Apple has launched a standalone app for classical music called Apple Music Classical in a fresh bid to take on Spotify. The app, which will be free to use for all Apple Music subscribers (except those on its entry-level voice plan), is being billed as the world’s largest classical music catalogue with both new and celebrated masterpieces available for listening, many –also— with spatial audio. Apple Music Classical is available for “pre-order” on the App Store at the time of writing, with general availability pegged for March 28, 2023.
More than 5 million tracks and works including thousands of exclusive albums will be available at launch on Apple Music Classical. Apple says it is working closely with “some of the most prolific classical music artists and renowned classical music institutions in the world to offer Apple Music Classical listeners new, unique and exclusive content and recordings at launch and beyond.”
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Like Apple Music, Apple Music Classical listeners will also be able to access lossless audio and spatial audio through Dolby Atmos. Support for Hi-Resolution lossless up to 24 bit @192 kHz is also available for those who can shell out on additional hardware like a DAC.
But perhaps an even bigger deal is the promise of “complete and accurate metadata” and “the ability to search by composer, work, conductor, or even catalogue number, and find specific recordings instantly,” which could be a challenge for services like these. Apple Music Classical, in addition, will bundle “thousands of editorial notes including composer biographies, descriptions of key works” and exclusive artwork including “high-resolution digital portraits for many of the world’s greatest composers.”
Apple Music Classical is launching a bit later than scheduled. The app, which is actually based on Primephonic, the classical music streaming service that Apple acquired in 2021, was supposed to launch in 2022, itself. It will be available for all iPhone models running iOS 15.4 or later starting March 28 globally where Apple Music is offered with the exception of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan where it will launch later. An Android version, too, is in the works and is said to be coming soon.
The current announcement comes only days after rival Spotify announced a complete makeover of its user interface borrowing elements from TikTok and Instagram.