Are producers going to update Spatial Audio songs like developers do apps?

Apple Music Lyrics Airpods Max
Apple Music Lyrics Airpods Max (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan)

Apple Music and its relatively new Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos support is pretty great, especially if you're listening with AirPods Max. But as I've already mentioned once before, it isn't perfect and some songs suit Spatial Audio more than others. Now, it seems that even music producers aren't sure about how some of the songs sound — to the point that at least one intends to have another go at mixing them.

That producer is Giles Martin, the producer behind The Beatles' two Spatial Audio albums on Apple Music — but it's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that he's particularly concerned about.

Sgt. Pepper's, how it's being presented right now, I'm actually going to change it. It doesn't sound quite right to me. It's out in Apple Music right now. But I'm gonna replace it. It's good. But it's not right. Sgt. Pepper's was, I think, the first album ever mixed in Dolby Atmos. And we did that as a theatrical presentation. I liked the idea of the Beatles being the first to do something. It's cool that they can still be the first to do something. So Sgt. Pepper's is a theatrical mix that's then being converted into a smaller medium. Therefore, it's not quite right. I'm gonna go back to the theatrical mix and make it into what's called near-field Dolby Atmos, as opposed to the cinema Dolby Atmos. It's a bit bright. It's a bit digital. But again, I'm gonna replace it, so that's cool.

This raises an interesting idea — will we see more producers deciding to do something similar? We're already familiar with developers re-working their apps and putting improved versions into the App Store. But could we soon see Apple Music filled with updated songs as producers get to grips with mixing for Dolby Atmos? Will songs we listened to when Apple launched the feature sound differently when we listen to them in the future?

Apple Airpods Max Listening Experience 2 12082020 Big Carousel.jpg.large 2x

Apple Airpods Max Listening Experience 2 12082020 Big Carousel.jpg.large 2x (Image credit: Apple)

In the case of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the answer is clearly a 'yes.' I still can't quite decide how I feel about all of this, but I'm also not a huge music guy. I kinda wish music just sounded like music but, again, I can understand producers wanting to make sure their work sounds as great as possible. But changing songs that are likely already in people's libraries?

That right there might be the biggest reason for, and against, streaming music right now. The song you like today might sound nothing like it tomorrow. And that's just a bit ... odd.

Don't yet have a pair of AirPods Max to really put Spatial Audio through its paces? Check out our collection of the best AirPods Max deals we've come across of late.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.