Apple is targeting fans of Beethoven and Mozart, taking on Classic FM and BBC Radio 3 with a new music streaming app for classical music lovers.

The iPhone maker has snapped up Primephonic, a classical music streaming app, which will join its Apple Music business.

The US technology company said it planned to launch a “dedicated classical music app next year combining Primephonic’s classical user interface that fans have grown to love, with more added features”.

However, some Primephonic users were left disappointed that Apple will close the app from September 7, with a replacement not expected until 2022.

Primephonic, founded three years ago in the Netherlands, has focused on high-quality streaming and making it easier to search for classical music than on other streaming apps.

While streaming apps such as Spotify and Apple Music have surged in popularity, classical music fans have complained of a lack of focus on traditional composers.

Most music streaming feature no options to search for songs by conductor or orchestra, leaving music aficionados looking to specialist apps for alternatives.

Despite the lack of support, classical music has only grown in popularity in the digital age and more young people are listening now than they were a decade ago.

Research from Deezer, a rival to Spotify and Apple Music, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra found classical music streaming by the under 25s rose by more than a tenth last year.

Global-owned Classic FM, meanwhile, increased its listener base by almost 200,000 at the start of the pandemic. 

Idagio, another dedicated classical music streaming app, has been downloaded 1.8m times.

Not all fans of Primephonic welcomed the deal given the looming closure of the app next week, with no replacement expected for months.

Norman Lebrecht, a classical music commentator, wrote on the blog Slipped Disc: “Apple Music promises to launch a dedicated classical music app next year based on Primephonic’s classical user interface and ‘with more added features’.

“Let’s see. Apple has never previously bothered with classical music, and many of its prior purchases have just vanished into the corporation’s bottomless maw.”

Apple said subscribers to Primephonic would be offered six months free on Apple Music.