Apple Failed to Release a Classical Music App in 2022
In August 2021, Apple announced it had acquired classical music service Primephonic. At the time, Apple said it planned to release a dedicated classical music app in 2022, but the year has now ended without the app launching.
"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 in 2021. Apple has not publicly addressed the plans since, and it's unclear if the app will be released in 2023.
Primephonic shut down in September 2021, with subscribers at the time receiving six months of access to Apple Music for free. If it ever launches, the Apple Classical app would serve as a replacement for Primephonic, providing users with a destination for streaming classical music from the likes of Beethoven and Mozart.
Hidden references to the Apple Classical app were discovered in a beta version of the Apple Music app for Android and in the iOS 15.5 beta last year. Even more references to the app were discovered in an XML file on Apple's servers last year.
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 work on this. Primephonic also compensated artists and other rights holders 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 suitable payout model for the Apple Classical app.
At this point, it's unclear if the Apple Classical app will be released at some point in 2023 or if the plans have been abandoned. We've reached out to Apple for comment on the situation and we'll update this story if we hear back.