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Apple just bought a classical music streaming service

August 30, 2021, 8:22 PM UTC

Apple has acquired classical music streaming service Primephonic and plans to debut a new classical music app next year.

The iPhone maker, which announced the acquisition on Monday, didn’t disclose the deal’s financial terms.

The acquisition underscores Apple’s efforts to create a more compelling music streaming service as it fends off competitors like Spotify and Amazon Music. It also shows that Apple hopes to better cater to a niche audience whose music tastes are generally underserved by popular music streaming services.

Apple plans to shut down Primephonic’s app on Sept. 7 and add its playlists and other unspecified “exclusive audio content” to Apple Music. Primephonic’s subscribers will get six months of free access to Apple Music while the new app is being developed.

As the New York Times noted in 2019, Primephonic and rival Idagio have built comprehensive classical music databases of information about composers, soloists, orchestras, and conductors. Acquiring one of those services gives Apple that valuable data, which it can use to improve the search and music recommendation features of its existing Apple Music app. 

In a statement, Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music, said, “We love and have a deep respect for classical music, and Primephonic has become a fan favorite for classical enthusiasts. Together, we’re bringing great new classical features to Apple Music, and in the near future we’ll deliver a dedicated classical experience that will truly be the best in the world.”

Meanwhile, Primephonic said that as a startup, it would have been unable to “reach the majority of global classical listeners,” and that it needed to partner with a larger music streaming company.

“We felt compelled to develop a streaming service that truly gets classical right—so that’s what we did over the last three years,” the company said. “But to fully achieve the next phase of our mission, we need to bring our classical streaming expertise to millions of listeners worldwide.”

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