Apple Set to Incentivize Artists for Embracing Spatial Audio in Music
Apple is rewarding record labels and artists who make their music available in spatial audio, an immersive new audio format more enveloping than regular stereo. According to a Bloomberg report, artists releasing music in spatial audio will get “added weighting” starting next year, which could mean higher royalties.
Nearly all Apple audio devices – AirPods, HomePod, iPhone, and the upcoming Vision Pro headset – support spatial audio playback. So Apple’s move to incentivize artists aims to ensure most music on Apple Music is available in the format positioned as a selling point. Notably, Bloomberg says Apple Music listeners don’t necessarily have to stream a song in spatial audio for artists to be rewarded – just having it available is enough.
Apple added spatial audio, powered by Dolby Atmos technology, to Apple Music in 2021. Most Apple TV+ original shows and movies are also offered in the format. Artists can remix older music in spatial audio too, which bands from all decades are already doing. According to Bloomberg, mixing music this way isn’t wildly expensive, so this push could help onboard independent and smaller artists.
Some Apple Music competitors like Amazon Music and Tidal also offer spatial audio. But rival Spotify, Apple’s biggest competition in music streaming, is a notable exception, despite long-running rumors of a high-quality format coming to the service.
Apple’s move aims to increase spatial audio content and drive adoption of the format. For artists and labels, it provides incentive to remix and release music in spatial audio. And for listeners, it means enjoying a growing catalog of music in a more immersive way. With spatial audio still relatively new, Apple is making a bet on its future, rewarding artists willing to help realize that vision.