Apple buys Primephonic, plans classical Apple Music app

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Apple has acquired classical music streaming company Primephonic, and plans to both improve the current Apple Music service, plus launch a dedicated classical offering.

Apple Music
Apple Music


Apple has previously made minor concessions to classical music in iTunes, and then AppleInsider got classical musicians to evaluate AirPods Max. Now the company is making its biggest stride to bringing classical to Apple Music with the acquisition of Primephonic.

"We love and have a deep respect for classical music, and Primephonic has become a fan favorite for classical enthusiasts," Apple's vice president of Apple Music and Beats, Oliver Schusser, said in a statement.

"Together, we're bringing great new classical features to Apple Music," he continued, "and in the near future, we'll deliver a dedicated classical experience that will truly be the best in the world."

"Bringing the best of Primephonic to Apple Music subscribers is a tremendous development for the classical music industry," said Thomas Steffens, Primephonic's co-founder and CEO. "Artists love the Primephonic service and what we've done in classical, and now we have the ability to join with Apple to deliver the absolute best experience to millions of listeners."

"We get to bring classical music to the mainstream and connect a new generation of musicians with the next generation of audience," he said.

Primephonic is no longer accepting new subscribers, and will go offline from September 7. Current Primephonic subscribers will get six months of Apple Music for free.

Initially, Apple Music subscribers are to benefit from new exclusive content from Primephonic, as well as Primephonic playlists. Apple plans to improve browsing and searching for classical music over the next months.

Then in 2022, Apple intends to launch a dedicated Apple Music classical app. It will be based on Primephonic's current system, but all more as-yet unspecified features.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 459member
    This sounds great. I'm a casual classical fan, but even I can tell that the particulars of Classical Music are messy in the Music app.
    Oferrepressthis
  • Reply 2 of 22
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,938member
    Primephonic paid their artists compensation based on time streamed, not songs played. I presume that's because classical songs have much wider durations. I wonder if Apple will honor that process or replace it. Pop songs tend to be the same length: 3-5 minutes.
    Oferrepressthisbyronl
  • Reply 3 of 22
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,991member
    Classical music is a much larger market than most people think it is. I will wait patiently to see what Apple does here. I too, am a big time classical music listener. Brahms over Taylor Swift any day.
    p-dogrepressthisbyronl
  • Reply 4 of 22
    Great news. I’ve long wished for better classical discovery in Apple Music. Looking forward to seeing what Apple do for classical fans. 
    Oferrepressthisbyronl
  • Reply 5 of 22
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,864member
    Speaking a music educator, this is long overdue.  
    OferGG1repressthissphericbyronl
  • Reply 6 of 22
    Should be pretty cheap since the composers are mostly long dead (and out of copyright).
    repressthis
  • Reply 7 of 22
    tokyojimu said:
    Should be pretty cheap since the composers are mostly long dead (and out of copyright).
    Composers may be dead and no longer subject to copyright protection, but the performances and performers are not. Classical CDs (the ones that aren't, you know, "The 10 Best Classical Songs EVAH! Volume 37") were often more expensive back in the day due to the complex license and rights-management with more layers to it than standard ASCAP licensing for popular/modern music.
    lkruppGG1lolliverrepressthissphericbyronl
  • Reply 8 of 22
    macapfelmacapfel Posts: 571member
    How much did this acquisition cost?
  • Reply 9 of 22
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,378member
    tokyojimu said:
    Should be pretty cheap since the composers are mostly long dead (and out of copyright).
    There are many composers who are still very much alive and would like to be able to make a living writing new music. Living performers are also very much interested in receiving remuneration for their lifetime of hard work perfecting mastery of their instruments. 
    edited August 2021 gregoriusmlolliverfastasleeprepressthissphericbyronl
  • Reply 10 of 22
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,378member
    Classical music listeners have always had a bit of a struggle finding their music in places designed to sell pop music. Listeners might come at it searching by composer, performer, sub-genre, or instrument. Pop/rock record stores and listings don't generally work that way, and relegate classical to a misfiled section in the back corner of the store.

    Additionally, a lot of classical music is long-form and multi-movement. On an album, a single work is frequently represented by multiple tracks. Listeners asking Siri to cue up some Beethoven are quickly disappointed when playlists grab a track from the middle of a symphony, the next from a the end of a piano sonata and the next from the beginning of a string quartet. This would be like asking for a playlist of your favorite classic rock and getting the guitar solo from "Hot for Teacher," followed by the bridge from "We Can Work it Out," and then just the first half of "Layla," truncated before the piano part starts. Bleh. Also bleh is the perpetual featuring of "Best of Bach" and "Soothing piano music" compilation albums, that might get a lot of play from dabblers who just want something randomly "classical," but are profoundly annoying to anyone who actually likes classical music. There ought to be a place to find that stuff, but the analogue would be going to the record bins looking for something new or an interesting deep dive your favorite rock artist, only to have to dig through a bunch of K-Tel and Time-Life greatest hits collections and generic band re-recordings of your favorite rock artist's stuff. Bleh.

    Apple's move to lossless streaming and spatial audio is already a great thing for classical music, and now, paying better attention to accommodate search and long-form performances, this will make Apple Music classical an actual destination for classical music enthusiasts.

    edited August 2021 kayessgregoriusmpoisednoiseGeeAyePascalxxbyronl
  • Reply 11 of 22
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,795member
    tokyojimu said:
    Should be pretty cheap since the composers are mostly long dead (and out of copyright).
    Apple isn't acquiring Primephonic for exclusive streaming rights or a fat content catalogue.

    Chopin polonaise performed by Artur Rubinstein? It's already available on Apple Music, Primephonic, Amazon, Google, Pandora, whatever.

    No one here knows how Primephonic's contracts are written but most likely Apple will need to renegotiate new contracts as each one expires just like they need to renegotiate their Apple Music contracts.

    The main reasons for the acquisition are likely some sort of better music discovery algorithm and a superior classification database (and search engine). Note that Apple intends on having a dedicated classical music app.

    If I search for "Goldberg Variations" on most streaming services, the search results are a big mess. How should results be ranked? 

    And what about a given artist? Rubinstein recorded many pieces several times. So has Argerich, Schiff, Karajan, Levine, Yo-Yo Ma, etc. How well are live recordings identified compared to studio recordings?
    GG1fastasleepPascalxxbyronl
  • Reply 12 of 22
    tehabetehabe Posts: 61member
    sdw2001 said:
    Speaking a music educator, this is long overdue.  
    How is this long overdue? Primephonic existed before, you could have just used it. Apple didn't have to aquire the company for it to be available. It is just that other classical streaming services will have a harder time to compete on iOS, because Apple as an advantage on the plattform. I think this very bad news.
  • Reply 13 of 22
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,378member
    tehabe said:
    sdw2001 said:
    Speaking a music educator, this is long overdue.  
    How is this long overdue? Primephonic existed before, you could have just used it. Apple didn't have to aquire the company for it to be available. It is just that other classical streaming services will have a harder time to compete on iOS, because Apple as an advantage on the plattform. I think this very bad news.
    Having a major music platform treat classical music as a distinct form rather than an afterthought to pop music is long overdue.

    Also, Apple's acquisition of Beats music doesn't seem to have put Spotify out of business.
    lolliverrepressthisbyronl
  • Reply 14 of 22
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,991member
    macapfel said:
    How much did this acquisition cost?
    Why do you want to know?
    repressthis
  • Reply 15 of 22
    p-dogp-dog Posts: 116member
    Yes, yes, yes! Kick a$$! This is the best news I’ve heard all day!
  • Reply 16 of 22
    rcfarcfa Posts: 1,124member
    All fine, but no thanks to yet another app!

    Audio media 
    Video media 
    Text/Image media

    That’s three apps. Even A/V could be combined, as in “playback media” vs “static display media”

    I really don’t need separate apps for pop, jazz, audio books, classic, podcasts, tv series, movies, video podcasts, anime, books, document viewing, etc.

    It’s just annoying.

    And then: where do I find audio podcasts of classic music concerts? 🙄
  • Reply 17 of 22
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,102member
    tokyojimu said:
    Should be pretty cheap since the composers are mostly long dead (and out of copyright).
    And all those recordings are hundreds of years old too, right?
  • Reply 18 of 22
    mobirdmobird Posts: 695member
    Anyone consider using Roon (https://roonlabs.com/) for classical music discovery?

    Pascalxx
  • Reply 19 of 22
    mobirdmobird Posts: 695member
    tokyojimu said:
    Should be pretty cheap since the composers are mostly long dead (and out of copyright).
    And all those recordings are hundreds of years old too, right?

    And only available on 78 RPM disc ;)

  • Reply 20 of 22
    tokyojimu said:
    Should be pretty cheap since the composers are mostly long dead (and out of copyright).
    OMG is Bach dead?
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