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Apple Music announces higher royalties for music in spatial audio

Apple Music has announced it will pay artists higher royalties for music made available in spatial audio.

Starting in January, artists can receive a 10% higher royalty rate for spatial audio music. ‘Spatial audio’ is essentially defined as virtual surround sound, and was made available in June 2021 at no additional cost.

It follows a Bloomberg Report in December that the company were planning to “give added weighting to streams of songs” mixed in Dolby Atmos (spatial audio is created through technology from Dolby Atmos). Listeners will not have to listen to the spatial audio tracks in order for artists to receive the increased royalties.

Apple Music said the higher royalties are “not only meant to reward higher quality content, but also to ensure that artists are being compensated for the time and investment they put into mixing in Spatial.”

Apple Music CREDIT: Chesnot/Getty Images

Bloomberg theorised that the move to reward artists for using spatial audio was to encourage them to purchase Apple hardware. iPhones, AirPods, MacBooks and more all support Dolby Atmos and spatial audio.

Furthermore, it may also be a means of edging out the competition; whilst Amazon Music offers songs in spatial audio, Spotify currently does not.

However, it was reported in October that the streaming platform are planning to release a ‘Supremium’ tier, which would feature lossless audio (which is given to Apple Music listeners for free).

Apple recently drew the ire of Spotify for their proposed changes to transaction fees, which Spotify called “outrageous”. Under the new plans, Apple will charge up to 27 per cent commission on app developers selling products away from the Apple Store. Spotify accused the company of “stopping at nothing” to protect profits, and called for the UK government to take action to prevent the same situation happening in the UK.

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