Apple buys Swedish classical record label

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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.”

“BIS’s specialty, while paying our dues to the core repertoire, 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,” von Bahr said in a statement. “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.”

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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