The long-rumored Apple Music Classical app has finally been given an official release date – the new app promises to offer the world’s largest catalog of classical music.
Apple Music Classical will launch on March 28 and surprisingly will be available to Apple Music subscribers on both iOS and Android, with the latter apparently “coming soon”. Of course, iPhone owners will be able to listen to it first as long as you’re running iOS 15.4 or later.
A new Apple app that you can “pre-order” right now on the App Store (opens in a new tab), is separate from the existing Apple Music app, but still requires an Apple Music subscription. Once you’ve pre-ordered Apple Music Classical, it will apparently be automatically downloaded at launch.
For fans of symphonies and orchestral music, it promises to be a real treat with over five million tracks and, according to Apple, “thousands of exclusive albums”. What’s more, if you have a solid set of speakers or a pair of the best headphones, Apple promises thousands of recordings with surround sound and 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res Lossless audio quality.
Apple has also worked hard on the user interface, offering the ability to search for music by composer, song, conductor, and for the super-nerds of classical music, even by catalog number. All of this likely helped Apple’s acquisition of Primephonic, the classical music streaming service it bought in 2021. The only downside is that Apple Music Classical won’t have an offline listening option, at least initially.
Still, overall, Apple’s classic music app seems like a pretty big perk for Apple Music subscribers, and it somewhat dilutes the hype Spotify is building around its new homepage revamp.
Analysis: Why a separate Apple Music Classical app?
Apple already has an Apple Music app that has a decent selection of classical music – so why did it release a separate app for classical music fans?
The key is the painstaking organization of Apple’s new classic app. Classical music is very different from other forms of music because each piece has often been recorded by many different orchestras – and even more confusing is that the works of many composers have been cataloged using different systems, including the opus numbering system.
This system is far from perfect, as in the classical era many publishers placed a group of works under one number – or in the case of the French composer Massenet, used “Opus 12B” instead of “Opus 13” for superstitious reasons. Many 20th-century composers simply ignored this system altogether, while other composers (such as Mozart) use a completely different cataloging system.
Apple Music Classical’s advanced search features – which let you search by composer, song, conductor or catalog number – should make it much easier to find the song you’re looking for and help explain why Apple separated it from its main Music app.
While it is possible to listen to classical music on the best music streaming services (including Apple Music, with no less spatial sound), the new Apple Music Classical app promises to take the experience to the next level. We will certainly test it on March 28 if we feel like Rachmaninoff.