It’s been more than a year since Apple promised a standalone app for classical music lovers, but the wait for Apple Music Classical will soon be over.
Apple has finally announced a launch date for the new classical-focused app, which lands following Cupertino’s 2021 acquisition and immediate shuttering of the much-loved classical music streaming service Primephonic.
So, what’s the big deal about Apple Music Classical? Will it make the experience of searching for and playing classical music less chaotic than it is on the main Apple Music app? Will it offer high-resolution and spatial audio tracks? Will it cost extra? And when will it finally arrive? We have answers for you.
Apple Music Classical: Your questions answered
Why is Apple releasing a standalone app for classical music?
Classical music plays by its own set of rules compared to pop, rock, jazz, country, and other contemporary genres. Besides artists, albums, and track names, classical music listeners want access to conductors, composers, compositions, movements, catalog numbers, labels, and other specialized metadata that doesn’t exist for other music genres.
By releasing a standalone classical music app, Apple is looking to make it easier for users to search for classical tracks, shuffle works without jumbling movements around, pinpoint composers without confusing them with artists, and so on.
This news story is part of TechHive’s in-depth coverage of the best music-streaming services.
Does Apple Music Classical include Primephonic?
Primephonic was the classical streaming music service that Apple absorbed (and then closed down) back in 2021, and it forms the basis for the new Apple Music Classical app.
Now, if you’re expecting to launch Apple Music Classical and see a perfect replica of Primephonic, you’re likely to be disappointed.
While we expect to see the bones of Primephonic baked into Apple Music Classical–complete with support for the granular metadata craved by classical music lovers–the interface looks somewhat different, with the new app boasting serif (rather than sans serif) fonts in headlines, a different set of tabs along the bottom of the screen, and a visual design that hews closer to Apple Music’s look and feel.
Still, Primephonic does form the basis of Apple Music Classical, so–in a sense–the old Primephonic service is included with Apple’s new classical app.
How many tracks will be available on Apple Music Classical?
Apple promises that Apple Music Classical will include access to “over 5 million” tracks, including “everything from new releases to celebrated masterpieces.”
Besides its deep classical catalog, Apple Music Classical will also offer “thousands of exclusive albums,” although it’s not clear what’s included in Apple’s trove of exclusive classical titles.
Will Apple Music Classical support lossless and high-res music?
Apple Music Classical will indeed support high-resolution audio, with some tracks available at up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. Just keep in mind that you’ll need an external DAC (such as the iFi Go Link, for example) to experience tracks at audio resolutions greater than 24-bit/48kHz (which is commonly accepted as the threshold of high-resolution audio).
In addition to high-resolution audio, Apple Music Classical will also support spatial audio, allowing you to listen to select tracks in the immersive Dolby Atmos format.
Will you be able to download tracks from Apple Music Classical?
The standard Apple Music app lets you download tracks for offline listening, ideal for times when you don’t have an internet connection or when you want to conserve bandwidth.
Unfortunately, the same won’t be true for Apple Music Classical, with The Verge reporting that Apple Music Classical won’t support offline downloads of classical music tracks. Will Apple Music Classical support offline listening in the future? Good question.
What devices will Apple Music Classical work on?
For now, Apple Music Classical only has an app for iPhone, which means there’s no native version of the app for iPad, tvOS, or macOS.
That said, Apple Music Classical does support AirPlay 2, allowing users to stream classical tunes from their iPhones to Apple TV, HomePod smart speakers, and other AirPlay-enabled devices
Your iPhone must be running on iOS 15.4 or later to run Apple Music Classical.
How much will Apple Music Classical cost?
Access to Apple Music Classical will be included with most Apple Music subscriptions, including Individual ($10.99 a month), Family ($16.99 a month), and Student ($5.99 a month) plans.
Apple Music Classical will not, however, work with the $4.99/month Voice plan, a Siri-only offering that lets you stream music with unlimited skips through any Siri-enabled device, including AirPods, iPhones, HomePod smart speakers, Macs, and through CarPlay.
When will Apple Music Classical arrive?
The Apple Music Classical app will go live on the App Store on March 28, and you can pre-order it now.