Apple Music is doubling down on classical music with the acquisition of Swedish label BIS Records.
Following the launch earlier this year of its standalone app Apple Music Classical (AMC), the tech giant makes its move for BIS, a classical specialist which has operated since 1973.
The acquisition ticks several boxes for both parties.
For BIS, the timing, and its new teammates, were right. “A few days ago BIS Records turned 50 years old and I am immensely proud of what our small team of people has accomplished during this half-century,” writes BIS founder Robert von Bahr in a blog post.
Its strong suit, “while paying our dues to the core repertoire,” he continues, “has been to nurture young classical artists and interesting living composers and to safeguard the musical treasure that we all represent long into the future. It is to that end that, after much careful consideration, and having just turned 80, I am excited to announce the rather momentous news that we have made the decision to become part of the Apple family.”
For Apple, the hardware colossus with a market cap that’s fast approaching $3 trillion, its latest purchase is a statement of intent. Classical music is hot right now, the newest member of its family comes bearing the goods, with a catalog of contemporary composers and early music. And Apple wants ownership.
Apple made its splash in the classical water with the March launch of AMC, stemming from its August 2021 acquisition of Primephonic.
The new app, Apple boldly declared at the time, was the “ultimate classical experience” with the “largest classical music catalog,” boasting over 5 million tracks and works from new releases to recognized masterpieces.
The game is changing, fast. Last November, Deutsche Grammophon launched a new standalone streaming service, Stage+, catering to its own catalog and that of Decca Classics. And, recently, Universal Music Group bought Hyperion Records, and announced its asset would finally enter into the streaming age.
Following the latest transaction, BIS will become part of Apple Music Classical and its artist services service Platoon. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed. At the time of writing, BIS Recordings were available on Apple’s DSPs and eClassical.
Von Bahr and his staff won’t be going anywhere. “As proud as I am of this milestone,” he writes, “I am even more proud of the fact that the entire personnel of BIS, including me, have been retained. We all look forward to a future, filled with new music and artists in golden sound from this increased force in classical music.”
Read more here.