A new report claims that from next year Apple is going to reward artists and record labels that create music using spatial audio by adding more weight to the streaming of their songs on Apple Music, improving royalties and increasing exposure.
According to Bloomberg, Apple "is offering incentives to artists and record labels to produce music using a spatial-audio technology that surrounds listeners in sound," and "plans to give added weighting to streams of songs that are mixed in Dolby Atmos technology, according to people with knowledge of matter."
As the report notes the higher weighting could see artists who embrace the technology receive more royalties if there songs are played more often. Bloomberg says streamers "wouldn’t necessarily have to play the Atmos version of a song for artists to benefit," with availability in Dolby Atmos the key marker. According to the report the new policy "will encourage artists and labels to record and mix music with Atmos — including older tracks."
Spatial audio is here to day
The report cites sources who say mixing in Atmos "is broadly affordable" and worthwhile for established artists, however this implies that smaller independent artists or labels may not benefit in the same way. Apple offers spatial audio on Apple Music, best enjoyed through devices like its AirPods Pro 2 or AirPods Max.
However, spatial audio on Apple Music isn't an exact science. As it stands lots of the spatial audio tracks on Apple Music vary drastically in mix quality and loudness, making for quite a jarring listening process, at least in my experience. Legendary producer Giles Martin, who produced The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in spatial audio for Apple Music revealed that even his attempt "doesn't sound quite right" and that he was planning to go back and remix the tracks. In July 2021, Martin said that two years previously spatial audio was "unlistenable" but had since improved.
iMore has reached out to Apple for comment on the news.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9