The future of how we listen to music looks increasingly likely to be in immersive audio, after a report from Dolby claimed a growing increase in the amount of big names offering their music in its Atmos format.
As reported by musicallyduring a company financial earnings call (opens in new tab) earlier this week, Dolby CEO Kevin Yeaman revealed to investors, “We have two-thirds of Billboard’s top 100 artists who have one or more songs available on Dolby Atmos.”
Yeoman also highlighted how Atmos was starting to be adopted in live music situations, highlighting R’n’B star Usher’s recent residency at the MGM Las Vegas venue, which featured 3D audio mixes.
A quick look at the latest album chart seems to confirm Yeaman’s claim. New albums from big names like Harry Styles, Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion have all been released on Dolby Atmos in recent weeks, indicating that multi-channel mixes could be on their way to becoming the norm for major labels.
Apple Music last year became the latest major streaming service to offer a sizable library of classic and new music in Dolby Atmos, following in the footsteps of rivals Amazon Music and Tidal, which also offer select releases in high-res multi-channel format. .
The news from Dolby came as the music streaming service Qobuz announced that it had teamed up with THX to offer tracks in the company’s new 24-bit THX Spatial Audio format.
Three tracks featuring THX Spatial Audio by Circuit des Yeux, Dinosaur Jr and Anat Cohen have been released so far on the service, with the special 3D audio mixes aiming to give listeners the impression of being in the same space as the artists.
According to Qobuz, no specific pair of headphones is needed to experience the tracks on THX Spatial Audio, with all three songs available now to subscribers (opens in new tab).
Analysis: The time for immersive audio may finally have arrived
Though dismissed by many Hi-Fi bosses as a gimmick, the rise of 3D audio now seems undeniable.
Apple Music’s move last year to start offering a large library on its Spatial audio music streaming format seems to have opened the floodgates.
No longer just an exercise in breathing new life into classic albums by traditional artists, it is now becoming uncommon for new albums from major contemporary labels to not be available to stream on Atmos, with an increasing number of artists also offering one-off recordings. specially made for surround sound.
Adoption of the format has been helped by Apple with its support for Spatial Audio on much of its hardware, including AirPods and iPhones, while a recent update to its industry-standard Logic Audio recording software has made rendering mixes in Atmos for producers very easier subject.
Spotify remains a supporter of 3D audio, but with most of its rivals now offering Atmos (the main Chinese streaming service QQ Music started offering music in the immersive audio format last month) and the growing interest in immersive music of artists and audiences, the world’s leading music platform may soon need to change its tune.