Apple is set to recognize and reward record labels and artists who embrace spatial audio, an innovative audio format offering a more immersive experience than traditional stereo. As per a report from Bloomberg, artists opting for spatial audio releases will receive “added weighting” starting from the next year, potentially leading to increased royalties.
With nearly all of Apple’s audio devices, including AirPods, HomePod, iPhone, and the upcoming Vision Pro headset, supporting spatial audio playback, the company’s decision to incentivize artists aims to ensure that a significant portion of the music on Apple Music is accessible in a format Apple has strategically positioned as a key selling feature. Importantly, the report points out that Apple Music listeners won’t necessarily need to stream a song in spatial audio for artists to receive rewards; merely having their music available in this format would suffice.
In 2021, Apple introduced spatial audio, powered by Dolby Atmos technology, to Apple Music. The majority of Apple TV+’s original shows and movies are also available in this format. Artists are given the option to remix their older music in the new spatial audio format, a practice already embraced by bands spanning various decades. According to Bloomberg, the cost of mixing music in this format is not prohibitively expensive. If accurate, this initiative could facilitate the involvement of independent musicians and smaller acts.
While some Apple Music competitors like Amazon Music and Tidal also offer spatial audio on their platforms, Spotify, Apple’s primary music streaming rival, is a notable exception. Despite persistent rumors about a high-quality music format on Spotify, it has yet to materialize.