Apple has announced that Apple Music Classical, a standalone app that specializes in the genre, will be released on March 28th. After acquiring music service Primephonic in 2021, the company had originally aimed to release a classical-focused app by the end of last year. It missed that target, but now the service is nearly here. Rather than natively being bundled into iOS, it will come in the form of a standalone release in the App Store. Access to the app comes included with a standard Apple Music subscription.
“Apple Music Classical makes it quick and easy to find any recording in the world’s largest classical music catalog with fully optimized search, and listeners can enjoy the highest audio quality available, and experience many classical favorites in a whole new way with immersive spatial audio,” Apple wrote in a press release.
Classical has often been cited as one of the best use cases for spatial audio, giving recordings a greater sense of presence. The app will also offer “hundreds of curated playlists, thousands of exclusive albums, insightful composer biographies, deep-dive guides for many key works, intuitive browsing features, and much more.”
Apple Music Classical will stream at up to 192 kHz/24 bit hi-res lossless, and Apple says it will include “thousands” of spatial audio recordings. Like Primephonic, it will offer thorough and accurate classical metadata — a challenge for services that cram all music genres into one destination — and you’ll be able to search “by composer, work, conductor, or even catalog number, and find specific recordings instantly.”
It’s worth noting that there won’t be a native iPad version of the app, and Apple has confirmed to me that Apple Music Classical will not include offline downloads at launch.
Going the extra mile to appeal to classical fans could help differentiate Apple Music as the company continues trying to chip away at Spotify’s lead in subscription music. Just yesterday, Spotify announced a revamped interface that borrows design cues from TikTok and other social apps.
At the outset, Apple Music Classical will be exclusive to iOS, but an Android version is “coming soon” according to Apple’s press release. The regular Apple Music service is already multi-platform, so it makes sense for Classical to follow the same path. It will support iOS 15.4 and newer and be available “worldwide where Apple Music is offered,” though the company says China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan will come later.
Update March 9th, 2:30PM ET: The article has been updated with details on offline downloads and more.