Apple Music Classical Expands to Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, and More

apple music classical expansion
  • Save

apple music classical expansion
  • Save
Apple Music Classical is expanding to nations including Japan, South Korea, and China. Photo Credit: Larisa Birta

After debuting in a number of markets last March, Apple Music Classical is releasing in Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

The standalone classical music app just recently took to social media to announce the expansion. According to the concise post at hand, users in the mentioned countries can now pre-order Classical via the App Store.

In an 11-second video (set to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15) accompanying the message, on-screen Japanese-language text declares that “a new app for listening to classical music is now available” before encouraging viewers to pre-order Classical.

It’s unclear precisely when the service, which is available to Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost, will roll out in the relevant nations. Additionally, the timetable associated with an Android release in the states, which have a total population of approximately 1.62 billion, hasn’t been disclosed.

But post-buildout, the self-described home of “the world’s largest classical music catalog” will be available in the vast majority of nations where Apple Music proper exists. Notable exceptions – some of which have been called out on Twitter/X by would-be Classical users – include Turkey, Russia, and Albania (where Apple Music is shelved as well).

More broadly, the bolstered operational scope of Salzburg Festival-partnered Apple Music Classical, which itself derived from Apple’s 2021 purchase of Primephonic, represents only the latest in a series of noteworthy developments within the classical music space.

Universal Music Group last year scooped up Hyperion Records and, via Deutsche Grammophon, has created its own classical streaming service, Stage+. That platform costs $14.90 per month in the States and affords fans access to “concerts, operas, documentaries, albums and more, live and on demand,” according to the appropriate webpage.

Of course, notwithstanding the seemingly solid classical library and sizable collection of adjacent offerings, logic suggests that Stage+ may have a difficult time attracting subscribers amid stiff competition from Apple Music Classical. As highlighted, despite being a separate app, the latter is included with subscriptions to Apple Music.

In any event, April of 2023 then saw classical publisher Faber Music acquire composer agency Manners McDade. Closer to the year’s conclusion, Apple underscored its commitment to classical with a September deal for Robert von Bahr’s BIS Records.

Founded over half a century ago, BIS was named Label of the Year at the Gramophone Awards this past October.