Apple, continuing its foray into the classical music industry, has made another significant stride after the recent launch of Apple Music Classical earlier this year. The tech giant has now acquired BIS Records, a venerable Swedish record label with a 50-year legacy, renowned for its dedication to early and contemporary classical music.
A Rich Legacy and Visionary Leadership
Founded in 1973 by Robert von Bahr, BIS Records calls Akersbaga, Sweden, its home. Over the years, this record label has earned a reputation for nurturing emerging classical artists, championing contemporary composers, and preserving classical musical heritage. Robert von Bahr, the 80-year-old founder, shared that the decision to join forces with Apple was the result of careful consideration and a shared vision to expand the global reach of classical music.
In a statement announcing the acquisition, von Bahr expressed, “We thought long and hard on how to maintain and build upon our prestigious history and looked for a partner who would further our mission, as well as an increased global platform to bring classical music to new audiences all over the world. Apple, with its own storied history of innovation and love of music, is the ideal home to usher in the next era of classical and has shown true commitment towards building a future in which classical music and technology work in harmony. It is my vision and my sincerest dream that we are all a part of this future.”
Apple’s Continued Investment in Classical Music
This move follows Apple’s acquisition of the Netherlands-based classical music streaming service, Prime phonic, in August 2021. The acquisition aimed to pave the way for Apple’s dedicated classical music app, which was subsequently launched as the standalone Apple Music Classical app in late March. The app was introduced with the goal of delivering the listening experience classical music enthusiasts deserve, offering access to a vast catalog of over 5 million classical music tracks, including both new releases and timeless masterpieces.
Furthermore, Apple extended the availability of the Apple Music Classical app to Android users three months ago. The focus on exceptional audio quality has been a shared belief between Apple and BIS Records. Robert von Bahr noted, “Apple and BIS also share a fundamental belief in the importance of preserving audio quality. As you are all aware, BIS has always been about exceptional sound quality, and Apple’s dedication to sound, as well as to Spatial Audio, is something I have followed with interest.”
A Bright Future for BIS Records and Apple Music Classical
Following the acquisition, BIS Records will integrate into Apple Music Classical alongside Platoon, with Apple retaining the entire BIS personnel, including Robert von Bahr. Apple initially acquired Platoon in December 2018. Von Bahr expressed optimism about the future, saying, “We all look forward to a future, filled with new music and artists in golden sound from this increased force in classical music.”
Apple Music Classical now faces competition from STAGE+, a high-resolution classical music streaming service launched by Deutsche Grammophon, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, in November 2022. Additionally, Hyperion Records, a classical label founded 43 years ago, recently ventured into the streaming realm after being acquired by UMG in mid-March. Apple’s acquisition of BIS Records reinforces its commitment to classical music and its ongoing efforts to provide an unparalleled listening experience to classical music enthusiasts worldwide.