Apple Music Classical

I’m excited to see what this will be like. Since it will be a separate app, does that mean it will have a separate subscription? Then I would be less excited.


That makes two of us! I’ve spent countless hours on iTunes (Mac) organizing my large classical library. Trying to shoehorn all the information that I care about into not-perfectly matched iTunes fields has been a labour of love. I’m looking forward to a tool that works with me not against me. I often dream about how great it will be.


Not for me, but I’m glad it will exist because I know a few people who will love it.

Being a separate app on Mac would be a plus. I tried to do a very complex operation in Apple Music for Mac today which caused an error message in the sidebar(!) That complex operation was… adding songs to a new playlist. When I then realised that half the songs I had told it to add had not, in fact, been added, I quit it in disgust and re-did the task, much quicker, on my iPad mini. That’s just not right.

Finally, I was wondering when it would be released…

I’m looking forward to seeing whatever this ends up being, but they could just fix the Music app and I don’t think this would be so required. I like jazz, prog metal and prog rock, and electronic music too — should those genres get their own apps?

What problems does the classical music app idea solve that couldn’t be solved, to everybody’s benefit, in the main Music app? That Music app is a dumpster fire on every platform.

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From my very limited understanding, classical music needs a more advanced meta data system that is not needed for regular music. The app they bought, supposedly did it better.


Consider a piece of classical music. It has likely been recorded many times. Thus to find a particular version you need much more metadata than, to pick a band at random, a Dream Theater song.

Orchestra, conductor, soloists, venue, and date are just some of the things to consider when searching for a specific performance.


Exactly so. But to what I think is snelly’s point, wouldn’t it be nice to have that same database complexity available for all music? E.g. to be able to make a smart playlist of all 70s rock recordings at Budokan or to look at all remixes of a song. And then to auto-collapse the UI to save taps when that extra information isn’t available, like on a studio album where there will almost never be additional performances of it.

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Y’all are 100% correct, and what I mean is what @cornchip says. (I always feel like @cornchip and I are on the same page; must be a very smart person.)


First, they need to get Music to not suck at the basics before they get fancy like that. :stuck_out_tongue:

I am hoping they just took the classical music app that they bought, which was supposedly really good, and just rebranded it.


They probably just took the Primephonic app, slapped a fresh coat of paint on it, and called it a day. Its faster that way. Building a new, decent Music app would probably take more time. That said, I agree with snelly: having one great music app to rule them all would be awesome.


I think each of us has to have attempted to make a spreadsheet of an extensive collection of classical music recordings to understand the difficulties involved. There is no such concept as an ISBN for music, and for good reason.

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I agree that the ideal solution would be to just fix Music f/k/a iTunes. I would rather have one app to rule them all and don’t want to have different libraries. Currently in Music to organize my classical music (and all my music for that matter) I have an exceedingly complex OmniOutliner document that explains how I use all the metadata. Sticking with classical for the moment:

My classical genres are: Chamber; Orchestral; Solo; and Vocal.
I use the “groupings” tag to have sub-genres. For example, under Chamber I have: Duet, Trio, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet, Septet, and Strings vs Winds. In orchestral, it’s: symphony; concerto; incidental music; soundtrack/film score; sinfonia concertante, and suite.

All this tagging is for one purpose. (Maybe two, if you assume I am OCD.) The purpose is so that I can create smart playlists that play groups of classical music. I may be in a string quartet mood. Maybe I just want to listen to some concertos.

I put the year of composition in the date field, so I can group music by classical genre: Middle Ages, renaissance, baroque (early and late), romantic, classical, modern (first phase, second phase [high modern or postmodern]), etc. This works great for seeing works as a composition, but then how do I capture the actual year of the recording? Maybe I want to listen to Beethoven’s 9th, as recorded through different time periods. I put this in the notes, but it’s not ideal.

One of the other issues is that iTunes, of course, recognizes tracks and not multi-work compositions. In my “Favorites” playlist, I usually get a mix of modern music and classical. But the classical pieces that are in my favorites playlist are invariably single movements from a composition. For a classical listener, that’s weird.

Bottom line is that for those of us who love music–of any genre–having tools that let us nerd out to track all the little tidbits we want to track and play back music grouped the way that we want it grouped is big part of the joy of appreciating music.

If iTunes/Music could be designed to enable us to capture, take advantage of, and manage all this metadata effectively, I would be delighted.

In fact, if Music on iPadOS/iOS could enable us to script it using Shortcuts the way we can on Music/iTunes on Mac with things like Doug’s scripts [Doug's AppleScripts »], that would be most awesome.

Maybe music lovers who like to play with their libraries are a niche group. But it would be so nice to have a music app that is powerful enough to satisfy aficionados and simple enough for people who don’t want to fiddle.

Until that day comes, bring on Apple Classical. But please do it right, Apple.

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May I introduce you to iTunes 4 and the iPod classic? Ah, the things we have lost in the name of “progress.”

@karlnyhus one of my current clients is a media website that’s interested in using their tools for digital distribution, including distributing music to Apple Music, Spotify, etc. The hardest part, by far, is tracking purchases and paying people. You’re correct that the ISBN number does not exist in music. Instead, there’s about a dozen different kinds of tracking that apply to either the individual track, the album, the artists, or the individual members, composers, songwriters, or performers on any track, along with BTS people like engineers or producers. Not only do you need all their info, but you also need to declare their percentages, and report it all to the right agencies. It’s a nightmare. The whole distribution side of the project is frozen until we can get a team of lawyers to sort it all out and tell us what to do. Eddy Cue was a genius for figuring it all out back in 2003 or so.

@MevetS i just remembered we have spoken about Dream Theater before. Sir! I have too much dignity to listen to them. Opeth, Mastodon, Porcupine Tree, and King Crimson thought? :man_cook: :kiss:

Edit: thanks @MevetS, you got me thinking about Dream Theatre and now “Voices” is stuck in my head. (I will admit to occasionally enjoying Images and Words, and Awake.)


Now that is a band I did not expect to find mention of here! You have good taste @snelly!


Birds of a feather, as they say! Thank you :slight_smile:

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Clearly the metadata fields of mp3/aac files was developed with popular music in mind. Makes sense since this is by far the biggest market. Accommodating classical music is hard because it spans hundreds of years with different conventions depending on the time or place.

The biggest difference with classical music is that the composer is the most important field, in popular music you don’t often even know who composed the song or you just assume it was the band who is performing the song. For example, the song “New York, New York” is practically synonymous with Frank Sinatra, but he wasn’t a song writer. Who is the composer? Do most people even care? So I hope this new service will get this right.

Other things I’d like to see are having liner notes or more detailed descriptions of the music and the recording. Also librettos for operas, it is tough to listen to an opera in a language you don’t know. In the era of LPs and CDs, the libretto with english translation was always included.

It would also be nice if they could have a hierarchical structure Album->Piece->Movement. As others have noted above, most classical music is structured as a multiple movement piece. I remember when CDs first came out, there was an attempt to accommodate this. They had a track and then indexes within each track for the movements, but that was quickly abandoned.


I’ve written classical music cataloging applications. The correct normalization for classical music is to have a notion of a composition, a notion of a performance, and a notion of performers. Classical music is not “songs”. It is PERFORMANCES of COMPOSITIONS by PERFORMERS. All of the existing music metadata is tied to the cd-rom notion of tracks where tracks are equated to movements, songs and other very atomic notions. When we break away from the cd-rom (which is really a collection of performances of compositions, each performance potentially by a different performer), things will get easier. But the notion of tracks that cannot be easily grouped into a composition is very limiting. I need to be able to search for all performances of a composition. I may well have 6 performances of the same symphony. Or 11 performances of the same Schubert Song. I may be concerned about the year that a performance took place. I may (and in fact do) have multiple performances in different years of the same composition by the same performer. Dietrich Fischer-Diskau records Schubert’s multi-movement Winterreise cycle about 7 different times. The year is important. Get ready for a lot of data entry because the metadata on a standard cd rom cannot be reliably mapped to a proper classical music data model.


Coming to the AppStore soon: Apple Progrock, featuring 100% fidelity of all of Steven Wilson’s bespoke reissues, remastering, all the sleeve art, and 5.1 surround mixes!


Ugh. Do not want.

I just want the Music app to consistently work when I search and not forget what I’m listening to when I pause.

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