Apple has finally released its app designed specifically for classical music, though I haven’t really had much of a chance to try it out yet, partly because it’s currently only available for iPhone and iPad (with Android yet to come), and I do more listening on my iMac.
I do want to briefly mention two articles heralding its arrival, however.
One of them, written by Michael Simon, appeared in Macworld’s website. It basically simply announces the availability of the app and briefly discusses its features. I’d have no quarrel with it except, with a straight face, Mr. Simon includes this in a list of features that are missing compared to the Apple Music app:
You can’t shuffle songs: The long-standing shuffle feature isn’t available in the Apple Music Classical app.
I’m speaking just for myself, of course, but I wouldn’t call that a “missing” feature. Why would any classical music listener want to shuffle the movements of, say, Mahler’s Sixth Symphony?
Anyway, a much better article can be found on the Van Magazine website: 1,000 Symphonies In Your Pocket by Hugh Morris.
Apple has turned classical music’s diversity of metadata into the new app’s raison d’être. And, with so many of what Apple calls “data points”—over 50 million bits of information drawn from their database of recordings—it suddenly makes complete sense. Classical music is the perfect subject for algorithms hungry for knowledge, and their job is made a whole lot easier when a piece of music has a large variety of discrete data (a title, a tempo marking, an Opus number, a date, or a conductor), instead of forcing machines to judge whether Jacob Collier is more jazz, hip-hop, choral, or simply “genre-defying.” The all-powerful search engine has great potential, not least for music programmers. Need some other music from 1876? To compare and contrast two Symphony No. 5s? Want to build a choral concert around a concept like “water,” “love,” or “light”? Apple Music has many, many bases covered.
So pardon me while I take a listen.