Apple has bought Primephonic, a classical music streaming service.
If you’re a classical music lover, there’s been some industry-shaking news this week that you may want to sit down for. Apple has bought Primephonic, the classical music streaming service.
This is Apple’s second big-name music acquisition. In 2014, the company bought music company Beats, which eventually birthed the Apple Music streaming service a year later, and which Apple still sells Beats hardware.
But Primephonic is a niche streaming service that is much less high profile than Beats. So what does this mean for Primephonic, Apple, and streaming music in general? Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is Primephonic?
Primephonic was a classical music streaming service. That is, it was solely dedicated to classical music. The service has more than 3.5 million classical music tracks and offered Android and iOS apps from which to stream the service from.
It’s unknown how many subscribers Primephonic had, but the service offered the features other music streamers do: curated playlists, a deep catalog of tunes, and a radio feature.
Why Did Apple Buy Primephonic?
Apple likely bought Primephonic to bolster its overall Apple Music offerings and also beef up its classical music catalog. In a press release, Apple said:
“With the addition of Primephonic, Apple Music subscribers will get a significantly improved classical music experience beginning with Primephonic playlists and exclusive audio content. In the coming months, Apple Music Classical fans will get a dedicated experience with the best features of Primephonic, including better browsing and search capabilities by composer and by repertoire, detailed displays of classical music metadata, plus new features and benefits.”
Thomas Steffens, Primephonic’s co-founder and CEO, added, “Bringing the best of Primephonic to Apple Music subscribers is a tremendous development for the classical music industry. 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. We get to bring classical music to the mainstream and connect a new generation of musicians with the next generation of audience.”
Apple did not reveal how much it paid for Primephonic.
What Happens To Primephonic Now?
Primephonic has officially stopped accepting new subscribers and the service itself will shut down on September 7, 2021. Once the service shuts down, existing subscribers will no longer be able to access it.
However, all current Primephonic will receive six months of Apple Music for free, which already has a rich classical catalog. But Apple is not just absorbing Primephonic’s catalog into Apple’s Music’s. Apple has said it will also release a dedicated classical music app in the future that has features similar to Primephonic. What this classical music app will be called remains to be seen, though it’s likely that Apple will ditch the “Primephonic” name altogether and just call it something like “Apple Music Classical.”
In a note on the old Primephonic web page, the company stated “Apple Music plans to launch a dedicated classical music app next year combining Primephonic’s classical user interface that fans have grown to love with more added features.”
As for why Primephonic sold itself to Apple, the company noted it did so to help expand the reach of classical music:
“As a classical-only startup, we can not reach the majority of global classical listeners, especially those that listen to many other music genres as well. We therefore concluded that in order to achieve our mission, we need to partner with a leading streaming service that encompasses all music genres and also shares our love for classical music. Today, we are therefore thrilled to share a great step forward in our mission – Primephonic is joining Apple Music!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Primephonic?
Primephonic was a music streaming service dedicated to classical music. Apple bought Primephonic in 2021 to roll into the Apple Music service.
Q: Can you still join Primephonic?
No. Primephonic stopped accepting new users in August 2021 and the service shut down on September 7, 2021.
Q: Does Apple Music have classical music?
Yes. Apple Music offers a large catalog of classical music. And it will launch a dedicated classical music app in the future due to its acquisition of Primephonic.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.