Ever since Apple acquired Primephonic in August 2021, there was an assumption, and much talk, of the development of Apple’s own targeted classical music streaming service. In fact, Apple promised its classical music loving users improved service.
Relying largely on sparsely worded company updates, industry rumours swirled again in late 2021, when the project was said to be an ongoing process.
Now, in the fall of 2022, curious people at a Google-dedicated news service uncovered more clues in the code of the beta version of the Apple Music app that was uploaded to the Google Play Store in late summer 2022.
Looks like Apple is setting up Apple Music Classical in the backend now pic.twitter.com/LoWW6mHQLT
— Aaron (@aaronp613) September 28, 2022
It took decompiling to notice that the beta version of the update includes specific mentions of Apple Classical in the backend code. It would seem to confirm rumours that the company’s plans all along were to launch a separate, stand-alone classical music app alongside its standard Apple Music.
Why does classical music need its own streaming service?
Classical music is… different
The upside of streaming for classical music is that it has introduced many new listeners, and according to some research, a new generation to its many joys. Up to a third of streamers say they listen to classical music at least some of the time.
The downside comes for anyone whose interest goes beyond simple exploration.
- Apple, Spotify, and other streaming services index searches by song/track title;
- Classical music lovers search not only for a specific piece, but a specific performer – and even a specific performance;
- The searches, in other words, require many more parameters.
If you prefer the Czech Philharmonic’s 1978 version of Mahler’s 5th to their 2022 release of the same symphony, finding it is a bit of a haphazard process. Certainly, you’d have to already know it exists, or you’d simply take the first option the algorithm gave you.
That’s where dedicated classical music streaming services come into the picture.
Talking about the acquisition back in 2021, Oliver Schusser, VP of Apple Music and Beats, said, “We love and have a deep respect for classical music, and Primephonic has become a fan favourite for classical enthusiasts. Together, we’re bringing great new classical features to Apple Music, and in the near future, we’ll deliver a dedicated classical experience that will truly be the best in the world.”
References to Apple Classical in code were previously found in a beta version of iOS 15.5, and an Android version of Apple Music. The evidence isn’t conclusive, of course, and may be laying the groundwork for another future version of iOS.
In the meantime, Apple users who love classical music can only wait to see whether the company will reach its self-imposed deadline of 2022 for the Apple Classical release.
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