Apple buys Primephonic, prepares to launch its own classical music app

Apple buys Primephonic, prepares to launch its own classical music app
(Image credit: Primephonic)

Apple has acquired Primephonic, the classical music streaming service, in a bid to expand its growing library of 75 million songs.

Primephonic will shut down for good next Tuesday, 7th September, the company says. Apple plans to launch a standalone classical music app, using Primephonic's user interface, in 2022.

In the meantime, Apple says it will add Primephonic’s playlists and “exclusive audio content” to Apple Music, shortly followed by some of Primephonic's most popular features, including the option to 'smart search' by composer and repertoire.

Netherlands-based Primephonic is considered the world's largest specialist library of classical music. The service added hi-res streaming to its offering in 2017 and boasts over 3.5 million classical tracks from 170,000 artists across almost 230,000 albums and 2400 labels.

“Artists love the Primephonic service and what we’ve done in classical, and now we have the ability to join with Apple to deliver the absolute best experience to millions of listeners,” Primephonic co-founder and CEO Thomas Steffens said. “We get to bring classical music to the mainstream.”

As of today, Primephonic is no longer accepting new members. To cushion the blow, existing subscribers will get a pro-rata refund and six months of Apple Music for free. This could suggest that Apple hopes to launch its classical app within six months.

Apple Music already offers hundreds of thousands of classical albums in lossless and high-resolution audio, as well as hundreds of classical albums in Spatial Audio, with new albums added regularly.


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Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.

  • bristollinnet
    This really is a significant move and demonstrates that Apple are finally recognising that the standard iTunes/Apple Music interfaces have been dreadful for a small but influential group of its customers.

    Goodbye Qobuz, it was nice knowing you.
  • briccolone
    I was very happy with Primephonic and I'm not very happy with this turn of events-it'll be dumbed down and we'll have endless apple marketing