Apple Music Classical to Debut This Month

If this adds anything… My concerns are similar to most of those presented here. Not sure I would subscribe tho, especially if it meant merging my local collection/metadata with Apple Music’s and reviewing/reconciling all 500Gb. I have stuck with iTunes and Music all these years due to concerns about the alternative(s). And, as someone on fixed income, I’m loathe to become dependent upon any subscription service (which could rip the rug out from under me due to lack of finances). Note, if I listen outside of my collection, I prefer curated (not algorithm-generated) playlists. Over a decade ago I found Minneapolis-based classical station MPR’s streaming improved to such an extent that that station’s all I need. (Station membership is voluntary, as well, so I’m happy to contribute.)

I’m sorry for being dense, but I’m not sure what this has to offer versus searching for classical music within the music app and listening to it there? since hearing this announcement, I have searched for classical and found some excellent suggestions that I did not know existed.

What is the advantage of this new service versus using what already exists?



I’m wondering if all of the ripped CDs, playlists, etc that are currently in Music will get imported into the new Classical Music app on the iPhone…and why the app is only available for iPhone and not iPadOS and macOS.

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My guess is that searching for classical often involves very different criteria than contemporary music. You’ve got conductors, composers, orchestras, soloists, vocalists, locations, live or prerecorded, dates, languages, etc.

I’m also guessing that searching will be a lot faster, and speed is a big issue, by keeping classical separate. If you’re searching for Beethoven classical you probably don’t want to end up with Chuck Berry’s, The Beatles,’ etc. “Roll Over Beethoven” versions mixes into the list.

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The standard Apple Music look-up of classical music isn’t wonderful. Lots of mistakes, missing tags, unknown recordings, artwork, etc Clearly their strength wasn’t in classical music which is why they bought that company and now created Apple Classical.


Your friendly ranter here. I loved the original iTunes and I also spent many hours importing my CDs and LPs into its database. But with every iteration of iTunes, it got worse. It not only was getting bigger and bloated, but all the little changes were also very annoying (lack of color in the sidebar icons, etc.). It was not fun for me to use any longer. I can’t tell you when I last opened it to use it. Divorcing the music from anything else did not improve it for me one bit (not that I think video should have been added to it to begin with). A real shame because it really felt like a personal jukebox to me. Now, not so much.

You might want to have a look at Swinsian. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but it looks like it has the promise of the old iTunes – an app built to help you listen to and enjoy your music.

Do tools like Swinsian just work on a Mac for listening/organizing or do they also allow syncing up the organizing you do in there to an iPhone and its Music app?

Looks like the answer is ‘no’:

(The next answer gives an idea as to why; apparently the music library database on iOS is encrypted :person_facepalming:)

How could that work? At best, iTunes Match-like capability could try to identify tracks, but unless all the necessary metadata is already associated with the file, it’s hard to see how Apple could attach new metadata to existing files in an accurate fashion.

What is matched is a hash of the audio data, so it’s quite possible for them to upgrade the metadata. But as you say they’ve never done that. Even tracks on albums that launch with spelling errors aren’t corrected until you delete and add or download the track again.

Also, we don’t know if Classical is coming to desktop at all, do we?

I’m yet to “pre-order” this as I see a payment request when trying to do so and it always feels me out that there put that on free apps.

Except for the fact that Apple never updates metadata for local files.

If you have a CD inserted, Apple will use Gracenote to try and identify the disc, applying whatever metadata is in the Gracenote database, but that’s about it.

Once you’ve ripped the track, the metadata can only be changed by the user (you). The only exception I know is for album artwork, which doesn’t really affect the issues we’re describing here.

I 100% expect Apple Music Classical to only apply this big database to content you choose to stream. Or maybe purchase for download. I don’t think it’s going to do anything for content from other sources.

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Well, I would hope that at the least, one could re-rip a CD from one’s collection and this would use the improved metadata in the lookup with Apple Classical Music’s database. I also assume that if one could do this via a rip, there would be scripts that could be written to interrogate that Database and refill tags in one’s library … If, however, one would only get access to the database metadata via a subscription to Apple Classical then all bets are off … you do get access via Apple Music currently so here’s hoping that model extends to Classical …

It’s anybody’s guess, but I wouldn’t count on it.

The database used for CD ripping is run by Gracenote, not Apple. So I wouldn’t expect any changes there, unless Gracenote improves their handling of classical albums.

I think that the last time I looked at Gracenote was more than 2 decades ago, and back then it suffered fatally from its crowdsourcing method of data collection. Of course, that was the era when many of us acquired our “Beatles” collections from Napster, so things were pretty primitive. But I remember ripping very expensive Sony CDs of MTT’s recordings of Mahler Symphonies with the SF Symphony orchestra that somehow acquired obviously VERY different metadata organizational schemes even within the same work, thanks to Gracenote!

And, I just realized that I glossed over the very first clause of what I just quoted! I’ll wager that many of us no longer have ACCESS to a slot we can push a CD into, and since Apple Music Classical will start out iOS-only, I guess we won’t need to worry about contaminating our individual Apple Music Classical databases with that self-polluting database

I remain VERY excited about March 28, even though, just 2 days shy of my 76th birthday, I now find myself content to nap in the afternoon listening to the same twin harps adding to the magic of the Adagietto in Mahler’s 5th via the tiny drivers in my BT hearing aids even though, were I a member of the “music sound quality police” 30 years ago, I would have arrested anyone attempting to “perform” that CD via anything smaller than room-filing Klipsch behemoths.

Gracenote works well for the most part but there are other sources such as MusicBrainz for those who don’t like Gracenote. Granted, classical music has some different issues but in the end, it should be about the music and not seemingly endless arguments about metadata.

I don’t think asking my iPhone to perform ONE symphony by ONE conductor working with ONE orchestra is an example of “endless arguments about metadata.”


My comment on metadata is related to the many comments here as well as in other threads not your particular issue. One can argue all day and miss the point of listening to the music.

I hesitated to reply, because I don’t want to seem to be “arguing all day and missing the point,” but the point OF this thread IS largely about how Apple’s already quite large reservoir of Classical Music is so polluted by flawed metadata that it makes just LISTENING to it needlessly difficult, and exactly why so many of us can’t wait for March 28 to see whether they’ve hit one out of the park or put one into the stands in foul territory (apologies for the fractured metaphors).


… with ONE soloist.