Apple Music launches in Korea

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Apple Music launches in Korea

Apple officially rolled out its music streaming service Apple Music in Korea on Friday. The company released it quietly without prior notice.

The service began operating last year in more than 100 countries and was immediately popular.

Service in Korea, however, was delayed over copyright contract issues. As Apple hasn’t signed a partnership with some of the country’s major music distributors, some local singers’ music will not be available through the app.

Records from the nation’s largest entertainment companies such as SM, YG and JYP are mostly included, but many Korean songs are omitted. For example, the app doesn’t offer albums from singer IU, who belongs to LOEN Entertainment, the parent company of Melon, the most prominent local music streaming platform.

Still, Apple Music offers more than 30 million songs, about three times the number of tracks offered by Melon.

The app is available on all Apple’s devices and also on Android through Google Play.

Subscription to the domestic service costs $7.99 a month for an individual membership and $11.99 for family membership. New subscribers to the app can receive a free trial for three months.

Apple Music may not be a game-changer, however. In a local streaming market already flooded with competition and local platforms offering average streaming prices of about 6,000 won, Apple Music’s subscription fee is slightly higher.

However, compared to the U.S. market, where monthly service is $9.99 for an individual and $14.99 for a family, the app’s Korea service is relatively cheap.

One unique feature of the new music app is the curation service offered directly by professional musicians and a 24-hour radio service called Beats 1. Beats 1 broadcasts new songs, interviews, and cultural updates offered by renowned DJs. The service is free, even without an Apple Music subscription.

Connect, a part of the app, is a space where music fans and artists can communicate. Fans can comment or click “like” on postings by artists and also shares content with others. Artists will upload demo tracks that are not yet released, various versions of their hit songs and video clips of their recording scenes.

Apple Music is taking steps to add more Korean music to its holdings. In June, the tech company signed a service contract with the Federation of Korean Performers. Once the company adds more K-pop to its catalog, it is expected to aggressively promote its service in the domestic market.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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