Apple are encouraging artists to upload their tracks in spatial audio with higher remuneration from their streams – but why?

Last month, a leaked email suggested that Apple were to begin encouraging the upload of spatial audio music. It was suggested that they would offer higher royalties to promote the upload of songs mixed with Dolby Atmos.

New reports seem to confirm the news, suggesting that Apple will pay up to 10% more for spatial audio music. In fact, it’s suggested that the increase on spatial pay-outs will begin in January. The news comes from an update sent to label partners.

It seems that listeners won’t even need to listen to spatial audio for artists to receive the bonus payout. They are basing the revenues on the proportion of Spatial Available content they have to Non-Spatial available content. So as long as an artist’s content is available in a spatial audio mix like Dolby Atmos mastering, they will receive a bonus regardless of if listeners are just listening to the regular audio version.

According to Apple, more than 90% of subscribers have tried listening to a song in spatial audio. They add that plays of spatial audio tracks have tripled in the last two years.

Why do Apple want more spatial audio?

As we covered earlier this month, there are a couple of reasons why Apple might be encouraging spatial audio on their music streaming service. It’s worth noting that there is no confirmation on their reasoning just yet.

Firstly, the big music streaming services are all competing to be better than the others. Spotify have been exploring audiobooks and putting an emphasis on podcasts to separate themselves from the crowd. Apple may be looking to distinguish their service from Spotify’s by offering spatial audio as an exclusive bonus – although Tidal and Amazon Music Unlimited both offer it.

Another likely reason, is that Apple have just launched the Apple Vision Pro. This augmented reality headset offers an immersive experience that is bolstered by spatial audio. By encouraging artists to upload in spatial audio, they’re offering a lot more to those who are willing to spend thousands on the Vision Pro.

Spatial audio experiences on Apple Music allow users to enjoy an immersive music listening experience on top of their immersive visual experience.