Los Angeles, CA (May 17, 2021)—Apple introduced Spatial Audio this morning, bringing support for Dolby Atmos streaming at no extra cost to Apple Music subscribers — and less than an hour later, Amazon responding by making its Amazon Music HD catalog, including Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio tracks, available for free to eligible Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers.
Spatial Audio launches with “thousands of tracks” in Dolby Atmos, says Apple, and new songs in Dolby Atmos format will be constantly added to the catalog. According to the company, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as on built-in speakers on the latest versions of iPhone, iPad and Mac.
For content creators, Apple is also building immersive music-authoring tools directly into Logic Pro. Later this year, Apple says, it will release an update to Logic Pro that will enable users to create and mix songs for Spatial Audio compatible with Apple Music.
Over at Amazon, the company announced that Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Canada, France, Italy and Spain may now upgrade to Amazon Music HD, previously $5/month to Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers, at no additional charge.
The Amazon Music HD catalog represents over 70 million lossless tracks at CD-quality 44.1/16. Amazon has reportedly added more than five million songs to its Amazon Music Ultra HD catalog — offering tracks at 24 bits, 44.1 kHz to 192 kHz — since launching the streaming tier in 2019, including songs remixed in immersive formats such as Dolby Atmos and Sony 360RA.
Apple Music additionally announced today that it’s making its 75-million-song catalog available in lossless audio using ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec). Apple Music’s Lossless offerings, playable on any Apple device, are available in resolutions from 44.1 kHz/16-bit through 48 kHz/24-bit. For Hi-Resolution Lossless subscribers, music is available at resolutions up to 192 kHz/24-bit.
Because of the larger bandwidth requirements and file sizes, subscribers will need to opt-in to both Apple Music lossless tiers. Additional D-to-A converters are required for hi-res lossless listening.
Amazon forced competitors such as Deezer and Qobuz to lower the cost of their high-resolution streaming services to $14.99/month to match its new offering when the company launched Amazon Music HD in 2019. Tidal, the first company to get into high-res streaming, remains the exception and still charges subscribers $19.99/month for access to its Tidal HiFi service, which offers tracks in Dolby Atmos and Sony 360RA. Deezer HiFi and Nugs HiFi also offer Sony 360RA streaming.
Spotify, late to the high-res party, only announced in February a new Spotify HiFi tier that will offer “CD-quality, lossless” music. The launch date and monthly subscription cost have not been announced.
Apple • www.apple.com
Amazon • www.amazon.com