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Apple Music will start paying artists more if they release songs in Dolby Atmos

Published Dec 11th, 2023 1:49PM EST
Apple Music Collaborative playlists iOS 17.2
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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I personally love that Dolby Atmos is slowly but surely making its way onto the music scene. After a rocky start, the music industry seems to be figuring out how to properly mix their songs in Atmos, making for an even more immersive listening experience.

Apple Music, which really pushed Dolby Atmos into music streaming when it launched Lossless Audio and Spatial Audio for the music streaming service a few years ago, agrees. In fact, it agrees so much that, apparently, Apple is going to start paying artists who release their music in Dolby Atmos on the platform more money.

As reported by Bloomberg, the company is “offering incentives to artists and record labels to produce music using a spatial-audio technology.” The change to how songs are weighted and recommended on the platform will reportedly change next year in favor of Atmos tracks.

Starting next year, the company plans to give added weighting to streams of songs that are mixed in Dolby Atmos technology, according to people with knowledge of matter. That could mean higher royalty payments for artists who are first to embrace the technology made by Dolby Laboratories Inc., said the people, who asked not to be identified because the change hasn’t been announced.

This is an interesting move by Apple, especially since the company is far ahead with incorporating Dolby Atmos tracks (and Lossless Audio) in its service. Spotify, the largest music streaming service, still doesn’t support either feature, though the company seems to be close to launching its Supremium tier which will include Lossless Audio — albeit for more than Apple Music charges users.

Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio are coming to Apple Music subscribers beginning June 2021. Image source: Apple

Spotify Supremium was leaked back in October. The upcoming tier of the service will get users 24-bit lossless audio, 20-30 hours of audiobook listening before having to pay for the whole book, and a whole bunch of tools and stats that true music nerds love. It will cost $19.99 per month for individuals. Here’s the full list of expected features:

  • “Your Sound Capsule”
  • Advanced playlist mixing tools (BPM, vibe, mood, activity and genre, etc)
  • AI playlist generation tools
  • listening stats (“Highlights)
  • 20-30 hours of audiobook listening
  • 24-bit lossless audio (HiFi brand is dead)

So, since Spotify hasn’t even launched its Supremium plan and, according to the latest leaks, it won’t include Dolby Atmos support anyway, what is the rush for Apple to push it on its own platform? I could guess that since Apple knows that Dolby Atmos will continue to be a unique feature for them when compared to Spotify, getting more Dolby Atmos content on the platform could keep more users from switching to its competitor — as long as they value it.

Regardless, it does seem that there’s been a natural upswing in artists experimenting with the technology, so I can’t imagine it’s going to be too hard for Apple to convince artists to give it a try — especially if it impacts the amount of money they can make on the platform.

Spotify's new TV app from November 2023Image source: Spotify

While Apple continues to push Spatial Audio to artists and listeners, Spotify continues to roll out its new user experience for its app. The company announced last month that the Spotify for TV app was being overhauled to match the design language of the mobile and desktop apps — both of which were also updated earlier this year.

Personally, I haven’t seen the TV app get the update yet on my Apple TV, but Spotify has a tendency to take its sweet time when bringing updates to Apple devices. I wonder why.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.

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