A report suggests that Apple Music will look to pay artists differently, with an increased value on Spatial Audio content.

A leaked email, picked up by Digital Music News and reportedly confirmed by Bloomberg, suggests a big change on Apple Music. In the email, Apple Music reportedly stated that they plan to increase compensation for music with Spatial Audio support.

The report read: “Starting next year, the company plans to give added weighting to streams of songs that are mixed in Dolby Atmos technology.” For those out of the loop, Spatial Audio is a recently developed technology that creates a virtual 3D space within the audio. For example, it can replicate the effect of a drum far in-front and to the right of you whilst a guitar plays just left of you – and so on.

The email reportedly goes on to say: “To recognise the creative investment and value that high-quality spatial audio brings to both fans and artists, we will be making changes to how royalties are calculated. Plays of content available in spatial audio will receive a higher royalty value.

The policy will reportedly apply to all eligible content owners and distributors worldwide. It is unclear when the policy will take effect, but Apple says that it will be implemented in the coming months.

Why is Apple making this change?

There are a number of reasons why Apple is making this change. First, the company is hoping to encourage artists to release more Dolby Atmos mixes. Second, Apple is also hoping to attract new subscribers to its service who are interested in listening to Spatial Audio content. And third, Apple is also hoping to sell more hardware, such as its AirPods and HomePod speakers, which support Spatial Audio.

It follows the news in recent months that Spotify has plans to change how they distribute revenue to artists. Their news, however, was quite different and focused on removing revenue from fraud, demonetizing non-musical audio, and shifting lost cash from fractional streaming revenues.

Deezer has similarly explored a new approach to streaming royalties, again penalising non-musical content and looking to provide more value to artists who engage with fans on a deeper level. Their shift currently only applies to two of the major labels in France.