Apple lists late Beethoven as ‘explicit content’

Apple lists late Beethoven as ‘explicit content’


norman lebrecht

December 14, 2020

The Opus76 quartet of Kansas Cty have invested herculean efforts in recording the last Beethoven string quartets during Covid.

Imagine their consternation to find that Apple has listed them with a red ‘E’, signifying explicit content.

Well, I guess that’ll make the kids keen to listen.



  • A.L. says:

    For years I have been mystified (and unable to resolve) that Apple Music has tagged LvB’s 7 Variations on “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen” (with Pablo Casals and Rudolf Serkin) as Explicit. Go figure.

  • marcus says:

    Er, WTF?

  • V. Lind says:

    Explicit what? quality?

    Sounds as if somebody at Apple has been at the Calvados.

  • Morgan says:

    Quite odd and not how it shows for me on my iPhone nor my MacBook.

  • Kenneth says:

    I hope the same goes for Le Sacre du Printemps!

  • buxtehude says:

    They are explicit.

  • Jean says:

    Not necessary Apple’s fault: when a label submits new content to a digital service provider they can mark some content as ’explicit content’ if they wish. I would first check with the label.

    But like with all manual work done by humans, wrong clicks and human errors are possible… – – I do not think it was intentional.

  • John Borstlap says:

    I think these pieces are scandalous indeed & should be prohibited. Old fogeys sinful pleasures pushed through the throats of the young!


  • Genius Repairman says:

    Beethoven”s Late Quartets. Rated R. Not for primitive apes who prefer sweet confections to Grand Fugues.

  • M McAlpine says:

    When of course something is assessed by a mindless computer we get a mindless assessment. Mind you, no more mindless than a lot of things these days!

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    That’s what happens when the thinking is provided by machines, aka “AI”

  • Harry Collier says:

    I hate to think what rating Apple gives to “Tosca”. EEEE, perhaps.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Well … Beethoven WAS pretty explicit about what he wanted in this music.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It would be an interesting cultural-anthropological experiment to advertise a classical music concert at schools with the warning: ‘This stuff your parents definitely don’t want you to hear’.

  • Edgar Self says:

    More lazy, careless, unthinking parrot-like illiteracy. Explicit WHATt? This is risible.

  • Alexandra Ivanoff says:

    They probably associated it with the classic porno film “Misty Beethoven.”

  • phs says:

    Got a friend at Apple to fix it. Thanks for reporting.