Apple Music could pay artists more for streams of songs produced in Spatial Audio (report)

Spotify rival Apple Music is reportedly planning to adjust the way it pays out for streams for songs produced in the immersive Spatial Audio format.

According to a report from Ashley Carman at Bloomberg on Monday (December 11), Apple Music “plans to give added weighting to streams of songs” mixed in Dolby Atmos.

The move could result in increased royalty payments for artists who release their music in Spatial Audio, reported Bloomberg, citing “people with knowledge of matter”.

Apple Music was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

Listening to music produced in Spatial Audio sounds like the different parts of a recording are coming from all directions around the listener.

Stereo, on the other hand, delivers audio from just two channels to create a left or right-directional sense of where the music is being played.

Spatial Audio is fast becoming a mainstream proposition for audio consumers, and Apple Music has been backing the format for some time now.

Apple Music rolled out Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos in June 2021, free for all subscribers. 

The company reported in January this year that the format was a hit with its users in its first full year of availability on the platform.

Apple Music reported in January that monthly plays in Spatial Audio soared by over 1,000% on its platform in 2022, with over 80% of Apple Music subscribers listening to music in Spatial Audio last year.

Bloomberg reports that Apple Music users “wouldn’t necessarily” even be required to play the actual Spatial Audio version of a song for artists and labels to see weighting added to their streams.

“It only matters that the song is offered in that format,” Bloomberg reported, adding that “the new policy will encourage artists and labels to record and mix music with Atmos — including older tracks”.

One of the reasons suggested by Bloomberg for why Apple Music might be planning to incentivize artists and labels to produce music in spatial Audio is to encourage its users to purchase Apple hardware.

Apple devices including iPhones, AirPods, Homepods, Macbooks, and more come with support for Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio.

Elsewhere in the music streaming business, Spatial Audio is also included with Amazon Music Unlimited.

Amazon Music Unlimited says that it has a growing catalog of Spatial Audio songs mastered in Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio from some of the world’s biggest artists.

The 360 Reality Audio format was launched by Sony Corp with Amazon Music, Deezer, and TIDAL in January 2019.

Amazon Music Unlimited customers can listen to Spatial Audio through the Fire Tablet (with Fire OS 6 and above), iOS, or Android Amazon Music app with any headphones.

Apple Music rival Spotify does not currently offer Spatial Audio on its platform.

Spotify is rumored, however, to be preparing a ‘Supremium’ tier that offers 24-bit Lossless music and the ability to make playlists with artificial intelligence at a monthly subscription price of $19.99 per month.Music Business Worldwide

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