Dedicated streaming service for classical music launches with over 1 million tracks

The Berliner Philharmoniker along with their conductor, Sir Simon Rattle, perform Mahler: Symphony No. 7 in E minor to a packed house at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Saturday, November 19, 2016. (Mariah Tauger / For The Times)

A new streaming service devoted exclusively to classical music has launched in the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Called Primephonic, the platform claims to have nearly all classical music ever recorded, with over 1 million tracks available at the push of a button.

Catalogues on offer include those from Warner Classics, Sony Classical, Universal Music Classics, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon and EMI, in addition to more than 400 other labels worldwide. Users can search by composer, title, artist, musical period and genre; and background information, including colorful anecdotes about the artists and recordings, is also available.

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Another interesting feature uniquely tailored to the classical music listening experience is the option to compare different recordings of the same work side-by-side. In a genre of music that dates back hundreds of years and has often been recorded many different times by all sorts of artists, this can give listeners crucial perspective on the evolution of the art form.

In addition, the team of classical music fans behind the service has created a variety of specially curated playlists that allow listeners to take deep-dives into obscure corners of the classical canon, including medieval compositions and minimalism.

In a news release, Primephonic CEO, Thomas Steffens, said the company’s goal was to usher in a new era for classical music in the digital age.

“As a classical music lover myself, I have often experienced the frustrations of listening to classical music on today’s existing streaming services,” Steffens said. “Streaming has revolutionized the way the world listens to music, but it has failed to revolutionize classical music.”

Another chief concern for Steffens was a sustainable business model that provides fair revenue for classical artists. To this end the company has developed a pay-per-second model that takes into consideration the long-form nature of classical compositions and compensates accordingly.

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