Apple prepares classical push

Apple prepares classical push


norman lebrecht

September 29, 2022

Signs are appearing in the digital orchard that Apple is relaunching Primpehonic as a mainstream, paid-for classical subscription service.

Apple bit off Primephonic 13 months ago.

If relaunched, it would challenge the likes of Idagio, Medici and DG’s reconceived Stage.


  • Thomas M. says:

    Nobody needs this. There’s plenty of streaming services around that offer a plethora of classical choices, more than you can listen to in a lifetime. And for free if you’re content with lossy audio.

    • Constantine says:

      This should use classical music meta-data like search by composer, conductor, orchestra etc (if it is similar to Primephonic, which is what was implied when Apple made the acquisition). And with Apple offering HD sound and Dolby Atmos this will probably be the first streaming service to offer both classical meta-data search and HD audio. Idagio offers the meta-data but is limited to 16bit lossless only.

      • John Dietmann says:

        Think Qobuz before suggesting anything Apple. Especially if you live in Western Europe But of course I’ve been accused of promoting this particular French streaming service. My all British stereo hifi system loves it.

  • Augustine Rodriguez says:

    This is a reference to “backend code”. It has appeared in other iOS’s, with no subsequent action on Apple’s part.

    Since Apple has not said anything more about Apple Classical since their purchase of Primephonic, this is pure speculation.

    • Doxologist says:

      Plenty of classical music insiders are in a position to know more than pure speculation. It’s coming.

    • Gerry Feinsteen says:

      Everything Apple news without an Apple press release is speculation—get used to it.
      Have you ever experienced searching classical music in a digital library? It’s a miserable experience, not only in iTunes but also all of the other platforms. The common cataloguing design works well for pop music but not well for classical. Apple is smart to just give classical its own zone, so we can finally see the names of performers and movement titles.
      They just might also have a special streaming service for classical. I look forward to some much-needed improvements in this area.
      Classical is big in Asia, so don’t be surprised that Apple put some R&D into this.

    • Carl says:

      Well, Apple has hired a veteran magazine editor to oversee an army of music writers to create fresh content for the new classical site. The company is going big on this aspect.

  • PS says:

    If the recent past is any guide, Apple will allow you to listen to most of Bolero but not the final minute. And nothing Russian.

  • IP says:

    Ever since they acquired the cans of a certain rapper, I have not been able to put Apple and Music in the same sentence.

  • MMcGrath says:

    I wonder how many songs are in “Don Carlos?”

  • Streaming is here to stay says:

    if you’re interested in sound-quality and not using BlueTooth, then Primephonic WAS, along with Qobuz, the best streaming service: I think that’s beyond question. Qobuz has a slightly smaller library of classical than iTunes and (in my country at least) much inferior servers — leading to individual tracks intermittently failing to stream — so if Apple do this properly and stream in the same quality that Primephonic achieved, along with better search and cataloging functions tailored to classical music, then there is indeed a place for this.