Apple Music launches spatial audio with Dolby Atmos and brings lossless audio to entire catalogue

Apple Music is set to launch spatial audio with Dolby Atmos in June, while also bringing lossless audio to its entire catalogue. The updates will be available to Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost.

Initially rumoured to be called Apple Music HiFi, the new offering means that thousands of tracks will be available in spatial audio with Dolby Atmos at launch, with more added regularly.

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. 

Apple Music and Dolby are aiming to make it easier for musicians, producers, and mix engineers to create songs in Dolby Atmos with initiatives that include doubling the number of Dolby-enabled studios in major markets, offering educational programs, and providing resources to independent artists.

Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, and composer Giles Martin said: “Since recording began, artists, producers, and engineers have tried to paint pictures with sound, transporting listeners to worlds they never knew existed, even when the sound came from a single speaker. Now with the dawn of immersive audio, we can take the music lover inside the music. 

“From the feeling of hearing your favorite artist in the same room as you, to the experience of sitting directly in the middle of a symphony orchestra, the listening experience is transformative and the possibilities for the creator are endless. This is a quantum leap in technology – I have so far had the pleasure of mixing some of the greatest artists in history in Dolby Atmos. 

“With this work I have found myself falling into albums I love. There is a unique experience of being able to fully immerse myself in music that, although is familiar, suddenly sounds new, fresh, and immediate. As a creator, it is beyond exciting that we can now share this incredible experience through Apple Music.”

As well as introducing Dolby Atmos support, Apple Music is making its catalogue of more than 75 million songs available in Lossless Audio so that listeners can hear exactly what was created in the studio.

Under Settings > Music > Audio Quality, subscribers can choose different bitrates, depending on their connection: CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz, and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz, or Hi-Resolution Lossless, which goes all the way up to 24 bit at 192 kHz.1.

“The soul and life of the mix is sitting in the extra bits of data that are stored in the lossless file,” said Producer Piper Payne. “As a mastering engineer, having the ability to convey the music to the listener at its highest quality is the end goal of what I work for every day.”