Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics, both part of the Universal Music Group, rolled out iClassics last week, a classical music discovery app that spotlights their catalog. If you love the genre, it's definitely an app to check out.
The core of iClassics is a drag-and-drop tagging feature that lets you select among criteria such as instrument, genre, mood, period, composer and more to provide recommendations. When a tag is selected, recommendations appear beneath the tag box. Choosing an album brings up previews of each track akin to iTunes. If you want to buy, the app redirects you to iTunes for the purchase. You can share albums with Facebook and Twitter and add them to your favorites.
iClassics also streams music from the Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics catalog, and I've actually left the app running on my iPad while I do other tasks because I enjoy the music. However, it is on a loop and eventually repeats itself after a couple of hours. There's an interactive timeline showing composers and giving brief biographies around them.
iClassics is an attractive app with nice extras, and it's a good way to try some new music without having to navigate the bowels of iTunes. If I'm in the mood to try some new classical pieces, I'll most likely turn to iClassics for suggestions first.
But, it's disappointing that the previews are limited to 30 seconds. Not all the albums have every track available for preview like the iTunes version does, so if you're interested in an album, I suggest hopping to iTunes and listening to the longer previews there.
I'd love to see an app like this as the front-end for NPR Music (which is currently available for the iPhone) or the Library of Congress' National Jukebox, which launched a few months ago with more than 10,000 recordings from between 1901 and 1925 from the Victor Talking Machine Company.
iClassics is a free download from the App Store.