Apple Music Classical waltzes onto iPhone

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited March 2023
Apple Music Classical provides curated access to a range of classical and classical-inspired music, and it can now be downloaded from the App Store globally.




Apple purchased Primephonic in 2021 with the intention of releasing a purpose-made classical music app. Now, over 18 months later, Apple Music Classical has finally launched globally.

The rollout began slowly on March 27 for international users. Some select users may not be able to download the app as of this publication, but it should be fully available by March 28.

The app provides a simple interface resembling Apple Music without a Radio tab. Users can jump right in to listen to music from the Listen Now tab, or search for music to add to their Library.

The Browse section is very different from Apple Music, which is usually inundated with the latest pop or rap music. Instead, users can see a selection of categories for perusing the classical catalog.

Speaking of the catalog, this isn't just a home for 17th-century classics or modern big bands. It's home to movie soundtracks, video game music, classical-inspired selections, and more.

Classical has a variety of modern and classic selections
Classical has a variety of modern and classic selections


Apple promises over 5 million tracks with high-quality audio up to Hi-Res Lossless and Dolby Atmos. Users can also benefit from the incredible volumes of metadata that include composer biographies, descriptions of key works, and more.

The app also has exclusive content like album walkthroughs from composers and experts called "Track to Track." Users can also listen along to "The Story of Classical" to learn more about classical music via commentary between tracks.

We were disappointed to discover that Apple Music Classical doesn't have any settings at launch. Any music played within the Classical app that is also cataloged in the Apple Music app will show up in the user's "Recently Played" section and affect their recommendation algorithm.

Apple Music Classical doesn't have any settings
Apple Music Classical doesn't have any settings


There are no AirPlay 2 controls from within the app, meaning the HomePod can't take over playback from an iPhone. The iPhone must send audio to a HomePod or Mac using the regular AirPlay protocol.

The app is localized in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. It will work on any iPhone or iPod that can run iOS 15.4 or later.

Apple lists Apple Music Classical as available worldwide where Apple Music is offered, excluding China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Taiwan, and Turkey. The app can be downloaded from the App Store.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,767member
    I opened the app intending to listen to Shostakovich, and 3-4 lines down that’s exactly who I found. My recently listened to section was populated with songs from the Music app, which I thought was a nice touch.  For me, the best thing about this app will be not having to get constantly bombarded with anymore pop crap.

    More touches and more polish will follow. For now, I’m loving what I’m seeing/hearing, but this is not a finished product. 
    edited March 2023 muthuk_vanalingamcg27byronltenthousandthingsjeffharrisdewmegregoriusmravnorodomwaveparticle
  • Reply 2 of 14
    uphilluphill Posts: 62member
    Quick first impressions:

    1) This app retains the utterly ignorant-of-classical-music method of assembling playlists that was so infuriating with Apple Music. One is presented with the third movement of this followed by the first movement of that, and so on. The people at Apple Music simply view each part of any complex classical composition as a separate, independent "song". It's like reading chapter 3 of one book followed by chapter 12 of another book etc. This ignores the fact that all the movements of a classical composition are actually a whole narrative that loses meaning and context when broken, separated and thrown together randomly.

    Clearly, Apple has not hired anyone who actually understands classical music but just people who view it in the paradigm of pop or jazz albums that are indeed collections of "songs" that can generally stand alone as independent pieces.

    2) On the positive side, if one avoids the ignorant playlists, it is quite a bit easier to find music by an actual composer or by the name of a composition. A search on "Gotterdammerung" for example yields the actual Wagner opera and not a page of miscellaneous pop recordings that have little or nothin to do with Wagner, or opera.

    Don't get me wrong: I listen to and love a wide variety of pop, rock, jazz, World, etc. music. I am just dismayed that Apple, one of the richest and most innovative companies in the history of the World, can't find even one person who understands the important differences amongst various genres of music.
    jeffharrisdewmegregoriusmravnorodomwilliamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 14
    I don’t know whether the issue I’m having is by design or a failure of my app to populate with info from Apple Music. It seems in Library that Composers, Works and Artists requires ME to add favourites into those fields. Whereas, in Apple Music, any music in my library is automatically organised by that field in those sections. I had hoped to be able to go to Composer and see all the composers of music I’d added/downloaded to select, not merely those I’d added as favourites, which is surely a different thing. 
  • Reply 4 of 14
    Downloaded Apple Classical just to have a look. I’m not interested in music subscriptions.

    It seems OK, not great. I did some searching for a few things and the variety of recordings, meaning different recordings of the same work, is very limited. That’s probably because they’re still signing up different record labels. I HOPE that’s it. 

    A lot of stuff I like, like French Baroque opera or Franco-Flemish polyphony, is pretty much missing. 
    Although, they seem to have the entire catalogue of Capella Pratensis, a fantastic polyphony ensemble from the Netherlands. But I have all their CDs already. 

    They seem to want to continue certain musical prejudices, like a Baroque introduction section with Bach, Händel and Vivaldi ONLY, like it’s 1970 or something.

    As mentioned, the whole Playlist metaphor just doesn’t work with multiple movement classical compositions.
    A symphony isn’t 4 or 5 “songs”, a concerto isn’t 3 “songs”. 
    They make some very strange combinations of pieces in some of the different playlists, but no complete works! 
    It reminds me of a New York “classical” radio station that decided to only play fast movements, nothing vocal, no contemporary music.

    AND AirPlay is missing entirely! 

    No doubt the app will improve over time. At this point, it seems a little half-baked and not ready for prime time.
    edited March 2023 dewmegregoriusmravnorodomwilliamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 14
    uphilluphill Posts: 62member
    On further use, I note that one aspect of playlists has improved a little. The actual piece or movement being streamed is more or less properly identified. It use to be that the descriptor, for example: "Double Concerto for Violin and Cello: lii. Allegro vivo" is a "song" title in a current Apple Music playlist. Indeed, that's probably the name of the track on the recording. Unlike "Cocaine", which is a distinctive song title that pretty much anyone knows was composed by J. J. Cale, it is not so likely that anyone would easily know who is the composer of "Double Concerto for Violin and Cello: lii. Allegro vivo" It isn't actually a title of a "song", and in fact several composers could have compositions that include this as one of the movements.

    Apple Music Classical seems to provide information about who is the composer and which composition is being exerpted even in playlists.

    Also, I was able to Airplay from my iPhone to an Apple TV 3rd generation which I use as the source for my audio system because it has an optical audio output that I feed into a DA converter which inputs to  my preamplifier.
    gregoriusm
  • Reply 6 of 14
    For classical music and jazz fans that a;so like rock& pop and like to avoid being bombarded with hip-hop and what they dare to call R&B, there is also Qobuz. I tried most music services: Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal and Qobuz is the one I kept. For I read here in the article and the comments fails to impress me compared to my experience with Qobuz.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    I don’t know whether the issue I’m having is by design or a failure of my app to populate with info from Apple Music. It seems in Library that Composers, Works and Artists requires ME to add favourites into those fields. Whereas, in Apple Music, any music in my library is automatically organised by that field in those sections. I had hoped to be able to go to Composer and see all the composers of music I’d added/downloaded to select, not merely those I’d added as favourites, which is surely a different thing. 
    And someone please do let me know if this is how it is meant to function. If not, I will have to see how I can reset the link between Music and Music Classical so it populates Artists, Works and Composers with all the classical items of my library, rather than just those added as favourites.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    mjpbuymjpbuy Posts: 18member
    Quality of the sound is great.
    WHY not Car Play or Home Pod integration 
    How many years did they have to develop this App.
    jeffharriswaveparticle
  • Reply 9 of 14
    mjpbuymjpbuy Posts: 18member
    Airplay does work.
    I am streaming to my HomePod mini - but first time I tried it continue to play from Music
    It does play thought the car sound system when the iPhone is connected via Car Play - but it would be nicer if the app had a Car Play interface
  • Reply 10 of 14
    I'm really disappointed that multi-movement works are not handled properly in Playlists.  Primephonic didn't do that either.

    Also, what happened to autoplay?  I expected to select a symphony or concerto, listen to it, and then hear random suggestions of full (all movement) works.  Why is this not an option?

    What have they been doing for the last 2 years?
  • Reply 11 of 14
    waveparticlewaveparticle Posts: 1,497member
    Downloaded Apple Classical just to have a look. I’m not interested in music subscriptions.

    It seems OK, not great. I did some searching for a few things and the variety of recordings, meaning different recordings of the same work, is very limited. That’s probably because they’re still signing up different record labels. I HOPE that’s it. 

    A lot of stuff I like, like French Baroque opera or Franco-Flemish polyphony, is pretty much missing. 
    Although, they seem to have the entire catalogue of Capella Pratensis, a fantastic polyphony ensemble from the Netherlands. But I have all their CDs already. 

    They seem to want to continue certain musical prejudices, like a Baroque introduction section with Bach, Händel and Vivaldi ONLY, like it’s 1970 or something.

    As mentioned, the whole Playlist metaphor just doesn’t work with multiple movement classical compositions.
    A symphony isn’t 4 or 5 “songs”, a concerto isn’t 3 “songs”. 
    They make some very strange combinations of pieces in some of the different playlists, but no complete works! 
    It reminds me of a New York “classical” radio station that decided to only play fast movements, nothing vocal, no contemporary music.

    AND AirPlay is missing entirely! 

    No doubt the app will improve over time. At this point, it seems a little half-baked and not ready for prime time.
    Classical Music should be grouped as albums not songs. 
  • Reply 12 of 14
    uphilluphill Posts: 62member
    As StephaneB points out, at least Apple Music Classical doesn't continuously try to "seduce" me into becoming a fan of Gangsta Rap or hideous Auto Tuner distorted vocal recordings by slipping them surreptitiously into my "New Music Mix" playlist.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,856member
    uphill said:
    As StephaneB points out, at least Apple Music Classical doesn't continuously try to "seduce" me into becoming a fan of Gangsta Rap or hideous Auto Tuner distorted vocal recordings by slipping them surreptitiously into my "New Music Mix" playlist.
    Try Flacbox probably the best player made by a third party developer. If you want to use CarPlay it is a very well designed program with many things designed into it that Apple probably will never offer.

    Works great on the iPhone and very well within CarPlay. And allows you to play the music of your choice music without any distractions.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    jccjcc Posts: 326member
    I still don't know why this can't be added to the existing app? It seems that they just needed to add a classical button to the bottom of the existing music app and just let people go to town? The only major difference is the search which is easily incorporated into the existing search.
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