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THINGS TO KNOW

Apple Launches New Spatial, Lossless Audio Experiences

May 18, 2021

Leading into 2021 and throughout the first quarter, you may have begun to hear a buzz about new listening options coming to the Apple Music platform. For sure, the rumors became a reality as this May, Apple announced an immersive listening experience with Spatial Audio through Dolby Atmos and bringing Lossless Audio options to its existing/ongoing catalog.

In the initial press release, V.P. of Apple Music/Beats’ Oliver Schusser stated, “Apple Music is making its biggest advancement ever in sound quality—Apple Music as we know it is about to change forever.” Coming from the world’s largest streaming service, those are huge claims, but we actually began to see some pretty quick movement. Apple touted that Spatial Audio would immediately be available from artists such as J Balvin, Gustavo Dudamel, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Kacey Musgraves, and The Weeknd—which was true—but not long after the worldwide announcement, Apple queried us directly about our catalog.

Syntax Creative is now fully equipped to accept and distribute files delivered in Dolby Atmos. So, how do you get started?

Specs for Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos | “Dolby Atmos goes beyond conventional channel-based audio limitations, allowing you to place and move elements of a song (aka ‘objects’) in a three-dimensional space,” as explained in Apple Music for Artists. Additionally, they provided this introductory mixing flow chart, of sorts:

Apple Music, Dolby Atmos, spatial audio, streaming, Syntax Creative - image

To get more into the technical aspects of creating Spatial Audio tracks, please CLICK HERE to get the step-by-step overview and Dolby production tools via Dolby.com. Apple’s help desk has also provided this guide for further specs into the Immersive Audio Source Profile. Our contacts at Apple also suggested this introductory “course” on working with and creating audio in Dolby Atmos.

Lossless Audio | Also going into effect immediately is the availability of a new listener experience through Lossless Audio. According to Apple, it uses “ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) to preserve every single bit of the original audio file—[meaning] Apple Music subscribers will be able to hear the exact same thing that the artists created in the studio.”

Apple Music, lossless audio, streaming, Syntax Creative - image

For consumers, it’s a simple thumb-flick, or two from within their settings preferences (“Settings > Music > Audio Quality,” to be exact) from being able to enjoy Lossless Audio right away. According to the release, this ability instantly spans Apple’s entire 75 million-song catalog. From what we understand, the type of Lossless quality available at any given time could depend on the user’s settings (as mentioned), the type of device, and current connectivity (Wi-Fi, cellular, etc.), or at which rate a track was downloaded. In other words, the quality is not a 100-percent guarantee, 100-percent of the time.

As you’re now aware of these new and exciting audio options, perhaps this could provide a way to energize some of the higher-performing parts of your back catalog? We look forward to working alongside of you if updating any identified catalog priorities are a good fit for upgrading to Dolby Atmos.

KEVIN SPARKMAN

VP of Communications and Marketing at Syntax Creative.