Apple is launching a new music streaming service focused on classical music. Based on its 2021 acquisition of Amsterdam-based streamer Primephonic, the new Apple Music Classical app will offer Apple Music subscribers access to over 5 million classical music tracks, including new releases in high-quality audio, as well as hundreds of curated playlists, thousands of exclusive albums, and other features like composer bios and deep dives on key works, Apple says.
The app will also let users dive into the recordings to read editorial notes about the composers and descriptions of their key works. Famous composers will have their own high-resolution digital portraits available, which Apple commissioned from artists. These were designed with color palettes and artistic references from the relevant classical period, Apple notes, and more will be added in time. At launch, portraits will be available for Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin, and Johann Sebastian Bach.
So, Apple’s challenge is partly to tempt older classical music fans who don’t already pay for a streaming subscription because they prefer their CDs and the radio. Or, indeed, because they don’t think streaming services serve classical well enough – which is where Apple Music Classical’s pitch should hit home.
Classical music is fascinating right now. It’s still too often stereotyped as a niche genre for older listeners, but (apart from the fact it’s not a single genre) streaming has already expanded its audience, and there’s a youthful generation of listeners coming through.
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“It really drives me mad because it’s not because of the content. It would absolutely be lapped up by the British public because it’s about our Premier League football. It is purely because of the medium,” she said. “I joke with my ['Ted Lasso' tour] guests — we see it as very American to have lots of channels. Trying to sell a channel package to people in Britain is quite hard. I think the second it’s sold to Netflix or even Prime, it’s gonna be big.”
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The description of the new Apple Music Classical app has this one single sentence that is a bit worrying for me: "To listen to music on Apple Music Classical, you must have an internet connection."
I can parse this sentence both ways.
Apple may be saying there is no offline mode. To listen to any music using this new app, you will need an internet connection to stream music.
Or, Apple may be saying you will need an internet connection in order to either stream or download music. But after downloading, you are good to go to offline mode.
I sure hope it is the latter, but given what Apple has wrote, I will not be surprised if it is the former.
Thanks for reading.