Apple Music gets classical curation from Royal College of Music

Apple Music black canvasApple Music has partnered with the UK’s Royal College of Music for classical music curation. The school will create playlists on a regular basis, with help from its staff and professors. The first playlist highlights works by British composers who have connections to the conservatory.

“At the RCM we embrace technology in enhancing our offer to students and visitors, using cutting-edge digital platforms across teaching and performance,” said Stephen Johns, the school’s artistic director. “As an Apple Music curator, we will be able to share wonderful recordings with a wide and diverse audience, showcasing some of our talented alumni and highlighting the RCM’s rich musical heritage.”

Classical music often struggles to make an impact with the typical streaming audience. Part of the reason could be that discovery is hampered by the difference song-based metadata (artist/song/album) and Classical attributes which include composer, multiple performers (orchestra, conductor, soloist, etc.), complicated track titles (e.g. Symphony No. 3 op. 55, “The Eroica”). Classical fans are offended by the presentation of symphonies and operas as if they were pop tunes, and casual listeners are potentially confused by inexplicable search results.

Several of the heavy hitters in the online audio space, such as Google and now Apple, have explored partnerships to provide music from the genre. This is helpful, as the curated results are presented with more care, in walled-off sections of the apps.

Classical labels have tried bringing out discrete services for Classical lovers. However, few standalone properties specializing in classical have taken off. Last week Naxos shuttered its Classics Online effort in streaming high-resolution audio from the genre.

Anna Washenko