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When is Apple Music Classical launching?

It has been 15 months since Apple bought the three-year-old classical music streaming service Primephonic. In the meantime, there’s one month left for Apple Music to fulfill its plan of launching a stand-alone Apple Classical app that replaces the discontinued Primephonic app. In traditional VH1 style, we puzzled what occurred to the Primephonic people and the place they’re now. That is what we have realized.

Apple Music x Primephonic

Apple Music already has an enormous classical catalog, so why did Apple purchase Primephonic and promise a separate app? This piece by my colleague Ben Lovejoy written two years earlier than Apple purchased Primephonic explains the problem Apple desires to resolve for classical music.

When Apple introduced the Primephonic buy, it highlighted the service’s “excellent listening expertise with search and browse performance optimized for classical, premium-quality audio, handpicked professional suggestions, and in depth contextual particulars on repertoire and recordings.”

That every one sounds very Apple Music-y already, so why not convey the Primephonic expertise to the app Apple Music subscribers already use?

The straightforward reply is that classical music metadata is vastly totally different from that of contemporary pop music. Along with the excellent catalogue, Primephonic was constructed across the concept of ​​making classical music searchable and discoverable within the age of streaming music.

Primephonic additionally had a distinct methodology for paying artists for performs. Streaming music companies pay artists based mostly on observe performs, and that mannequin would not make sense for classical music.

Primephonic CEO Thomas Steffens, who now works on Apple Music enterprise growth, wrote plainly in regards to the problem in 2018:

Streaming companies usually pay out 60% of (internet) revenues as royalties to the file labels, who in flip pay out a share of those royalties to their artists, based mostly on the variety of occasions a observe has been streamed.

Since most pop songs final 3 or 4 minutes, this mechanism works fairly effectively, however the common classical observe lasts a lot, for much longer. Beethoven’s ninth symphony lasts for over an hour, with every motion clocking in between 10 and 25 minutes (relying on the recording). The result’s that an hour of pop music pays out considerably greater than an hour of classical music.

The oldsters behind Primephonic acknowledged the difficulty and carried out a play-for-second payout construction as a substitute of pay-for-play.

We do not know if Apple is honoring or will honor this payout construction. That is most likely one thing Steffens is targeted on in his new position from him. We do know what has been publicly shared in regards to the stand-alone classical music app, nevertheless.


“Apple Music plans to launch a devoted classical music app subsequent 12 months combining Primephonic’s classical consumer interface that followers have grown to like with extra added options,” Apple stated final 12 months. Primephonic subscribers additionally acquired sufficient free Apple Music entry to get by final February.

The oldsters at Primephonic had been a bit extra forthcoming, or not less than optimistic, about when an Apple Classical app can be prepared. “We’re engaged on an incredible new classical music expertise from Apple for early subsequent 12 months,” Primephonic stated as a part of the acquisition announcement.

Did the crew at Primephonic anticipate Apple Classical to be prepared by the point its subscribers ran out of free Apple Music entry? Did Apple additionally anticipate the brand new app to be prepared in “early” 2022? Is it applicable to make use of a Taylor Swift track title for this part of the article?

We do not know, however it will possibly’t be a coincidence that Apple Music on Android leaked the “Open in Apple Classical” string in February. Bear in mind, that is when free Apple Music entry for Primephonic subscribers was coming to an finish. Extra not too long ago, Apple Classical references have continued to floor in iOS code.

What in regards to the future? Externally, we’ve not dominated out an Apple Classical drop round iOS 16.2 with a hypothetical December launch. However, Rome wasn’t inbuilt a day and Apple Classical wasn’t inbuilt a 12 months. The deliberate 2022 app launch was simply the plan, and plans do change. The deadline is unfair. What issues is what former paying Primephonic clients consider the Apple Classical expertise.


Code references apart, the most effective signal of Apple’s dedication to the classical music expertise is simply what number of Primephonic staff workers the Apple Music crew.

Workers members of the Dutch-American classical music start-up Primephonic

As we talked about above, former Primephonic CEO Thomas Steffens is now tasked with enterprise growth for Apple Music. 9to5Mac has additionally collected information on the place the remainder of the Primephonic household landed after the acquisition. Beneath are simply among the different Primephonic workers members who now name Apple residence:

  • Henrique Boregio, chief know-how officer → Apple
  • Veronica Neo, chief operations officer → Knowledge and operations administration at Apple Music
  • Maarten Hoekstra, chief industrial officer → Product and enterprise growth at Apple
  • John Dalton, head of America → Partnerships, Apple Music
  • Erwin Verdonk, devops engineer → website reliability engineer/software program engineer at Apple
  • Georgel Aron, Android engineer → senior software program engineer at Apple
  • Matias Eiletz, information scientist → information science at Apple
  • Margarita Castañeda, artist relations and social media supervisor → artist relations at Apple
  • Marie-Louise Geier, visible designer → designer at Apple
  • Marina Boiko, senior music editor → Apple Music editor
  • Man Jones, head of curation → classical music editor at Apple
  • Jean-Bernard Derquer, head of enterprise growth and authorized → enterprise growth at Apple Music
  • Mariana Pimenta, music catalog editor → content material operations at Apple Music
  • Carlos Andrés Áñez Gómez, music specialist → content material operations at Apple Music
  • Natalia Fernández, music catalog specialist → content material operations at Apple Music
  • Juan David Botero, junior music information scientist → information science specialist at Apple
  • Lucile Fontaine, junior music information analyst → music information analyst at Apple
  • Carolina Meneses João, catalog supervisor → classical music senior content material operations at Apple
  • Minna Ylikauma, head of catalog and classical database → content material operations supervisor, Apple Music
  • Paul-Luuk (Pluk) Profijt, information engineer → information engineer at Apple
  • Melisa Memic, high quality assurance software program engineer → QA software program engineer at Apple
  • Arnaud Charpentier, again finish engineer → again finish engineer at Apple
  • Cristyan Sepulveda, again finish developer → software program engineer at Apple
  • Pablo Alvarez-Zaldívar, full stack developer → software program engineer at Apple
  • Julian Bonomini, software program engineer → server software program engineer at Apple

Different former Primephonic staff have ended up on the classical music label Pentatone, music distributor FUGA, Common Music Group, or different firms. The Pentatone household additionally included Francesca Mariani who ran the shopper transition program at Apple till February. (There’s that month once more…)

Most significantly, the Primephonic household included Piña, the top of cuddles. No phrase on Piña’s standing at Apple (if anybody is aware of, write me), however we simply know Pina is an efficient canine.

Have a good friend of a good friend who labored at Primephonic? Know extra in regards to the progress of Apple Classical from Apple Music? Be in contact, and we’ll share extra as we be taught extra.

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