(Pocket-lint) - Primephonic is a music streaming service like rivals Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer and Tidal but with a difference.
It only offers classical music. In return, you get a far richer experience if you are into classical - or want to get involved. Let's check out the details.
What does Primephonic offer?
Primephonic is a complete classical music streaming app. Primephonic's best feature is its search because it enables you to search classical music by period, genre, style or personnel, such as who conducted the performance.
Essentially, you can sift through the vast quantities of classical music by looking at other factors (up to eight variables) rather than just the artist, song or album search you get with other streaming apps.
Founded in 2017, the service now boasts over three and a half million tracks from 170,000 artists across 230,000 albums and 2,400 labels.
A manual curation team is working to make sure everything is categorised correctly. Primephonic says it has the largest classical database in the world, at 230,000 albums.
"Classical music is complicated…it has a lot of data associated with it" says head of curation Guy Jones. A single piece can have hundreds of different recordings and demonstrated this to Pocket-lint by showing a Beethoven piano concerto with 571 different recordings available. The app recommends the pick of the versions - which is curated manually for the top 500 works.
The playlists are also curated with the classical listener in mind - rather than just a bunch of "relaxing classical" tracks that you might find in a playlist on another platform, Primephonic has more granular beginner playlists like Choral Essentials or Renaissance Essentials to get you going. And, of course, there are numerous new releases.
Jones says that classical music is so diverse "but it's interesting that classical is this thing that people feel they have to understand before they can enjoy it. There’s a long-standing idea that it’s elitist." But it doesn't need to be and there are plenty of entry points.
"There's an idea of classical music as being peaceful and relaxing" says Jones. "A lot of it can be thrilling, despairing, hyperactive or anything else."
What subscriptions and apps does it have?
A full subscription costs £9.99 (Premium) or £14.99 (Platinum) a month. There's a 14-day free trial. The difference between the two tiers is essentially the streaming quality - either 320kbps MP3 or 24-bit lossless FLAC. You can save by paying either £99.99 or £149.99 upfront for a year.
Primephonic CEO Thomas Steffans told us that the split between the two subscriptions is roughly 45/55 with most opting for the higher audio quality.
Obviously, there are iOS and Android apps, plus a web-based app on Macs and PCs. Offline listening is supported on the mobile apps as you'd expect. It's also fully integrated with Sonos.
You can't use it with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices as yet, but you can naturally connect to those devices and others with Bluetooth, Chromecast and AirPlay. Subscription tiers
Primephonic has also newly-introduced booklets, which are PDFs of CD inlays that we don't get the experience from with streaming. Because of the detailed information they contain, including them adds something to the experience.
Primephonic has collaborated with major labels such as Sony, Universal and Harmonia
Mundi, as well as stacks of smaller labels, over the booklets and is providing tens of thousands of them for listeners already. Primephonic says it is planning on bringing them to as many albums as possible.
"CD booklets are very important to classical music enthusiasts," says Steffens. "Our subscribers are passionate about the genre and want to absorb as much information detailing composers, instrumentalists, and conductors, as possible."