Apple Music gets Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio upgrade

posted on Monday, 17th May 2021 by Steve May

Dolby Atmos  Streaming  High Res Audio 

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Apple Music subscribers are getting an upgrade to Lossless Audio and Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos. Both new features will be available to subscribers starting next month at no additional cost.

By default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple says it will add Dolby Atmos tracks ‘constantly’ and will be curating a special set of Dolby Atmos playlists to help listeners find the music they love. Dolby Atmos will have a badge on the detail page for easy discovery.

The adoption of Dolby Atmos by Apple effectively cements Atmos as the default 3D standard for music.

“Today marks the introduction of Dolby Atmos on Apple Music — a new music experience that is transforming how music is created by artists and enjoyed by their fans,” said Kevin Yeaman, Dolby Laboratories’ president and CEO. “We are working with Apple Music to make Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos widely available to all musicians and anyone who loves music.”

Alexandre Jornod, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting, says Apple’s price point will have “huge implications for the market as up until now, these streaming plans have always been more expensive, ranging from $12.99/month to $19.99/month depending on the plan and service.” Pricing remains one of the main barriers of adoption of lossless streaming, says Jornod, so Apple removing this barrier would make high-quality streaming become the new norm within the mass-market.

Long-time Atmos advocate and Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, and composer Giles Martin said: “Since recording began, artists, producers, and engineers have tried to paint pictures with sound, transporting listeners to worlds they never knew existed, even when the sound came from a single speaker. Now with the dawn of immersive audio, we can take the music lover inside the music. From the feeling of hearing your favorite artist in the same room as you, to the experience of sitting directly in the middle of a symphony orchestra, the listening experience is transformative and the possibilities for the creator are endless. This is a quantum leap in technology – I have so far had the pleasure of mixing some of the greatest artists in history in Dolby Atmos. With this work I have found myself falling into albums I love. There is a unique experience of being able to fully immerse myself in music that, although is familiar, suddenly sounds new, fresh, and immediate. As a creator, it is beyond exciting that we can now share this incredible experience through Apple Music.”

Apple Music says it will make its entire catalogue of more than 75 million songs available in ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec).
“Apple Music is making its biggest advancement ever in sound quality,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats. “Listening to a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic. The music comes from all around you and sounds incredible. Now we are bringing this truly innovative and immersive experience to our listeners with music from their favorite artists like J Balvin, Gustavo Dudamel, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Kacey Musgraves, The Weeknd, and so many more. Subscribers will also be able to listen to their music in the highest audio quality with Lossless Audio. Apple Music as we know it is about to change forever.”

To start listening to Lossless Audio, subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music can turn it on in Settings > Music > Audio Quality.
Apple Music’s Lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz), and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is playable natively on Apple devices. For the true audiophile, Apple Music also offers Hi-Resolution Lossless all the way up to 24 bit 192 kHz.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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