In a post on X on Tuesday (January 9), Apple announced that the service will be coming to China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau starting on January 24.
The expansion into these markets will offer classical music fans access to a library of more than 5 million classical recordings.
Originally launched in March 2023, the app expanded to Android devices in May 2023, preceding its release on Mac and the optimization for iPad.
Apple Music Classical quickly gained popularity among classical music fans worldwide with its extensive collection of tracks.
Featuring up to 192 kHz/24-bit lossless and hi-resolution audio quality, the service offers curated playlists, in-depth artist biographies and guides for many key works.
Apple Music Classical integrates the features of Primephonic, the Dutch classical music streaming service acquired by Apple in August 2021.
The app is infused with features from Primephonic, including enhanced browsing and search capabilities, categorized by composer and repertoire. Additionally, it provides detailed displays of classical music metadata, providing users with information about their favorite compositions.
The app is available for Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost as part of their existing subscription. However, it is not compatible with the Apple Music Voice Plan, a subscription tier designed for Siri integration.
This expansion marks a key step for Apple Music Classical, reaching regions where classical music holds a deep cultural significance. The app has been steadily growing its global footprint since its debut, with the exception of select markets like Russia and Turkey.
However, questions remain about the app’s revenue potential. As Ryan Blakeley, a Ph.D. candidate in Musicology at the Eastman School of Music, pointed out in an analysis in April 2023, classical music has struggled to adapt to the streaming era despite the presence of services like Spotify and Apple Music.
Blakeley suggested that while classical music may not be a significant revenue generator on its own, it can serve as a gateway to Apple’s broader ecosystem. By attracting classical music enthusiasts, Apple can potentially lead them to explore and invest in other Apple products and services.
Since its acquisition of Primephonic and the launch of Apple Music Classical, Apple has made another key stride in the classical music genre, acquiring 50-year old Swedish record label BIS Records, known for its focus on early and contemporary classical music, in September 2023. BIS Records is now part of Apple Music Classical and Platoon, a London-based creative services firm that Apple acquired in 2018.
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