Apple Explains Why It Launched an iPhone App Dedicated to Classical Music
Apple today published a support document explaining why it decided to release a standalone Apple Music Classical app for classical music.
In short, Apple says the app was designed to support classical music's complex metadata:
Classical music is different. It has longer and more detailed titles, multiple artists for each work, and hundreds of recordings of well-known pieces. The Apple Music Classical app is designed to support the complex data structure of classical music.
Apple offers a longer explanation on a new Apple Music Classical page:
Classical music often involves multiple musicians recording works that have been recorded many times before and are referred to by different names. For example, from the formal Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 to the popular byname of Moonlight Sonata, or in multiple languages, such as Mondschein Sonata in German. Such complexities mean that classical music fans have been ill-served by streaming platforms. Until now. A distinct app, included with an Apple Music subscription, gives these classical music lovers the editorial and catalog content they've been missing.
Only a brand-new app — with specialized features and a beautiful interface designed for the genre — could remove the complexity and make classical music easily searchable, browsable, and accessible for beginners and experts alike.
The support document provides answers to some other frequently asked questions about the app, which began rolling out today. Much of the information relates to how the Apple Music Classical app integrates with the standard Apple Music app.
Apple also shared a video overview of the app on YouTube:
Apple Music Classical offers over five million classical music tracks and is free to use with a standard Apple Music subscription on iOS 15.4 and later. The app is based on Primephonic, a classical music streaming service that Apple acquired in 2021. The app is available for the iPhone only at launch, with an Android version coming soon.
Top Rated Comments
First search test did not inspire confidence.
- Typed “Beethoven symphony 2” (sans quotes) in the search box and the works (as opposed to albums) listed were the composer’s symphonies nos. 5, 9, 6, 7 and 3 along with, I assume, the number of recordings or tracks of each.
- Under that is a See All Works link. Selecting it takes you to a page that lists the symphonies as above followed by 8, 2 (finally!), 1, 4 and 10 (?!).
- Select 2 and you’re presented with a preliminary list of recordings, including an unexplained/unjustified Editor’s Choice (Berlin Phil under Rattle, no thanks), followed by a list of five Popular Recordings and a See All link.
- Select that and you finally get to the list of 500-odd albums that can be sorted by Popularity (the default), Name, Release Date or Duration. Lots of big name European and American orchestras under big name conductors, though you’ll have scroll through several screens before you come across a period instrument performance (Gardiner’s, with Savall's excellent performance coming a few more screens below that).
This is lame from start to finish and not that much better than Apple Music.
I used to subscribe to Idagio. Searching it for Beethoven symphony 2 presented you with a results page in two parts: a list of all the recordings and another list of the ensembles, the conductors and, for things like concertos and chamber music, the individual musicians. You want to hear Toscanini’s recording with the NBC Symphony Orchestra? You select NBC or Toscanini and bingo.
Searching Apple Classical for Turandot turns up scads of albums and tracks (all together in a single list…) but not the just released Warner recording with Radvanovsky and Kaufmann. To get that, I had to type Turandot Pappano (the conductor). Neither it nor the recently released William Christie-conducted Platée from Vienna had liner notes, let alone libretti. For new recordings, Idagio often had both in PDF format.
First impressions, I admit, but so far a disappointment. Plus, though there's lots of stuff in lossless and hi-res, I've no way to play it back in anything but mid-res (Sonos, which does hi-res with Qobuz and Amazon, and AirPod Pros).
Is anyone planning on jamming to Classical Music App + Drinking some Red Wine this upcoming weekend? ? ?