Americans Finally Get to Stream (Almost) All the K-Pop They Want With Apple Music

Courtesy of Star Empire Entertainment
9Muses

Hey, where's EXO?

With the launch of Apple Music, K-pop fans finally got their wish to stream all their favorite artists on one platform... well, almost all of them. 

The streaming service launched Tuesday, June 30, with more critics than fans, but when it comes to K-pop music the team clearly did their homework. 

Likely thanks to K-pop companies already familiar with putting their music on Apple's iTunes at this point, almost every popular artist in the can be found on Apple Music with everything from one-off promo singles to full-length albums. Stocking seem to be swift with new releases -- such as the 9Muses S/S Edition EP by girl group 9Muses that dropped Wednesday -- readily available for streaming.

Services like Spotify and Rhapsody boast some Korean releases, but discographies are majorly incomplete for whatever reason. Recently, Korean record labels like SM Entertainment (home to EXO, Girls' Generation, Super Junior) and YG Entertainment (BIGBANG, 2NE1, Epik High) have begun embracing Spotify, along with select other services, and quickly adding their music upon release. While the likes of Spotify and Rdio have not launched in South Korea (the country with the eighth-largest largest's music market in the world now), the nation boasts loads of its own competing streaming services like MelOn, Mnet, Bugs, Genie, Cyworld and many more.

But the point about SM is particularly curious as the label's acts are more or less missing from Apple Music. For example, the only Girls' Generation LP in there is 2012 release The Boys, likely due to it being licensed by Universal Music as part of a deal with Interscope Records. SM's latest group Red Velvet with two singles and an EP under their belt (that are all currently on Spotify), have an artist page, but no music. If the label remains off the service that means no music from internationally known acts like Super Junior, BoATVXQ!SHINeef(x) and EXO. (SM Entertainment did not immediately respond to Billboard's request for comment on the matter.)

Apple Music is likely also gaining points with fans for a slew of curated playlists for fans too. There's ones that are pure fun (Getting to Work Out for Girls: K-Pop, Fun Driving: K-Pop) to those that only in-the-know K-pop fans will get (Behind the Board: Brave Brothers). While there are some errors and misinformation in some playlist descriptions, all in all, it's an impressive look given to a still very-much-rising genre in America.