Apple Music is taking a significant step to encourage artists to embrace Spatial Audio by introducing a financial incentive. Spatial Audio provides an immersive surround sound experience, especially effective when listening with Apple’s high-end headphones like AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. Under this new initiative, Apple will pay artists up to 10% more per play in royalties for tracks where a spatial version is available. Importantly, this change is applied retroactively, starting with payouts from January.
The unique aspect of Apple’s approach is that users do not necessarily have to listen in Spatial Audio for the artist to receive the bonus payout. The metric used for calculating the bonus is based on the proportion of Spatial Available to Non-Spatial Available plays. This means that if an artist makes all their music available in spatial, even if users don’t actively listen to the spatial version, they will still receive the 10% royalty bonus. Apple is essentially rewarding artists for delivering higher-quality content and compensating them for the additional time and effort required to mix in Dolby Atmos, the technology behind Spatial Audio.
Apple Music’s move comes as part of a broader strategy to promote the adoption of Spatial Audio in its catalog. The company reports that over 90% of its subscribers have experimented with listening to a song in Spatial Audio. Additionally, the total number of Spatial Audio plays has more than tripled in the last two years. Even before the introduction of financial incentives, the number of songs available in Spatial Audio has increased dramatically since the feature’s launch in 2021, with a nearly 5000% growth. This number doubled in the last year alone, showcasing the growing popularity of immersive audio experiences among Apple Music users.
The 10% bonus in royalties is seen as a dual-purpose strategy by Apple – a reward for artists delivering higher-quality content and compensation recognizing the additional time and effort required to create music in Dolby Atmos. As the music streaming landscape continues to evolve, Apple is making strategic moves to distinguish its platform by offering exclusive features like Spatial Audio, attracting both artists and subscribers. This financial incentive aligns with Apple’s broader commitment to fostering a richer, more immersive audio experience for its users, thereby differentiating itself in a highly competitive market.
In summary, Apple Music’s decision to introduce a financial incentive for Spatial Audio represents a forward-thinking approach to enhance its platform’s content quality and attract artists. By offering increased royalties for tracks available in Spatial Audio, Apple aims to accelerate the adoption of this immersive audio technology. The retroactive nature of the incentive demonstrates Apple’s commitment to rewarding artists for their contribution to Spatial Audio, even if users do not actively engage with the feature. This move aligns with broader industry trends focusing on audio quality and unique features to capture the attention of music enthusiasts in a highly competitive streaming landscape.