Apple Music’s Spatial Audio Push is Paying Off, Targeting Cars Next

Spatial Audio, Apple’s implementation of Dolby Atmos Music, is steadily growing on Apple Music, the company told Billboard as it shared some early results with the publication.

Most Apple Music subscribers have now experienced Spatial Audio at least once, with listeners increasing by 50% and plays of Spatial Audio tracks quadrupling since September of last year.

In the eight months since the feature was launched, the catalogue of tracks available in Spatial Audio on Apple Music has grown sevenfold.

Since the beginning of the year, 37% of the top 10 songs on Apple Music’s global Daily Top 100 songs chart have been available in Spatial Audio, as are 42% of the streaming service’s top 100 songs in the U.S. today. According to Apple, 40% of the biggest new releases on the platform since September have been available in Spatial Audio as well.

“This is the biggest priority in what we do because we believe in it, because we think this is better for the customer and is better for the creative industry,” Oliver Schusser, Apple’s Vice President of Apple Music and Beats, told Billboard.

Schusser said the streamer only had a few thousand songs available in Spatial Audio when the feature launched in June of last year, and the company went on a journey to convince everyone from producers and artists to its own listeners to adopt the immersive experience.

“We now have more than half of our worldwide Apple Music subscriber base listening in spatial audio and that number is actually growing really, really fast,” he added. “We would like the numbers to be higher, but they are definitely exceeding our expectations.”

Spatial Audio offers a much more immersive audio experience to listeners, complete with an expansive sound stage.

Apple also has a high-fidelity music playback option, Lossless Audio, which launched alongside Spatial Audio to compete with similar offerings from competitors like Spotify.  However, the company believes Spatial Audio, which has been hailed as a successor to stereo, appeals to a much wider audience than high-fidelity streaming.

“Everyone in the industry was really focused on Lossless,” sad Schusser. “We have every song in our catalogue available in Lossless to us delivered by the industry, but the challenge is it doesn’t play on any headphone in the world over Bluetooth or any wireless connection, and that is by a country mile the number one way how people consume music these days.”

Last year, Apple’s Senior Vice president of Services Eddy Cue said Spatial Audio is the future of music, not Lossless. Spatial Audio would be “a true game-changer” for the music industry, said Cue at the time.