Streaming

Apple Music Expands Into 52 More Countries, Including Two Dozen in Africa

Apple Music
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An Apple Music logo seen displayed on a smartphone.

Apple announced a major expansion of many of its services Tuesday (April 21), most notably that Apple Music will now be available in 52 additional countries, bringing it to 167 total. Much of that total is centered on Africa, where the five-year-old streaming service will go live in two dozen additional countries, tripling the number of nations in which it’s available on the continent.

In addition to the Apple Music expansion, the App Store, Apple’s Podcasts, iCloud and the Apple Arcade will now be available in 20 more countries, bringing the first three up to 175 countries and regions total.

“We’re delighted to bring many of Apple’s most beloved services to users in more countries than ever before,” said vp Apple Music and international content Oliver Schusser in a statement announcing the expansion. “We hope our customers can discover their new favorite apps, games, music and podcasts as we continue to celebrate the world’s best creators, artists and developers.”

For the 52 new countries that will gain access to its music streaming service, Apple Music is offering free six-month trials, locally-curated playlists that focus on local music scenes and genres -- Africa Now, Afrobeats Hits and Ghana Bounce were identified by the company in a press release as examples -- and the artist-led programs and radio stations on Beats 1. Additionally, Beats 1 will now be broadcast in seven Middle Eastern countries that already had Apple Music: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain.

The expansion comes as the company has ramped up its hardware product distribution in many of those markets, bringing the services to iPhones in each region. It also brings Apple Music in particular to a number of musically-significant countries, not just in Africa (in May, the service will be celebrating the best in African music with exclusive playlists from artists like Angélique Kidjo and Davido, to name two), but in places like the Caribbean (most notably Jamaica) and Latin America, with an emphasis on catering to local tastes and genres.

Many of the countries included in the new expansion are also ones where there isn’t a truly established streaming economy, with the monetization of music, particularly digital music, not exactly strong. While pricing information was not available as of press time, each new country will have the six-month free trial option, which is one way of getting people into the subscription fold.

See a full list of additional countries in which Apple Music will be available at the end of this story.

In other Apple-related news, its Beats headphones brand -- which it bought for $3.2 billion in 2014 -- will now come under Schusser’s purview. Beats president Luke Wood, who has been with the company since 2011, will be stepping down as of April 30, an Apple spokesperson confirmed to Billboard, with Schusser taking control of the division. The move was first reported by CNET.

In an internal memo obtained by Billboard, Apple’s senior vp internet software and services Eddy Cue said that Wood had expressed a "desire to do something new" within the past year, and that the company has had time to plan the transition. "While the timing of this announcement is not ideal, both Luke and I agree that the best thing for Beats is to keep the business moving forward," Cue wrote. "We remain committed to the Beats brand and the importance of maintaining its role firmly in the music portfolio."

Below are the additional countries in which Apple Music will now become available.

Africa: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia.
Asia-Pacific: Bhutan, Maldives and Myanmar.
Europe: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
Latin America and the Caribbean: the Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Turks and Caicos and Uruguay.
Middle East: Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Yemen.
Oceania: Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.