BIS Records to become part of Apple
Martin Cullingford, Gramophone Editor
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Acclaimed Swedish label marks 50th anniversary with announcement on its future
BIS, the Award-winning Swedish classical label founded by Robert von Bahr, is to become a part of Apple Music Classical and the Apple-owned creative services company Platoon.
Founded 50 years ago this week, few months seem to pass without a BIS album earning a Gramophone Editor's Choice, such is its roster of extraordinary artists – including a commitment to nurturing those of the younger generation – and its dedication to both artistic excellence and exploration.
'A few days ago BIS Records turned 50 years old and I am immensely proud of what our small team of people has accomplished during this half-century,' wrote von Bahr on BIS's website. '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. It is to that end that, after much careful consideration, and having just turned 80, I am excited to announce the rather momentous news that we have made the decision to become part of the Apple family.'
BIS's impressive range of releases is well illustrated simply by listing the BIS albums that feature in the newly unveiled shortlist for the 2023 Gramophone Awards: the Gringolts Quartet performing Schoenberg Quartets, Pascal Rophé with an album of music by Ravel, Saint-Saëns piano concertos from Alexandre Kantorow, an all-Hungarian programme of solo violin music from Nurit Stark, and Beethoven and Mozart transcriptions performed by Paul Wee.
'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,' added von Bahr. '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.'
The statement also confirmed that all of BIS's staff will be retained as part of the purchase.
The move follows other significant announcements this year in the classical recording industry, including the launch by Apple of its dedicated classical app, Apple Music Classical, and the purchase of another leading independent label, Hyperion Records, by Universal, both in March.