Music tracks encoded with Dolby’s immersive Atmos Music tech recently started appearing on Tidal and other streaming services, but most are 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. That makes it more likely you’ll get to hear next-level immersive audio from smaller artists on your streaming service of choice.
The idea is that artists can sign up to a plan from AvidPlay, Avid’s music distribution platform that allows artists to stream and sell music on most major streaming services. (That service costs $25 for an annual plan, so the price isn’t exorbitant.) You can then manage your distribution and share tracks with other artists using the Avid Link app.
You need to create songs or albums using a Dolby Atmos-compatible digital audio workstation (DAW), like 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’re earning.
Dolby Atmos Music is mixed so that vocals or instruments sound like they're appearing in different parts of a room. You might hear the vocals coming from the front, while the instruments are coming from all around you, no matter how many speakers you have. That means "listeners can discover hidden details and subtleties with unparalleled clarity," according to Dolby.
That could help artists not only create more complex and interesting tracks, but grab the interest of audiophiles specifically seeking Atmos tracks. So far, you can only find Dolby Atmos Music on the high-end Tidal HiFi and Amazon HD tiers, which attract folks who want the best possible sound quality. If you’re one of those subscribers, you might soon get better audio quality from your favorite indie artists.