Later this month, Apple will release a version of Apple Music dedicated to classical music, the company announced today. The Apple Music Classical app, which is currently available for preorder in the App Store, will operate independently from the main Apple Music app. However, access to the service will be included with a $17 per month Apple One subscription and the majority of Apple Music subscriptions (excluding the $5 per month Apple Music Voice plan).
Apple acquired the classical music streaming service Primephonic in August 2021. This PCMag article about Primephonic will answer the question of why a dedicated app for classical music may be advantageous. You could search for music not only by song title or composer, but also by information about the orchestra that recorded it, the conductor, soloists, and other performers. Primephonic could also account for the various spelling variations of composers’ names, among other characteristics.
Primephonic used a royalty model where payouts were based on the length of time songs were played rather than the number of times a song was listened to. Using a per-play model, a listener of a 15-minute movement of Beethoven’s symphony would generate the same amount of revenue for the artists as a listener of a 90-second pop song.
Apple has not disclosed how it intends to compensate artists, but its press release announcing the acquisition of Primephonic indicated that the service’s detailed metadata and “the best features of Primephonic” would be incorporated into Apple Music Classical upon its launch.
The Apple Music Classical app is currently exclusive to the iPhone, but an Android version is reportedly coming “soon.” Apple’s plans for the iPad, macOS, and Windows are unknown; Windows only received a preview version of the Apple Music app earlier this year.