Music streaming platforms have wildly changed the way many people listen to, download, and discover music. But the classical-music genre has largely been left out of the party.
Primephonic aims to change that. Frustrated by the limited amount of classical music available for streaming, as well as the limited ways to search for it, three classical fans set out to build their ideal music platform.
The newly launched streaming service purports to have “nearly all” classical music that has ever been recorded—over one million recordings, as of now, from more than 400 labels, including the big ones: Warner Classics, Sony Classical (and Sony Masterworks), and Universal Music Group (Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Verve, and Mercury)—with more on the way.
For $7.99 a month (or a two-week free trial period), subscribers could, for instance, listen to all 57 recordings of Beethoven’s 7th symphony, as well as a rare recording of the upcoming Latvia composer Pelecis, medieval compositions, and minimalist works.
In addition to streaming and downloading, fans can search for music by the date it was recorded, composer, artists, title, opus number, genre, popularity, and even what key it’s in. The site also includes stories and background information on the works, composers, and artists; recommendations of other works or artists fans might enjoy; and side-by-side comparisons of multiple recordings of the same pieces.
According to a recent statement, the site’s business model aims to pay classical artists differently than the typical pay-for-play model. “The service has designed a pay-per-second model to ensure a fair payout model that considers the longer duration of classical music works.”
Right now the service is only available in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, with plans for a global roll-out in 2019. Fans can steam on the web or mobile—iPhone/iPad users can partake immediately, though Android users have to wait until October.