Adding Spatial Audio earns musicians more money


Apple Spatial Audio technology
Spatial Audio puts users in the middle of their music.
Image: Apple

Apple Music reportedly will pay artists 10% more for tracks that use Spatial Audio, which offers a surround sound-like experience without requiring additional speakers.

Theoretically, more music that offers Spatial Audio should persuade more consumers to buy Apple products that support the feature.

Spatial Audio is brilliant … and pays better

The technology used by Spatial Audio subtly modifies songs so that it seems to come from all around the listener — and even from above. It makes your music “feel like you’re inside of it,” Apple says.

There are already many tracks in Apple Music with the tech — check out Apple’s “Made for Spatial Audio” playlist. And the audio format likely will become more widespread now that Apple will pay artists and record labels more for it.

A notice from Apple on Monday says that in January royalty payments, “pro-rata shares for Spatial Available plays will be calculated using a factor of 1.1 while Non-Spatial Available plays will continue to use a factor of 1,” reports Music Business Worldwide.

This confirms a leak from December that indicated Apple planned to offer financial incentives for songs using the tech.

Get the necessary tech

A wide variety of Apple devices support Spatial Audio, including AirPods Pro (all versions), AirPods Max, AirPods 3 (but not earlier models), Beats Fit Pro and Beats Studio Pro.

Also on the list are the built-in speakers on iPhone 7 models and later plus all recent iPad models, including Pro and Air. Any MacBook with Apple silicon supports Spatial Audio, too.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.