Apple Music has announced that, from June, users will get Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio at no extra cost, giving a big boost to sound quality.
Apple Music has announced that subscribers will get access to Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio from June at no extra cost. The move is described as Apple Music’s “biggest advancement ever in sound quality” by Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats. It is a further reflection of the intensifying competition between Apple Music and Spotify.
Launched in 2006, Spotify remains the leading audio platform worldwide by some distance, with over 158 million subscribers and 356 million monthly active users listening to a library of over 70 million tracks and over 2.6 million podcasts. Apple Music launched nearly a decade later than Spotify in 2015, but it’s growing quickly and catching up with the Swedish platform. It’s thought to have north of 72 million users and now has slightly more tracks in its library than Spotify. Both platforms have seen updates and new features rolled out in recent weeks and months, as Apple and Spotify each seek to offer the best they can attract and retain subscribers.
Apple’s announcement says the update will deliver “industry-leading sound quality.” Spatial Audio, which was introduced towards the end of last year, has the effect of making it sound like audio is coming from all around the listener, with accelerometers in Apple’s AirPods range able to track head movement and adjust the sound accordingly. Lossless Audio, meanwhile, will be available on Apple’s full library of over 75 million songs and means that users will be able to listen to them in near-original quality.
How To Use Apple Music Spatial Audio & Lossless Audio
The intention of Spatial Audio is to provide a more immersive listening experience to the user than without. Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos-mastered tracks on compatible AirPods and Beats headphones (those with an H1 or W1 chip) and on the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple doesn’t give a figure for how many Dolby Atmos tracks are available, but says there will be a badge to distinguish them on album pages, that it will provide curated Dolby Atmos playlists, and that more such tracks will be continually added.
Users can choose when Apple Music should play tracks in Lossless Audio quality. Naturally, being higher quality, it uses more data, so listeners may want to be circumspect about how they use the feature. For those with large or unlimited smartphone data plans, this may be no problem, while others may be better placed using Lossless Audio only when connected to Wi-Fi. To choose their options, users should navigate to Settings > Music > Audio Quality. Once there, they can set different listening qualities for different connection types.
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