You use Apple Music to listen to your favourite tunes, and, for the most part, it’s a good experience. However, have you ever tried searching for classical music on the service? It’s kind of a nightmare. It isn’t Apple Music’s fault, necessarily. Your average streaming platform is going to have a difficult time organising the massive catalogue that is classical music alongside the way modern music is archived. The solution, then, is to abandon average streaming platforms for classical music listening. And thus, Apple Music Classical was born.
Apple is launching Apple Music Classical on Tuesday, March 28. The service isn’t a new tab in the main Apple Music app, though. Rather, it’s a standalone program you’ll need to download on its own. However, it isn’t a separate tier of Apple Music, such as the cheaper Apple Music Voice. Apple Music Classical is 100% free for all Apple Music (and, by extension, Apple One) subscribers. If you pay for Apple Music, the Classical app is part of the fun.
But why Apple Music Classical? Why not Apple Music Pop, Apple Music Rap, or Apple Music Rock? Part of the thinking here comes from Apple’s acquisition of classical streaming service Primephonic back in 2021. Apple assured fans that Primephonic’s features would soon be rolled into Apple Music, allowing everyone to experience a dedicated classical music streaming solution. While the original target was 2022, it seems Apple’s plans are finally materialising.
But why acquire Primephonic in the first place? The reason an individual classical-themed Apple Music app works is because of how classical music itself works. Classical music isn’t like today’s music, obviously: Thanks to copyright laws, an artist owns the songs they put out. If someone wants to record and publish a version of that song themselves, they need to pay the original musician, along with any other owners of the track. That gets expensive, so mainstream covers aren’t wildly common. It’s pretty easy to ask Siri to play you a modern song and get the result you’re looking for (minus remixes, singles, movie soundtrack, etc.).
Classical, however, is a whole other beast. For the most part (yes, contemporary classical music exists) classical composers are all dead, and didn’t live in a time of recorded music. Orchestras and other groups of musicians fill in the gaps here, recording their own versions of classical pieces. What results is an unwieldy number of recordings for any given piece of music. You might have a particular recording you love, but finding that recording in Apple Music’s sea of choices is damn near impossible. You often have to settle for the options that present themselves to you. Not ideal.
Apple Music Classical fixes this problem by simplifying classical music catalogues and making them easy to navigate. When you search for a particular piece, Apple Music Classical organizes a list of popular recordings, so you can easily browse through the top options. In some cases, you’ll even see an editor’s preferred recording choice at the top, plus a description of the piece itself. You get an educational experience for free just by browsing a favourite concerto.
That curated experience should resonate throughout the entire app. The goal here is to make browsing classical music as simple and straightforward as possible. Even if you’re not into classical music, Apple Music Classical is still worth your time. After all, it’s included with your Apple Music subscription, so it’s no cost to try, and it makes discovering classical music easier. Hopefully, it inspires more people to listen to the classics, while at the same time offering classical music fans a better experience.
Apple put Apple Music Classical up for pre-order on the iOS App Store, and you should try it. Remember, there’s no charge here. The app itself is free, and as long as you subscribe to Apple Music or Apple One, you have access. All pre-ordering does is notify you when the app is available, and download it to your device automatically. Pre-order today, and, on March 28, you’ll awaken to a portal to the long history of classical music on your iPhone.