Automotive giant Mercedes-Benz has struck a multi-faced partnership with Universal Music Group and Apple Music.
According to the announcement issued on Sunday (October 16), Mercedes cars are set to become the first non-Apple devices to offer Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos from Apple Music natively in a vehicle.
The partnership comes over a year after Apple Music started offering Lossless Audio and Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos on its platform at no additional cost.
In addition, Mercedes-Benz, Apple Music and Universal Music Group have announced a partnership, that the companies say, ushers in “a new era of in-car entertainment by establishing the in-car audio experience as the benchmark for music production and playback quality”.
According to the announcement, the tie-up has been launched based on the “understanding that many musicians and recording artists already base their approval of a new mix of a track on how it sounds when played in a car”.
UMG says that it is actively encouraging its artists and record labels to produce music mixed in Dolby Atmos immersive audio.
Universal will now enable its artists to base their song approval process on how the final mix sounds in a Mercedes-Benz and will introduce what it calls the seal, “Approved in a Mercedes-Benz” as “a gold standard of sound”.
According to the announcement, as part of the agreement, Mercedes-Benz will provide UMG with vehicles equipped with the Burmester high-end sound system “for creative and technical assurances”.
The music company also says that it plans to establish a new studio environment in Sindelfingen, Germany, based on its Capitol Studios’ Studio C, which it calls “a major global reference music studio for Dolby Atmos mixing”.
The new spatial Audio feature is now integrated into the MBUX infotainment system of a number of Mercedes-Benz cars including the Mercedes-Maybach models, the EQS and EQS SUV, as well as the EQE and the S-Class, according to a press release on Sunday (October 16).
Mercedes-Benz drivers who are already subscribed to Apple Music will gain immediate access to songs and albums available in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos.
The partnership follows the integration of Dolby Atmos immersive audio in the optional Burmester high-end 4D and 3D sound system offered in Mercedes-Benz cars.
Citing a Mercedes survey, the press release notes that over 70% of music consumers state they listen to music mostly in a car.
Another survey conducted by Mercedes-Benz, in cooperation with Appinio in 2022, found that almost 72% of car drivers say that they are unable to imagine a car ride without music, while for two out of three of the respondents, in-car sound quality is “important” or “very important.”
“This important step in the history of recorded music is the culmination of years of working together with our partners at Dolby to develop the Dolby Atmos Music format so we can provide our artists with an even wider palette for their creative expression.”
Sir Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said: “This important step in the history of recorded music is the culmination of years of working together with our partners at Dolby to develop the Dolby Atmos Music format so we can provide our artists with an even wider palette for their creative expression.
“With Mercedes, a company that shares our passion for quality and innovation, fans can now enjoy our artists’ music in Mercedes cars in a way that virtually transports them to the recording studio or live stage.”
“Sound quality is incredibly important to Apple Music which is why we are so excited to be working with Mercedes to make Spatial Audio on Apple Music available natively in the car for the first time.”
Oliver Schusser, Apple
“Sound quality is incredibly important to Apple Music which is why we are so excited to be working with Mercedes to make Spatial Audio on Apple Music available natively in the car for the first time,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats.
Added Schusser: “Spatial Audio is revolutionizing the way artists create and fans listen to music and it’s an experience that is impossible to explain in words; you have to hear it for yourself to appreciate it.
“Together with Mercedes, we now have even more opportunities to bring wholly immersive music to our subscribers all over the world.”
“These efforts come together to give Mercedes customers a one-of-a-kind immersive music experience in Dolby Atmos, setting a new bar for how music should be heard in the car.”
Kevin Yeaman, Dolby Laboratories
Kevin Yeaman, President and CEO of Dolby Laboratories, said: “In 2021, we launched partnerships with both Mercedes-Benz and Apple Music to bring music in Dolby Atmos to more people around the world.
“Today, backed by a robust and growing catalog of music available in Dolby Atmos from our partners at Universal Music Group, these efforts come together to give Mercedes customers a one-of-a-kind immersive music experience in Dolby Atmos, setting a new bar for how music should be heard in the car.”Music Business Worldwide