Music tracks encoded with Dolby’s immersive Atmos Music technology have recently started appearing on Tidal and other streaming services, but most come from artists backed by major labels. Now Dolby and Pro Tools developer Avid are making it easier for independent artists to encode and distribute Atmos Music. This makes it more likely that you’ll hear next-level immersive sound from smaller artists on your streaming service of choice.
The idea is that artists can sign up for a plan of AvidPlay, Avid’s music distribution platform that allows artists to stream and sell music on most major streaming services. (This service costs $25 for an annual plan, so the price isn’t outrageous.) You can then manage your distribution and share tracks with other artists using the Avid Link app.
You must create songs or albums using a Dolby Atmos-compatible digital audio workstation (DAW), such as Avid’s Pro Tools or Steinberg’s Nuendo. From there, you can upload music to the AvidPlay dashboard to manage tracks and albums and see how much you earn.
Dolby Atmos Music is mixed together so that vocals or instruments sound like they appear in different parts of a room. You can hear voices coming from the front, while instruments are coming from all around you, no matter how many speakers you have. This means “listeners can uncover hidden details and subtleties with unparalleled clarity,” according to Dolby.
This could help artists not only create more complex and interesting tracks, but also pique the interest of audiophiles looking for specific Atmos tracks. So far, you can only find Dolby Atmos Music on the high-end Tidal HiFi and Amazon HD tiers, which appeal to people looking for the best possible sound quality. If you’re one of those subscribers, you might soon be getting better audio quality from your favorite indie artists.
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