Apple embraces Dolby Atmos as it brings Spatial Audio to Apple Music, and Lossless Audio is coming, too

Apple Music Spatial and Lossless Audio
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has announced some big sonic upgrades for its Apple Music service, adding Spatial Audio - which offers support for Dolby Atmos - and Lossless Audio to the platform. These will all be coming in June 2021, and at no extra cost to subscribers.

Dolby Atmos is rapidly gaining traction in the audio industry - this immersive audio technology enables artists to mix music so that, with the right hardware, their listeners can hear it coming from all around them.

Apple’s Spatial Audio tech supports this format; by default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

At launch, “thousands” of Spatial Audio tracks will be available, and Apple says that it’s working with artists and labels to add more new and archive releases. All Dolby Atmos tracks will be labelled, and there will be dedicated Dolby Atmos playlists.

For many Apple Music subscribers, the support for Lossless Audio will be equally important - all 75 million of the service’s tracks will be available at this “hi-res” quality. These are encoded using ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec).

Listeners will be able to choose from three quality tiers: 16-bit/44.1kHz (CD-quality); 24-bit/48kHz; and 24-bit/192kHz.

Find out more on the Apple website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine