The future of how we listen to music seems increasingly likely in immersive audio, after a report from Dolby claimed there has been a growing increase in the number of big names offering their music in the Atmos format.
As reported by Music Allyduring a conversation about the company’s financial income (opens in new tab) Earlier this week, Dolby CEO Kevin Yeaman revealed to investors, “We have two-thirds of the top 100 Billboard artists who have one or more songs available in Dolby Atmos,”
Yeoman also highlighted how Atmos was now also being adopted into 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 listing seems to support Yeaman’s claim. New albums from big names like Harry Styles, Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion have all been released in Dolby Atmos in recent weeks, indicating that multi-channel mixing is well on its way to becoming the norm for major label acts.
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, who also offer select releases in the hi-res, multi-channel format.
The news of Dolby came when high-end music streaming service Qobuz announced that they were partnering with THX to offer songs in the company’s new 24-bit THX Spatial Audio format.
Three tracks featuring THX Spatial Audio from Circuit des Yeux, Dinosaur Jr and Anat Cohen have been released on the service so far, with the special 3D audio mixes intended to give listeners the impression that they are in the same room as the performers .
According to Qobuz, no specific headphones are needed to experience the tracks in THX Spatial Audio, with all three songs now available to subscribers (opens in new tab).
Analysis: the time of immersive audio may have finally come
While many hi-fi heads dismiss it as a gimmick, the rise of 3D audio now seems undeniable.
Apple Music’s move last year to offer a comprehensive in-house library Spatial layout for audio music streaming seems to have opened the floodgates.
No longer just an exercise in breathing new life into classic albums through heritage acts, it is now becoming unusual for new albums from today’s major label acts not to be available to stream in Atmos, with a growing number of artists now also offering one-off recordings made especially for surround sound.
The format’s adoption has been further aided by Apple’s support for Spatial Audio on many 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 a lot easier for producers. .
Spotify remains a 3D audio holdout, but with most of its rivals now offering Atmos (leading Chinese streaming service QQ Music started offering music in the immersive audio format last month), and interest in immersive music from artists and audiences alike, the world’s leading music platform may soon have to change its tune.