Primephonic vs Idagio: What is the value of streaming services for classical music?

Primephonic vs Idagio: What is the value of streaming services for classical music?

Well, by way of starting, let me ask you this question- When you hear the word "classical music", what exactly comes to mind? Mozart, Fur Elise by Beethoven, and four seasons by Vivaldi yea? 

Where is Classical Music Now?

It's been a long time coming with classical music and it seems as though presently, times are not favoring the genre. Well, submissions of pundits are that classical music is experiencing a fast decline in acceptance and love from people. And this results majorly from the change in trends at this time. The times now are different from what they were back in the days. The world is presently living a digital kind of revolution, but classical music so far has missed it.

The choice of music today is quite different from what it was. With the much-accelerated pace of life, people around here only want music that reflects this, and this is what has made Pop and Rock, a better and more preferred music option. Now, people are finding it difficult to earn a decent living from playing classical music, at least compared to the way they could, about two to three decades ago. Now, the bulk of classical music lovers are among the older citizens. Most teens and youths are not big fans of the genre. And some of the few people that still even flow with the genre do that online. This is because regulations in concert halls and the unrelatable lyrics of the music genre make online streaming a better option for its lovers in this generation.

You know, Classical music has always been that genre of music that enjoys the patronage of a discerning audience of lovers in concert halls. But now, the genre is losing grounds to other music types that are designed to be enjoyed with less complication, and stringent rules. Especially on the grounds of streaming music. Matter of factly, according to Alpha Data; a tracking service, 2.5 percent of album sales in the United States are classical music, but sadly, it only accounts for about one or less than one percent of total streams.




$9.99 per month. Students can get 50 percent off, and Idagio also has a free ad-supported tier.

For $30 per month, you get access to Idagio’s exclusive online concerts, which sometimes feature leading performers.


Who it’s best for:

Classical music

Classical music

Audio Quality

FLAC (CD Quality)

FLAC (CD Quality)

Bitstream from Provider

1,141 kbps

1,141 kbps

Trial period:




Idagio is designed to suit the idiosyncrasies of the genre. It can be hard to find your favorite recording of a beloved Rachmaninov concerto on more mainstream services, even though they might work perfectly well for tracking down that fifth official remix of “Old Town Road.” On Idagio, the search tools handle the naming conventions of classical tracks with ease.

Pros: Primephonic is simple and intuitive. New albums are added frequently, and there’s a variety of playlists, some curated by well-known artists. Primephonic puts a particular focus on new releases and more obscure artists and labels, which is a nice bonus for listeners who are always hunting for something new. The optional high-quality streaming package will be attractive to many users as well.


Idagio doesn’t have music that falls outside the realm of classical music, so you’re out of luck if you like a little Springsteen with your Stravinsky. ​

Primephonic won’t work as your only source for music if you want anything other than classical. The service has apps for mobile devices, but there’s no desktop app, so you’ll need to open a web browser to listen on a computer. And audiophiles may be put off by the extra money required to access Primephonic’s lossless audio streaming when its chief competitor, Idagio, doesn’t charge for it. The sound quality of the basic package should be more than enough for most users, however. ​

Service Options For Streaming Classical Music

Most of the streaming companies that operated before the advent of Idagio and Primephonic streamed only music that was enjoying popular demand at the time. And at that time, there was already a decline in appreciation for classical music. So, the streaming of classical music was not as smooth and efficient as those of other genres. This eventually led to the rise of streaming companies like Primephonic and Idagio, who were strictly into classical music streaming service. Their mission in the industry is to turn the tide for classical music just the way Spotify did for pop music.

Other streaming services like Apple, Spotify, Naxos Music Library, Tidal, Qobuz, and Amazon also stream classical music, although only partly. They are not strictly classical music streaming services. They do pop, rock and other genres. Soundcloud, Amazon, and Youtube also got in the line of streaming classical music. 

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Well, due to the way classical music is designed to play, it is fundamentally different from other music types and therefore has different requirements. For other music tracks, identification for streaming isn't usually a big deal, with three pieces of information: the name of the song, the performing artist and the album on which it appears. But it is different from classical music. Track titles are always long, containing the catalog number, its movement number, the speed and sometimes, even its fan-given nickname. And most streaming services do not have features to allow for them to accommodate this. Simpler ways to identify these tracks are through the soloists, ensembles and conductors that worked on the recording, and even this is not simple enough. So this singular factor makes it difficult for it to work very well with some streaming services' algorithms and technology. But streaming services like Idagio and Primephonic that strictly stream classical music have designed search engines and interfaces that make it possible to find all the performances of a composition listed alphabetically by artist, or by the date of the recording.

Apple Music has a wide range of classical composition on its playlist, and it offers a free three month trial to new users, to help them make informed decisions about using their service or not. Naxos Music Library is another option. It is a music web player. Its mobile app lacks an updated feel, and its music library contains songs including jazz, world, folk, and modern instrumental. It doesn't have a desktop app, and you can’t download the music. Apple and Spotify are well known for their great library of classical music.

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Idagio and Primephonic are very similar in construction and working. The way you search for songs and explore is almost the same. They both have a search function that suits the peculiarity of classical music. They offer premium sound and a long list of classical music. Well, low-quality streaming is not even condoned in classical music, because the quality of sound is always easily noticeable. The more reason Idagio and Primephonic streaming services are better options for sorting music by work, and they hand users an easy-to-use mobile app.

Which Would it Rather Be? Idagio or Primephonic

Both options are the major stakeholders in the market of streaming classical music. They are to a large extent, very similar. But even though they don't operate like competitors, they are their own biggest competitors. Below is a detailed brief of each brand.

Primephonic - Classical Music

Primephonic - Classical Music

Primephonic is one of the very best classical music streaming services. It offers a good, modern-feeling mobile app and a great web interface, but just like Naxos Music Library, it doesn't have a desktop app. It has an ever-expanding catalog of over a million recorded tracks, and a social feature where users can connect globally with other users who share their interest in music, and give the same vibe about their passion for the genre.

It was founded by three friends who were concerned about the constant decline in the love and acceptance of classical music. The very first version of the service was soft-launched on a small scale in June 2017.

It has great sound quality and has a recommendation feature where new music is recommended daily to users. This way, you'll get updated about new classical works, composers, and recordings that you do not know about just yet. The good thing with the service brand is that it offers a free 14-day trial package where new users can try out for two weeks and get a feel of the app without having to use your credit card.

Another awesome upside to Primephonic is that it has an 'about composer' feature that lets users read and learn about the life of the music composer they are listening to while listening to the music. The search feature is also another upside to the app. It is quite smart and it produces search results of the exact work, composer or album that you are searching, in matters of seconds.

The charge cost at Primephonic is $8/mo for 320 kbps streaming, and $15/mo for lossless.

IDAGIO - Streaming, reinvented for classical music

IDAGIO - Streaming, reinvented for classical music

Idagio is another one of the best classical music streaming services that there is. Some reviews place it as the overall best music streaming service for classical music. The company was founded by Till Janczukowicz, and is based in Berlin, Germany. The company is a world-renowned brand and has subscribers in more than 130 countries. It can be used with its mobile app, web interface, or on its desktop app. Yea, it is the only streaming service that has a desktop app. You can build playlists or a personal collection on both the mobile and desktop app. It lacks social features, so no contacts or friend feeds are in the app. The desktop version of the app is kind of like Spotify, but it has only the basic features. One downside to the desktop app is its lack of shuffle or repeat functions.

Idagio costs $10/mo, and it includes lossless streaming. You can also stream at 320 or 192 kbps to save data. But now, on the question of which is which, and which is better, check out my review in subsequent paragraphs. 

Monthly subscription for streaming on the Primephonic starts at $7.99 a month, while a monthly subscription for streaming in the Idagio app starts at $9.99, so using Primephonic can help you save some extra bucks.

Another point of comparison is their level of Innovation. Idagio started quite earlier than Primephonic in the industry, and so can be said to have gone far in innovations, although, Primephonic has a better playback quality when compared to Idagio. Another awesome side to Idagio is its "about the composer" feature. It gives its users basic information about composers and artists.

Conclusion comparison of Idagio vs Primephonic

But eventually, both brands are great in their strengths. They are both of the opinion that classical music is still very relevant in this time, and that classical music only needs to get it right on digital grounds. They look forward to being able to reinvent the experience of classical music experience and get more people to love the genre. 

Which is better: Idagio or Primephonic?

Both options are the major stakeholders in the market of streaming classical music. They are to a large extent, very similar. But even though they don't operate like competitors, they are their own biggest competitors.

Which music app is best for classical music?

Primephonic and Idagio, both brands are great in their strengths. They look forward to being able to reinvent the experience of classical music experience and get more people to love the genre.

What is Idagio free?

Idagio has a free ad-supported tier. Students can get 50 percent off. It can be used with its mobile app, web interface, or on its desktop app.

Can you use Primephonic for free?

The good thing with the service brand is that it offers a free 14-day trial package where new users can try out for two weeks and get a feel of the app without having to use your credit card.


  • Selah Perez

    The moment you said “classical songs” I stopped reading. You know nothing about classical music, that much is clear.

  • Dennis Dio Parker

    I cannot offer a comparative opinion since I am not an Idagio subscriber. I will note that I find Primephonic to be comprehensively excellent across the platform, and their customer help and support has been amazing. It’s a marvelous classical music streaming service. I also have SiriusXM, and report that on classical music there is really no contest. Primephonic is in a whole different (better) universe.

  • Rosa

    I love Primephonic! Their recommendations feature is amazing and you can see how much effort they do to create the best of the best.

  • Joan Sutton

    I love Idagio. I can usually find any piece of music I wish to hear, and then many different performances of the same piece. Also i can listen to albums and whole operas. Lots of the latest recordings and best young artists. I think this is such a wonderful service. the best classical music availability I’ve ever experienced and very high quality sound.

  • Richard Neale

    I subscribe to both Primephonic & Idagio. Both are excellent, but there are key differences. Idagio has more options for searching, but I have found several works on Primephonic that are not available on Idagio. An important example for me example is Vittorio Negri’s recordings of Vivaldi’s Sacred Choral works; 10 CD’s worth of sublime music. By comparison, Idagio only has 2 CD’s worth of Negri’s recordings; a 2-disk set titled ‘The Great Choral Masterpieces’.

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