Apple buys Swedish classical record label


Karina Canellakis leading the Juilliard Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall on Thursday night, May 22, 2014.

Hiroyuki Ito | Getty Images

Apple has acquired BIS Records, a 50-year-old Swedish record label with a focus on classical music, as part of its continuing efforts to attract classical music fans.

BIS Records founder Robert von Bahr said Tuesday that Apple recently bought his record company and will fold it into its Apple Music Classical and Platoon music services.

Von Bahr, who recently turned 80, said that both BIS Records and Apple share a “fundamental belief in the importance of preserving audio quality,” citing the iPhone maker’s surround-sound spatial audio technology as “something I have followed with interest. “

While paying dues to our core repertoire, BIS’s specialty has been to nurture and support young classical artists, as well as interesting living composers, and to safeguard the music treasure we all represent for the future,” von Bahr stated in a press release. Apple, with its long history of innovation and passion for music, is an ideal home for ushering in the next era in classical music. It has also shown a true commitment to building a world where classical music and technology can work together. “

Apple did not respond to a request for comment from CNBC about the deal’s price.

The acquisition is another example of Apple attempting to distinguish itself from streaming-music rival Spotify by focusing on classical music.

In 2021, it bought the classical music streaming service Primephonic for an undisclosed sum. Besides letting users stream classical music, Primephonic also built a vast database containing information like composers, orchestras and conductors that helped provide a more compelling experience for fans of the genre.

Eventually, the tech giant debuted its own Apple Music Classical streaming app this past spring, pitching it as a way for current Apple Music subscribers to access over five million classical tracks that can be searched via data like composer, conductor or catalog number.

In 2018, Apple bought the small music-distribution-and-technology firm Platoon for an undisclosed amount. Apple eventually released an app dubbed Platoon for Artists, intended to help musicians promote their songs and view streaming analytics.

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