Apple Music is taking the challenge to Spotify by launching its streaming service in 52 additional markets, including 25 African nations.

It’s an impressive statement from a company which has never been happy with second-best status.

Several factors leap out from the announcement, made overnight.

There’s the mind-boggling logistics behind such an ambitious rollout, which sees Apple Music start at the entry level in many markets that have no legitimate recorded music market of note.

Also, this big push gives Apple Music a foothold in 167 markets, double the number Spotify currently operates in (79).

What remains to be seen is how much investment (and patience) Apple Music will plug into converting music fans to their shiny new app. Part of the process will include a six-month free trial and locally-curated playlists that focus on local music scenes and genres. Pricing points haven’t been announced.

Its parent Apple, the first company to post a trillion dollar market cap, has deep pockets. Failure isn’t an option. Apple will abort mission at the first sign of a proper mistake.

Never miss industry news

Get the latest music industry news, insights, and updates straight to your inbox. Learn more

apple
Apple

Also, timing. Apple Music is spreading the gospel during the Coronavirus lockdown, rather than pulling back and waiting for business to return to something like normal.

Right now, there’s an opportunity to capture millions of new users who are stuck in doors, bored witless. Apple doesn’t wait on opportunities.

“We’re delighted to bring many of Apple’s most beloved Services to users in more countries than ever before,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s Vice President of Apple Music and International Content in a statement. “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.”

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, lifting those first three up to 175 countries and regions.

Apple Music launched in Australia in 2015 and currently boasts a licensed catalogue of more than 60 million songs. The tech giant typically keeps quiet on its numbers, though Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue did lift the lid in mid-2019 with the announcement that the streaming service had surpassed 60 million subscribers.

Its main rival, Spotify, recently announced 271 million users worldwide, including 124 million subscribers.

Check out the additional countries in which Apple Music will launch.

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.