The long-rumored Apple Music Classical app has finally received an official launch date. The new app promises to offer the largest classical music catalog in the world.
Apple Music Classical launches on March 28 and will surprisingly be available to Apple Music subscribers on both iOS and Android, with the latter apparently “coming soon”. Of course, iPhone owners can listen to it first, as long as you’re running iOS 15.4 or later.
Apple’s new app, which you can now pre-order in the App Store (opens in new tab), is separate from the existing Apple Music app, but still requires an Apple Music subscription. Once you’ve pre-ordered, the Apple Music Classic apparently downloads automatically at launch.
For fans of symphonies and orchestral music, it promises to be a real treat with over five million songs and, according to Apple, “thousands of exclusive albums.” In fact, if you have a solid set of speakers or a pair of the best headphones, Apple promises thousands of spatial audio recordings and 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res Lossless sound quality.
Apple has also worked pretty hard on the user interface, offering the ability to search for music by composer, work, conductor, or, for classical music super nerds, even by catalog number. That’s probably all helped by Apple’s acquisition of Primephonic, a classical music streaming service it bought in 2021.
Overall, Apple Music Classical is going to be a pretty big bonus for Apple Music subscribers, and somewhat lessens the hype Spotify has built around the new homepage redesign.
Analysis: why a separate app Apple Music Classical?
Apple already has the Apple Music app, which contains a decent selection of classical music – so why has it released a separate app for classical music fans?
The clue is in the meticulous organization of Apple’s new classic app. Classical music is very different from other forms of music because each work has often been recorded by a number of different orchestras – and even more confusingly, many composers’ works have been cataloged using different systems, including the opus numbering system.
That system is far from perfect, as many publishers in the Classical era would file a group of works under one number—or in the case of French composer Massenet, use “Opus 12B” instead of “Opus 13” out of superstition. Many 20th century composers have also simply ignored the system altogether, while other composers (such as Mozart) use a completely different cataloging system.
Apple Music Classical’s powerful search features — which let you search by composer, work, conductor, or catalog number — should make it much easier to find the piece you’re looking for, and help explain why Apple separated it from the main music app.
While it’s possible to listen to classical music through the best music streaming services (including Apple Music, with spatial audio no less), the new Apple Music Classical app promises to take the experience to the next level. We’ll definitely give it a spin on March 28, when we feel Rachmaninoff.