Apple Planned to Launch a Classical Music App in 2022, But Time is Running Out

In August 2021, Apple announced it had acquired classical music service Primephonic. At the time, Apple said it planned to launch a dedicated classical music app this year, but time is starting to run out if the company wishes to follow through with the plans on time.

apple music
"Apple Music plans to launch a dedicated classical music app next year combining Primephonic's classical user interface that fans have grown to love with more added features," said an Apple Newsroom press release shared last year. Apple has not publicly addressed the plans since and did not respond to our requests for comment over the past month.

The app would serve as a replacement for Primephonic, providing users with a destination for streaming classical music from the likes of Beethoven and Mozart.

Primephonic's website originally said it was "working on an amazing new classical music experience from Apple for early next year," but the "early next year" wording was changed to "next year" on March 9, 2022, just one day after Apple held an event to introduce the Mac Studio, Studio Display, fifth-generation iPad Air, and third-generation iPhone SE.

Primephonic's service shut down in September 2021, with subscribers at the time receiving six months of access to Apple Music for free. That means Primephonic subscribers were able to listen to Apple Music through February, suggesting that Apple might have planned to announce the classical music app at its March event this year, but wasn't ready to.

In February, a code-level reference to "Open in Apple Classical" was discovered in a beta version of the Apple Music app for Android. Then, in May, similar references to "Open in Apple Classical" and "A Shortcut to Apple Classical" were uncovered in the iOS 15.5 beta. These references were never made visible to the public, but it could reveal that Apple is or at least was planning to name the app Apple Classical instead of Apple Music Classical.

Even more references to the classical music app were discovered in an XML file on Apple's servers in late September as backend preparations continued. It's unclear if the app would be built into iOS or released separately on the App Store.

Apple said it would incorporate the best features of Primephonic, including "better browsing and search capabilities by composer and by repertoire" and "detailed displays of classical music metadata," and it's possible that the company simply needs more time to finish working on the task. Primephonic also operated with a unique pay-per-second-listened model instead of a pay-per-play model like Apple Music, so perhaps Apple is still trying to figure out a payout model that it finds suitable for the Apple Classical app.

At this point, the fate of Apple Classical is unclear. Apple could end up launching the app in the next week or two and meet its deadline after all, or the launch might be pushed back to 2023. A lesser possibility is that Apple decides not to release a classical music app and instead moves to incorporate more classical features into the Apple Music app in future iOS 16 or iOS 17 versions. In any case, Apple is staying quiet about its plans right now.

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Top Rated Comments

munpip214 Avatar
20 months ago
Apple Music metadata is a mess for classical. There is no concept of splitting up composers or artists if multiple are used for a single song. Half the time the composer is set to the artist tag. Music discovery would be completely broken without some major work.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fwmireault Avatar
20 months ago
I listen to a lot of classical music but don’t understand the need of a separate app for that. I prefer to have everything at the same place. Can someone enlighten me on the benefits of primephonic and how it could improve the experience to have a separate app? Genuinely curious here

Edit: Thank you all for your answers! I'm still not convinced by the relevance of a separate app, but I can see more why it is something requested by many other people
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
4743913 Avatar
20 months ago
its going to be preinstalled on the Mac Pro
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
philcourage Avatar
20 months ago
Time is running out for the Apple Silicon transition too. They don't care. And that's fine, but why make deadlines if you are not going to do anything in time? Just say "whenever we feel like it" and call it a day.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
trhoffmann Avatar
20 months ago

Pay per minute is the worst of all subscription-to-use cancers.
Really I don’t see a point of it ether to force people to use more expensive subscription.
Pay per minute is how Primephonic calculated how to reimburse artists whose works were streamed. It was not used to determine how much Primephonic subscribers had to pay, which was a flat rate per month regardless of how many minutes a given subscriber streamed.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Böhme417 Avatar
20 months ago

I listen to a lot of classical music but don’t understand the need of a separate app for that. I prefer to have everything at the same place. Can someone enlighten me on the benefits of primephonic and how it could improve the experience to have a separate app? Genuinely curious here
While one app would seem more convenient, the current music app is a mess. And while I continue to be an Apple Music subscriber, I do miss Spotify for its better app and music discovery. AM keeps shoving crap in my face that I don’t want to listen to and never suggests new music in the genres I like. Search is also too difficult. Organizing classical music is already more challenging, so it would probably be better served with a dedicated app.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)