News of Apple’s Classical App looked opportunistic this week. I’ve been raging with various former managers, producers friends (and BBC Singers) to make me feel the priority was them and them alone. I touched on this personal ‘challenge’ in my Britten Sinfonia post.
A few hours later however, and I ended up thinking about things slightly differently. If the BBC really is giving us advance warning of its further devaluing of classical music then maybe Apple’s bid with their new shiny app is actually deft. Whilst Rome crumbles maybe Apple is showing us a New Town it’s currently building that it thinks we’d quite like to move.
There’s a lot on offer (overlook the artwork for now). First a user-centric experience focussed on discovery and rewarding with further contextualisation. There’s the promise of clear labelling, useful metadata (how each track is described) and valuable ongoing (linked) listening experiences that drives discovery. Put simply: it’ll be easy to find the stuff you love and you’ll be guaranteed to discover new stuff too. Sort of like BBC Radio 3, I suppose.
At the moment Apple is inviting people to ‘pre-order’ the app, whatever that really means. Why not just release the app then tell everyone its there and then we can download it and experience it? Is the invitation to pre-order potentially a hostage to fortune, a way of hyping something and then it disappointing.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think it will. I like the idea that Apple might have met head-on a lot of the challenges that streaming services face with classical content. I also have a suspicion that they’ll have nailed recommended listening and contextualization. I’d like to see more detail on how Apple pays its classical content.
5 million tracks including exclusive albums are included in the initial offer, plus the ability to search by composer, work, conductor, or even catalogue number, and find specific recordings instantly. Tracks will be available in ‘highest audio quality’ (up to 192 kHz/24 bit Hi-Res Lossless) plus some immersive spatial audio delights I understand.
Apple’s classical music app launches on 28th March.