Artists on Apple Music will earn a bonus payout of up to 10 percent in royalties for all songs that are also available in spatial audio. That’s according to an update sent to record label partners and seen by 9to5Mac. Quoted by Music Business Worldwide, it says that starting with January’s month-end payout, “pro-rata shares for Spatial Available plays will be calculated using a factor of 1.1 while Non-Spatial Available plays will continue to use a factor of 1.” Pro rata refers to the “one big pot” of pooled subscription money that’s divided based on the number of streams.
Bloomberg reported in December that Apple planned to offer financial incentives for musicians and record labels to release songs in the Dolby Atmos-supported format. Most new smartphones, tablets, and wireless earbuds have touted support of spatial audio as a selling point.
All of Apple’s new devices support spatial audio, across the lineup of AirPods, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and HomePod. Any iPhone XS or later (other than iPhone SE) can support the format, as can the most recent Samsung Galaxy and Pixel phones.
An increasing number of new songs released today are already available in both Dolby Atmos and stereo. According to the note from Apple Music, there’s been a 5,000 percent in songs available in spatial audio since the launch of the feature in 2021, but Apple didn’t give an exact figure about what that increase represents.
In addition to Apple Music’s growing catalog, spatial audio is also available on Tidal and Amazon Music Unlimited, as well as streaming video platforms like Netflix and HBO Max. Meanwhile, Spotify has yet to level up its audio offerings in a similar way. The Swedish company has promised a premium HiFi tier since 2021, but there’s still no release date.