Exclusive: Apple Music Is Now Offering ‘A Higher Royalty Value’ for ‘Content Available in Spatial Audio,’ Leaked Email Shows

apple music spatial audio royalties
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apple music spatial audio royalties
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Apple Music is offering bolstered royalty payments for works available in spatial audio, according to a leaked email. Photo Credit: Auguras Pipiras

It turns out Deezer’s not alone in dramatically retooling its royalty framework, as Apple Music is now contacting uploaders about “a higher royalty value” for works available in spatial audio.

According to an official email sent by Apple Music and shared with Digital Music News, the streaming service is currently informing various parties – presumably including distributors, IP owners, and possibly others yet – about the increased compensation for music that supports spatial audio listening.

While details concerning precisely which markets are involved and exactly who’s receiving the message should emerge down the line, Apple Music hadn’t commented publicly on the matter at the time of this writing. However, the language used in the correspondence appears to suggest that the heightened royalties will reach all eligible content owners and distributors globally.

“To recognize the creative investment and value that high-quality Spatial Audio brings to both fans and artists,” reads the email that Apple Music has sent out, “we will be making changes to how royalties are calculated. Plays of content available in Spatial Audio will receive a higher royalty value.”

The remainder of the brief notification prompts recipients to “please review and accept the new agreement for each applicable territory,” with “The Apple Music Team” available to answer “any questions” on the topic. Though the text doesn’t contain information about the “higher royalty value” itself, it does indicate that “Apple Music financial reports have been updated to reflect these changes.”

Bigger picture, the clear-cut incentive to release music in spatial audio has entered the media spotlight not only as Deezer’s preparing to implement an “artist-centric” model in France, but ahead of the quick-approaching 2024 launch of the Vision Pro headset.

The Super Bowl Halftime Show sponsor Apple Music will, of course, be part of the forthcoming product, which Apple claims will boast its “most advanced Spatial Audio system ever.” Additionally, Cupertino-based Apple has made a number of smaller-scale investments in spatial audio in recent months and years, and according to execs, 80 percent of Apple Music’s “worldwide subscribers” listened in the format during 2022.

Furthermore, time will tell whether streaming services besides Deezer and Apple Music are also planning to explore across-the-board royalty pivots for certain works. Amazon Music has invested in multiple spatial audio exclusives of its own, whereas Spotify is reportedly poised to debut a Supremium tier with, among other things, high-fidelity audio.