Apple will reportedly reward artists for making music in spatial audio

Apple Music spatial audio screenshot
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Apple has revealed just how much extra cash its artists can expect to make if they decide to record their tracks using spatial audio. According to Bloomberg, artists can hope to receive royalties up to 10 per cent higher than the standard rate if they mix their tracks using Dolby Atmos spatial audio.

We reported on this proposed development back in December of last year, and now it seems that the plans are official and ready to be fully hatched. Apple's general aim is to encourage artists and labels to mix music using Dolby Atmos, with those tracks that use the spatial audio format receiving an extra weighting and thus higher royalty payments for the artists involved.

It may just be worth their while. According to an Apple Music business release via Music Business Worldwide, that 10 per cent inflated rate will start at the end of this month, with spatial audio pro-rata rates "calculated using a factor of 1.1, while Non-Spatial Available plays will continue to use a factor of 1."

As we reported in December, users don't even have to listen to the music in the spatial audio format on Apple Music in order for the artist to receive a bonus amount, with, according to 9to5Mac, rates calculated "based on the proportion of Spatial Available to Non-Spatial Available plays". That, in itself, should provide a further incentive for musicians to provide a spatial audio option.

Apple Music and Dolby Atmos logo banner

(Image credit: Apple Music, Dolby Atmos)

With spatial audio and Dolby Atmos becoming more widespread in recent times (across streaming platforms and hardware support), it's no surprise to see Apple pushing so hard to reward artists and creators using the format, especially as many Apple Music competitors, including Amazon Music and Tidal, employ their own version of spatial audio across their respective platforms. 

Many products in the Apple lineup come with support for Dolby Atmos playback, including the five-star AirPods Max and AirPods Pro 2 and the excellent HomePod 2, the latter of which employs it superbly, so it makes sense for Apple to have as many tracks available in the format on its bespoke listening platform as it can.

With subscription prices for consumers rising all the time and intense competition across the streaming landscape, will extensive spatial audio recordings be enough for Apple Music to establish its dominance? We'll have to wait and see.


Dolby Atmos: what is it? How can you get it?

Best Dolby Atmos soundbars: budget to premium home cinema sound

Read our Award-winning Apple HomePod 2 review

Apple Spatial Audio vs Sony 360 Reality Audio – how the immersive formats differ

Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. He studied law and history at university before working as a freelance journalist covering TV and gaming for numerous platforms both online and in print. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or forcing himself to go long-distance running.

  • manicm
    There was a video made about this. It's going to cheapen and degrade Dolby Atmos, as well as music itself.