Apple Music to pay artists 10% higher royalties for tracks in Spatial Audio

The change takes effect starting with January’s month-end payout.

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Apple Music has announced that it will now pay artists a royalty rate of up to 10% higher for tracks that are available in Spatial Audio format.

In a letter sent out to its label partners on Monday (22 January) [as reported by Music Business News], the streaming service confirms that starting with January’s month-end payout, “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.”

“This change is not only meant to reward higher quality content, but also to ensure that artists are being compensated for the time and investment they put into mixing in Spatial.”

Apple also claims that it is seeing “wide adoption of Spatial from the biggest hitmakers worldwide,” and that more than 90 percent of Apple Music subscribers have listened to a song in the format. Plays for music available in Spatial Audio have also more than tripled in the last two years.

The move follows a recent Bloomberg report announcing Apple’s plans to “give added weighting” to streams of songs mixed in Dolby Atmos technology. Crucially, users don’t need to listen to the Atmos version of the song for artists to earn the bonus payout. What’s key is that the song is made available in that particular format. The Cupertino giant hopes that the new policy will motivate artists and labels to record and mix music in Dolby Atmos, even for previously released tracks.

Spatial audio made its debut on Apple Music back in 2021. Available at zero extra cost for subscribers, the format is supported by technology from Dolby Atmos, and strives to replicate the immersive, surround-sound quality of in-person music experiences.

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