, Apple Music Classical has officially been announced, and the standalone service will become available to subscribers later in March.
Apple revealed its classical music streaming offering today, via a formal release that was emailed to DMN. Back in August of 2021, the Cupertino-headquartered company acquired Primephonic (itself a classical music platform) and disclosed plans “to launch a dedicated classical music app next year.”
Despite this timetable – and several signs in 2022 that the classical music service’s rollout was imminent – Apple Music Classical is now set to go live on Tuesday, March 28th. With the notable exceptions of Japan, South Korea, China, and Taiwan, where Classical is expected to debut sometime down the line, the 28th will bring a worldwide launch, Apple said.
Apple Music subscribers will be able to access Classical (on iOS devices; an Android counterpart is “coming soon”) “at no additional cost,” execs signaled, and it’s unclear whether there’s a non-Apple Music subscription option for the forthcoming app.
Moreover, each subscription tier save the Voice Plan will unlock Classical, which is poised to run only on iPhones equipped with iOS 15.4 or later (the oldest such unit reportedly being the iPhone 6s).
On the features front, Apple Music Classical is said to boast the “world’s largest classical music catalog,” with north of five million tracks and “thousands of exclusive albums.”
Users can search this voluminous library by composer, work, conductor, and catalog number alike, Apple relayed, further indicating that Classical is equipped with “complete and accurate metadata.” Additionally, the service’s audio will play in “up to 192 kHz/24 bit Hi-Res Lossless,” the Gamma backer specified, and “thousands” of the works will support spatial audio.
Lastly, Apple took the opportunity to tout Classical’s “insightful composer biographies,” 700+ “curated playlists,” and “deep-dive guides for many key works” – besides confirming that it’s in talks to create different exclusive content yet.
“Apple is working closely with some of the most prolific classical music artists and renowned classical music institutions in the world to offer Apple Music Classical listeners new, unique and exclusive content,” the company spelled out, having commissioned multiple exclusive performances (released also as live tracks) last year.
Classical’s launch announcement represents just the latest in a line of high-profile steps to bring classical works to fans in the digital age, and it’s worth mentioning in conclusion that Universal Music Group’s Deutsche Grammophon last year debuted a classical music streaming service of its own.