Apple could be hatching a plan to entice artists to make more Dolby Atmos music

Apple Spatial Audio
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple plans to offer fresh rewards for artists and labels mixing music for Dolby Atmos playback, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The rumoured policy aims to encourage artists and labels to record and mix music (both new and old) in Dolby Atmos. An anonymous source has spoken to Bloomberg and hinted that songs mixed in the spatial audio format will receive extra weighting, which could mean higher royalty payments for artists.

A change of this nature would not affect listeners, however, as they would not be required to listen to the Atmos version of a track for the artist to receive the potential benefits. All that would be required, supposedly, is the availability of an Atmos version of the track.

Dolby Atmos was introduced in April 2012 and Apple introduced Spatial Audio to Apple Music in 2021. Apple’s Spatial Audio, which is supported by Dolby Atmos technology, is designed to make audio feel three-dimensional and as if you were surrounded by speakers. 

Much of Apple’s range of audio products support Atmos playback, including AirPods and the HomePod. Apple may be hoping an increase in the availability of Atmos-compatible music will lead to an increase in sales of these products. 

While reviewing the HomePod 2, we listened to a variety of Dolby Atmos music and found the results to be fairly impressive, with some songs featuring vocal tracks that stretched up and outwards. We also noted that a stereo pair of HomePods goes a long way in enhancing the effect. 

Many streaming services, such as Amazon Music, offer Dolby Atmos-supported audio at its subscription cost, while others, such as Spotify, are yet to support spatial audio (and we're still waiting for Spotify Hi-Fi).

We have asked Apple for comment and will report back with their response. 


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Staff Writer

Ainsley Walker is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. He studied music journalism at university before working in a variety of roles including as a freelance journalist and teacher. Growing up in a family of hi-fi enthusiasts, this naturally influenced his interest in the topic. Outside of work, Ainsley can be found producing music, tinkering with retro tech, or cheering on Luton Town.