Apple’s Plan to Incentivize Artists for Spatial Audio Music Offerings

Apple will reward record labels and artists who offer their music in spatial audio, a relatively new audio format that is more immersive than regular stereo. According to a Bloomberg report, artists who release their music in spatial audio will receive “added weighting” starting next year, potentially resulting in higher royalties.

Most of Apple’s audio hardware supports playback in spatial audio, so the company’s move to incentivize artists is likely intended to ensure that most music available on Apple Music is in this format, which Apple has positioned as a selling point. Bloomberg notes that Apple Music listeners wouldn’t necessarily have to stream a song in spatial audio for artists to be rewarded; simply having their music available in the format would be sufficient.

Apple brought spatial audio, powered by Dolby Atmos technology, to Apple Music in 2021. Additionally, the company’s original shows and movies on Apple TV+ are offered in the format, and artists have the option of mixing their older music in the new format, which is not prohibitively expensive according to Bloomberg. This push could potentially help independent musicians and smaller acts adopt spatial audio.

While some of Apple Music’s competitors offer spatial audio on their services, Spotify, Apple’s biggest music streaming rival, does not, despite rumors about a high-quality music format on the service.