Apple is rolling out its standalone app, Apple Music Classical.
The app offers Apple Music subscribers fully optimised search, as well as high-quality audio options such as Spatial Audio. Users can browse expertly curated playlists, composer biographies and descriptions of thousands of works.
The classical sector will welcome the launch of a service for an audience that has not been fully brought into the streaming environment, perhaps because of functionality around specific search and also audio quality, where CD or even downloads were always reliable.
Apple Music Classical is available on the App Store from today at no extra cost with nearly all Apple Music subscriptions. A version for Android is set to launch soon.
“We love music - that’s really what we’re all about - and classical music is foundational to music of all genres,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats. “Apple Music Classical is a dedicated app that is great for classical experts as well as anyone who is new to classical, with the largest classical music selection in the world, the very best search and browse capabilities, the most premium sound experience with Spatial Audio, and thousands of exclusive recordings. We believe this is the very best classical music streaming experience available anywhere, and for us, this is just the beginning.”
With over five million tracks, Apple Music Classical is described as home to the world’s largest classical music catalogue. For beginners, there’s the hand-picked Editor’s Choice curation. Apple Music Classical also features thousands of exclusive albums, including recordings by world-famous orchestras.
The problem thus for classical music on DSPs is that it has multiple movements and tracks, while famous pieces have hundreds of recordings with different orchestras, conductors, and soloists. Many composers have their own special catalogue classifications, from Bach’s BWV to Mozart’s K numbers.
With these complexities in mind, Apple Music Classical has redesigned search using all combinations of keywords, from composer and work, to opus number, conductor, artist, or instrument, and even a work’s nickname. Looking up a work reveals all its recordings, plus an Editor’s Choice performance. Searching for a composer displays all available works.
The Apple Music Classical interface ensures listeners always know the work name, orchestra, conductor, contributing artists, and year of recording. For a personal library, Apple Music Classical lets listeners add uniquely classical categories such as works, composers and recordings, as well as albums, tracks and playlists.
We believe this is the very best classical music streaming experience available anywhere, and for us, this is just the beginning
The service features lossless audio of up to 24 bit/192 kHz throughout the repertoire. Using spatial audio with Dolby Atmos, listeners can enjoy thousands of recordings immersed in a 360-degree soundscape. Apple Music Classical’s spatial audio catalogue adds new albums every week as legendary recordings are remastered and contemporary performances are captured in spatial audio.
The editors have created over 700 playlists to guide listeners through 800 years of music, and more will be added. The Story Of Classical audio guides blend expert commentary and selected works to introduce key composers, periods, instruments, and classical terminology. There’s also the chance to go behind the scenes of selected recordings as leading classical artists offer track-by-track audio commentary.
Each week, Apple Music Classical’s hand-picked Hidden Gems highlight a selection of lesser-known works, while Composer Undiscovered playlists bring a new perspective to famous names.
Apple Music Classical listeners will also enjoy exclusive new artwork, including hundreds of playlist covers, as well as unique, high-resolution digital portraits for many of the world’s greatest composers.
Additionally, Apple Music has partnered with many of the greatest classical institutions in the world - including the Berlin Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, Opéra National de Paris, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Vienna Philharmonic — to bring listeners exclusive content and recordings. Apple Music Classical will also host several live orchestral performances featuring these partners at Apple Store locations around the world.
“Apple Music is also working closely with some of today’s most renowned classical composers, artists, and musicians to ensure that the app is empowering artists and engaging classical music lovers all over the world,” said a statement.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma was involved in early conversations about the need for such an app.
“Classical music - and all of culture - is fundamentally about connection, about forging bonds of understanding across time and space,” said Yo-Yo Ma. “It’s innovations like this that make that connection possible, that give us space for our curiosity to run, to rediscover the familiar, and to rejoice in the unexpected.”
“I’m thrilled that Apple Music is taking the initiative to set a new standard for classical music in the streaming age,” said violinist Hilary Hahn. “I know that I can trust Apple Music’s natively high-quality uncompressed audio to convey the subtleties of my performance, my instrument, and the space in which it’s played. And even a solo classical recording is a deeply collaborative process; Apple Music Classical’s extensive metadata ensures that everyone - composers, arrangers, conductors, musicians, producers, publishers, and more - gets the credit they deserve.”
“I’ve been working with Apple to help solve the problems of classical music streaming,” said Jonny Greenwood. “They’ve come up with a really elegant set of solutions to the unique problems that hinder the search for - and collection of - digital classical music. Put simply, there’s only one recording of Joni Mitchell’s Blue, but thousands of Rhapsody in Blue. This first kind of search, in someone newly interested in classical music, can be so off-putting and bewildering, so I’m very excited for everyone to finally have a way into this remarkable universe of music, which is welcoming to new (and old) classical fans, and which rewards enthusiasm for music with music, directly and intuitively.”
“Music is the focus of my life, and as a composer and supporter, I have long believed it is essential to our humanity,” said composer Gordon P Getty. “The advent of Apple Music Classical is an extraordinary moment in our profession. It is an exceptional streaming service that celebrates diverse artists, embraces legendary recordings, and inspires curiosity in all of us. Apple has created a unique experience worthy of our passion, and I am confident it will advance the cause of music for generations to come.”
Apple Music Classical is available for download now on the App Store everywhere Apple Music is offered, excluding China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.