It’s been almost 2 years since the classical music streaming service, Primephonic, was acquired by Apple Inc., with desire to integrate Primephonic’s assets into Apple's very own streaming platform. After months of speculation, Apple Music Classical is finally out! At least for iPhone users. Let’s have a closer look at how it works and what features it presents.
What is Apple Music Classical?
As the name already suggests, Apple Music Classical (further AMC) is an app that is dedicated entirely to classical music. This means, to avoid any confusion right at the start, that the AMC functions separately from the main Apple Music app.
As Apple Inc. previously announced, by using the app, one can access ‘the world’s largest classical music catalog’ that contains more than five million tracks ranging from rather new releases to well-known classics of the genre.
The app has been reportedly designed to support ‘the complex data structure of classical music’ considering the often longer and more-detailed titles, a higher number of artists for each work, and also the numerous versions of the well-known classical pieces existing. In other words, AMC shall give the classical genre the freedom to be as it is without having to adjust to the ‘rules’ of other genres.
In the app, one can search for a specific work, composer as well as a conductor or a catalog number, and can also explore particular periods of classical music, choirs, ensembles, orchestras, and soloists, too. Furthermore, you can discover new tracks through playlists (in fact, there should be over 700 expert-curated playlists), and expert recommendations (Editor's Choice selections) or listen to classical music pieces based on specific instrument sections.
As it was stated, the app is by far not only for music experts and enthusiasts in the genre, who can naturally use the search to find recordings. For example, The Story of Classical audio companion guide should be perfect for classical music beginners who wish to learn more about the respective field of music. Additionally, many of the playlists cover the recordings of well-known pieces of classical music or feature tracks characteristic of specific subgenres, instruments, and more.
What are the key features of Apple Music Classical?
In addition to the extensive catalog and the ‘specialized, instant search’ function that was reportedly designed specifically for classical music, there are other features (as well as limitations) that the app has.
An important feature is the extremely high quality of audio (actually stated as the ‘highest audio quality’) that is offered to the AMC users. All music pieces can be listened to at up to 192 kHz/24- bit hi-res lossless. Additionally, thousands of recordings should be available in immersive Apple spatial audio with Dolby Atmos. This means that such tracks can be enjoyed in a 360-degree sound format that recreates a surround effect through a pair of speakers, including headphones or earbuds.
Another feature or an advantage if you will, is, as we call it, the strong educational elements of the app. In addition to the already mentioned ‘complete and accurate classical metadata’ showing the exact work and artist that’s playing, users can access ‘exclusive artwork’ showcasing, among other things, the portraits of the composers/conductors/artists, and get insights into thousands of editorial notes. These include the composer's biographies, descriptions of their key works, and more.
This way, users should be able to learn more about the life and musical history of the particular artist or composer. Just for information, such data replaces the Lyrics button that is traditionally available in the main Apple Music app.
As for the limitations, the main one is the inability to download music in the AMC app to listen to it offline. As a somewhat of a solution, however, users can add their favorite recordings, albums, or playlist to their Apple Music Classical library, and then download these in their Apple Music app.
This means that whatever you add to your AMC library, you can access and listen to it in the Apple Music app on any device – this is because the music libraries of both apps are synced. However, other recordings and works of the respective classical music artists/composers or the composers’ artist pages will not be accessible anywhere else but in the AMC app. In reverse, the AMC app won’t let you access any music of any other genre than classical music.
Furthermore, the shuffle function is not available in the AMC app and it is also important to note that out of all devices produced by Apple, you can only download the app on your iPhone. As it was stated, the app has been designed and built exclusively for mobile. If you want to listen to your classical music favorites on other devices, such as iPad or Mac, you can do so through the main Apple Music app and the shared music library (as it was explained in the previous section).
For whom and where is the Apple Music Classical app available?
Speaking of app availability, who can actually download and use the app, you may ask? To begin with, all Android users are currently unable to access the AMC app but as Apple has stated, the Android version should arrive soon. If you’re an iPhone user, make sure that your phone is or can be updated to the latest version of IOS available. This should be at least the IOS 15.4 version, which means that at worst, you need to own an iPhone 6s.
When it comes to geographical availability, the app can be accessed anywhere, where Apple Music is offered. This excludes Russia, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Turkey. As for the exact users, the AMC app is available for free with (almost) any active Apple Music subscription (i. e. the Individual, Student, or Family Plan subscription).
The only exception to that is the Apple Music Voice Plan which is designed to only play music by using Siri. If you are subscribed to the Voice Plan and want to access AMC, you simply need to upgrade your current subscription.
What does it all mean for classical music artists?
So, what does actually the launch of Apple Music Classical mean for classical music artists, like yourself? Firstly, it can definitely increase the awareness of you and your body of work through specialized playlists, editorial selections as well as other specific catalog sections.
Music streaming hasn’t been particularly kind to the genre of classical music, lacking to provide it with enough attention and exposure. Apple Music Classical, as the second classical-music-only streaming platform (the first one is IDAGIO), could potentially help to make a shift in this regard.
Having said that, however, it is presently unknown how exactly Apple classical music will further be promoted with regard to the current classical music artists, namely the independent ones. So far, all the information provided in support of the app is focused entirely on the user’s experience, not the artists themselves. It is well-known that the enormous catalog as well as related data have been taken from the former Primephonic’s repository.
Additionally, considering the specialized playlists, the selection of the recordings listed there will very much depend on the choices of the company’s editors. This could mean that we will have to wait a while to see what further steps in marketing classical music Apple Music will take.
Classical music distribution with iMusician
While not much is known about how specifically the AMC is to benefit classical music artists, one should know that to even have their music on the app, you need to distribute it there with the right music distributor. Classical releases are subject to very specific title formatting and therefore not that many companies actually distribute music of this genre. At iMusician, we are proud to distribute the widest range of music genres, including classical music, meaning that we, too, deliver releases to Apple Music Classical.
What’s more, with iMusician your songs can be pitched to the curators and editors at Apple Music (including AMC), increasing your chances of getting playlisted and so discovered by potential fans of yours. Our team of experts has the right contacts at Apple Music and other music streaming platforms to try to push your release and get it featured in a relevant playlist. While the editors of AMC may not necessarily help promote your release, we will do everything possible to do so.
If this is something you would be interested in, check out our music distribution product page or the AMPLIFY+ page! Also, if you’re new here and want to know more about us, check out our Why iMusician page to learn more about what we do and how we aspire to help independent artists like yourself.
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