Apple says Spatial Audio is a hit, drawing more listeners to Apple Music

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Apple Music executives say that more than half of its subscribers are listening in Spatial Audio.




Apple's Spatial Audio feature of Apple Music was launched in late June 2021, after its announcement at WWDC, and brings a more immersive sound to the service. Now Apple executives have been sharing selected statistics, and talking about how Spatial Audio is being appreciated by listeners.

According to Billboard, Apple says that record labels which remaster in Spatial Audio are seeing large increases in the number of listens.

For example, "The Weeknd" re-released the 2016 album "Starboy" in Spatial Audio, and first-time listeners increased by 20%. That's over the eight weeks following launch, compared to the eight weeks before it.

Using the same measure, Billie Eilish saw the same growth for her "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go." Post Malone's "Hollywood's Bleeding" had 40% more listens, and Taylor Swift's "Lover" gained 50% more.

Apple says that the increases are not confined to relatively recent music, either. "Here Comes the Sun," by "The Beatles," increased its first-time listeners by 50%. Then 40% of those listeners went on to play more music by the band.

"We're seeing huge uptick in artists' back catalog off the basis of them re-engaging their fans with a new way of listening to the music," Rachel Newman, Apple Music's global head of editorial and content, told Billboard. "Part of the key has just been making sure that [Spatial Audio is] highly accessible for all kinds of artists at all different levels."

Apple sees Spatial Audio as a differentiator between Apple Music and its rivals, and more so than it does Lossless music. Every song in the Apple Music library is now available in Lossless, but Apple's Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music and Beats, says it's necessarily a niche.

"[The] challenge is it doesn't play on any headphone in the world over Bluetooth or any wireless connection," he said, "and that is by a country mile the number one way how people consume music these days."

"And so," continues Schusser, "we went out and said we would like to have a feature for the mass market that works on pretty much every device and where people notice a difference."

"We now have more than half of our worldwide Apple Music subscriber base listening in spatial audio and that number is actually growing really, really fast," he adds. "We would like the numbers to be higher, but they are definitely exceeding our expectations."

Apple has not released precise figures for how many tracks are available in Spatial Audio. However, according to Billboard, the feature launched with a few thousand tracks, and has since grown sevenfold.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12

    My hearing is like a brick wall, deaf tone; yet, for the barb of the pirate, I do not go anywhere without my iPad pro, the spatial sound is like having a concert hall on my hand. No stereo, no quad…, simply pure sound. Jaayyyzzzuuuzzz

    iOS_Guy80XedBosawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Just got my AirPods 2! Thanks AI for the sale link!

    I have an iPhone 7. Will I be able to use Spatial Audio?

    UPDATE:
    NO. You need AirPods 3 or Pro. I like the original form factor so I have no regrets. My OCD won’t let me try the new form factor without trying the originals.

    Maybe in a year when there’s a deal on a newer AirPods model I will purchase and try Spatial Audio.

    I’m just stoked to try AirPods for the first time!!
    edited February 15 iyfcalvinronnviclauyycpatchythepirateiOS_Guy80watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Beats said:
    Just got my AirPods 2! Thanks AI for the sale link!

    I have an iPhone 7. Will I be able to use Spatial Audio?

    UPDATE:
    NO. You need AirPods 3 or Pro. I like the original form factor so I have no regrets. My OCD won’t let me try the new form factor without trying the originals.

    Maybe in a year when there’s a deal on a newer AirPods model I will purchase and try Spatial Audio.

    I’m just stoked to try AirPods for the first time!!
    Enjoy them, they are wonderful in all forms. Highly recommend the Pro version though; the noise cancellation is amazing especially for commutes. And yes the spatial is also fantastic. Cheers. 
    BeatsiOS_Guy80appleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    I wish there was a way to keep up with what was now available in spatial. For instance Moving Pictures by Rush only had two tracks converted from the initial launch. I then realised the other day that the whole album has now been converted. Would be good to have a section with full listings not just the latest releases. Some Beethoven by Rattle has also landed. I suppose it’s fun in a way to find this stuff out.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,649member
    For example, "The Weeknd" re-released the 2016 album "Starboy" in Spatial Audio, and first-time listeners increased by 20%. That's over the eight weeks following launch, compared to the eight weeks before it.

    "We now have more than half of our worldwide Apple Music subscriber base listening in spatial audio and that number is actually growing really, really fast," he adds. "We would like the numbers to be higher, but they are definitely exceeding our expectations."

    Nothing to do with them having an album specifically for Spatial Audio then? It's on by default, so of course the numbers are going to be good, but thats different to people seeking out and switching on spatial audio. It's a nice-to-have imo, and it's technically impressive, but it works better on some songs than others and I've not seen anything about it since the initial launch buzz. I don't think it's really something that will draw people to Apple Music, better algorithms would do that.

    I'm so bored of the music AM suggests in my favourites, and the new music is full of rap junk that I perpetually hit dislike on but AM insists on forcing upon me. There's little doubt that Spotify's algorithm is much better. Some days AM is spot on, and it's great when it is, but too often its miles off. 
    edited February 15 Japheymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Personally, when the spatial audio songs were released, I went out of my way to sample some of the songs to experience the hype myself.  I have AirPod Pro’s on a new iPhone 13 Pro Max. My business background was 30 years in the record industry.
     I liked what I heard but found the feature only subtly unique. I was more impressed back in the 70s when the Quadrophonic Sound feature was debuted, but even then tired of it quickly.  Was the new feature a game breaker for me to listen to music?  Not at all. My preferences for music listening is recording and playback quality first.  Frankly, I actually cancelled my iTunes subscription after that. 
    viclauyycbaconstangmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 12
    iyfcalvin said:
    Personally, when the spatial audio songs were released, I went out of my way to sample some of the songs to experience the hype myself.  I have AirPod Pro’s on a new iPhone 13 Pro Max. My business background was 30 years in the record industry.
     I liked what I heard but found the feature only subtly unique. I was more impressed back in the 70s when the Quadrophonic Sound feature was debuted, but even then tired of it quickly.  Was the new feature a game breaker for me to listen to music?  Not at all. My preferences for music listening is recording and playback quality first.  Frankly, I actually cancelled my iTunes subscription after that. 
    With my Dolby atmos (5.2.2) setup I could really hear the difference, with my headphones I couldn’t.  I think you need discrete channels to really hear the difference. 
    Alex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    elijahg said:
    For example, "The Weeknd" re-released the 2016 album "Starboy" in Spatial Audio, and first-time listeners increased by 20%. That's over the eight weeks following launch, compared to the eight weeks before it.

    "We now have more than half of our worldwide Apple Music subscriber base listening in spatial audio and that number is actually growing really, really fast," he adds. "We would like the numbers to be higher, but they are definitely exceeding our expectations."

    Nothing to do with them having an album specifically for Spatial Audio then? It's on by default, so of course the numbers are going to be good, but thats different to people seeking out and switching on spatial audio. It's a nice-to-have imo, and it's technically impressive, but it works better on some songs than others and I've not seen anything about it since the initial launch buzz. I don't think it's really something that will draw people to Apple Music, better algorithms would do that.

    I'm so bored of the music AM suggests in my favourites, and the new music is full of rap junk that I perpetually hit dislike on but AM insists on forcing upon me. There's little doubt that Spotify's algorithm is much better. Some days AM is spot on, and it's great when it is, but too often its miles off. 
    They compared the number of listens for each of these albums 8 weeks before and 8 weeks after the spacial release. The increase is definitely the reason because these records are not new releases. Their listens have long settled out. 
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Beats said:
    Just got my AirPods 2! Thanks AI for the sale link!

    I have an iPhone 7. Will I be able to use Spatial Audio?

    UPDATE:
    NO. You need AirPods 3 or Pro. I like the original form factor so I have no regrets. My OCD won’t let me try the new form factor without trying the originals.

    Maybe in a year when there’s a deal on a newer AirPods model I will purchase and try Spatial Audio.

    I’m just stoked to try AirPods for the first time!!
    Enjoy them, they are wonderful in all forms. Highly recommend the Pro version though; the noise cancellation is amazing especially for commutes. And yes the spatial is also fantastic. Cheers. 
    I can confirm the noise cancellation on the pros is very good, better than the beats fit pro I replaced them with. If anyone's deciding between these two, I'd go with the airpod pros.
    Japheywatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Beats said:
    Just got my AirPods 2! Thanks AI for the sale link!

    I have an iPhone 7. Will I be able to use Spatial Audio?

    UPDATE:
    NO. You need AirPods 3 or Pro. I like the original form factor so I have no regrets. My OCD won’t let me try the new form factor without trying the originals.

    Maybe in a year when there’s a deal on a newer AirPods model I will purchase and try Spatial Audio.

    I’m just stoked to try AirPods for the first time!!
    Enjoy them, they are wonderful in all forms. Highly recommend the Pro version though; the noise cancellation is amazing especially for commutes. And yes the spatial is also fantastic. Cheers. 
    I can confirm the noise cancellation on the pros is very good, better than the beats fit pro I replaced them with. If anyone's deciding between these two, I'd go with the airpod pros.
    Spatial Audio while watching Apple TV+ content is also amazing.
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    I just wish Apple made a feature that would tell me - hey, these songs in your library were upgraded - to lossless or spatial audio. Do you want to re-download them? Apple know exactly what songs I have added from Apple Music to my library. They know when I downloaded them - what file version/format it was… i don’t want to spend months checking song by song if there is an upgrade…
    appleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    Question. I tried Apple, tried AppleInsider… To play Dolby Atmos on my ‘hifi’ set how will I get it to play? Is AirPlay capable to stream it or is the bandwidth limited and as such you won’t be able? My Yamaha set has AirPlay. I know I can play it via AppleTV but I’ll need to turn projector on otherwise I can’t see what I’m doing so that’s a pity. I have a iPhone 13 pro. I used a Schiit DAC but almost all DAC’s are two channel stereo. Your help is much appreciated. 
    watto_cobra
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