Apple buys classical music service, Primephonic

In a bid to expand its classical music offering, Apple today announced that it has acquired Primephonic. The Amsterdam-based service, which launched in 2014, will bring a laser focus on a music genre that’s been sorely lacking in Apple Music’s generalized approach to streaming.

The service will effectively be discontinued as a standalone offering as it’s absorbed into the broader Apple Music platform. On September 7, Primephonic will shut down for good, while Apple readies the 2022 launch of a classical music app based on its own streaming service.

“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 in a release issued by Apple. “We get to bring classical music to the mainstream and connect a new generation of musicians with the next generation of audience.”

According to an interview with Primephonic’s CTO published last year, the service has launched in 150 countries. It also appears to have an older demographic than more generalized streaming services.

“Most of our users are age 55 plus and are highly educated and relatively well off,” Henrique Boregio told Mixpanel in 2020. “We joke in the office that we don’t know whether you start liking classical music and then you become wealthy, or if it’s the other way around.”

Apple notes of the upcoming offering, “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.”

While the new classical service is being built out, the company is offering an olive branch to existing Primephonic users in the form of six free months of Apple Music.