Apple boosts royalty for Dolby Atmos tracks

Apple Music Incentives for Dolby Atmos Music

Apple Music is set to introduce incentives for artists and labels who deliver music mastered in Dolby Atmos, the immersive audio standard, as reported by sources familiar with the matter. While specific details of the plan are yet to be revealed, it is suggested that simply making the track available in Dolby Atmos could potentially qualify for a royalty boost, regardless of whether users actually listen to the immersive version.

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Support for Immersive Audio Standards

Streaming services such as Amazon Music, Tidal, and Qobuz, in addition to Apple Music, have been incorporating support for various immersive audio standards, including Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, and THX Spatial audio. The term “spatial audio” is commonly used to encompass these cutting-edge audio formats.

Additionally, Apple has its own proprietary immersive plus technology, known as Spatial Audio, which is accessible to users of Apple AirPods earbuds and AirPods Max headphones. Spatial Audio offers head tracking, providing users with a sense of movement within the audio landscape as they move their heads.

Expanding Importance of Immersive Audio Formats

Immersive audio formats are expected to play a crucial role not only in music consumption but also in broader entertainment consumption. Apple, in particular, is heavily invested in the development of immersive entertainment technology, with products like the VisionPro headset and the iPhone 15 Pro integrating support for immersive audio and video experiences, respectively.

Advantages of Dolby Atmos for Music

Dolby Atmos offers substantial benefits for music, including enhanced detail and dynamic range, eliminating the need for artificial loudness. Furthermore, Dolby Atmos is an adaptive audio format that can effectively “fold down” to work on virtually any device, ensuring long-term “future proofing” for tracks mastered in Atmos.

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As long as a device supports Dolby Atmos, even playing it through a phone speaker can still provide a better experience compared to non-Atmos audio, according to industry experts.

Increasing Availability and Creative Opportunities

Although providing Atmos-mastered audio entails cost and workflow implications, the number of engineers and studios equipped with the necessary skills and equipment has significantly increased, reducing previous capacity issues for Atmos mastering.

Moreover, the creative opportunities that immersive audio formats offer to artists and labels are promising. These, combined with the expected growth of immersive entertainment formats, present new opportunities for the industry as a whole.

Challenges and Considerations

However, the wider adoption of immersive audio formats may pose challenges for legacy catalogue managers as the disparities between immersive-mastered content and non-immersive content become more apparent to consumers, potentially disadvantaging non-immersive audio. There is a need to address this potential issue as the industry continues to embrace immersive audio technologies.

In conclusion, the move towards Dolby Atmos and immersive audio formats represents an exciting evolution in the music and entertainment industry, with the potential to reshape how music is created, produced, and consumed.

The increased support for immersive audio standards by major streaming services and tech companies indicates a significant shift in the way music and other forms of entertainment are experienced, promising exciting opportunities for artists, labels, and consumers alike.

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