Dolby Labs has been teasing us with Dolby Atmos Music for years. We’ve known for some time now that the surround-sound format used to create immersive movie soundtracks can also be used for music recordings, but being able to actually hear music recorded in Atmos has been very hard. Soon, however, that’s about to change in a big way. Dolby confirmed it partnered with Amazon to bring Atmos Music tracks to the company’s recently launched Amazon Music HD streaming service, which will mark the first time we’ll be able to stream Atmos Music online.
The partnership between Amazon and Dolby is about giving Amazon’s latest smart speaker, the Echo Studio, a big bang of a launch. The $199 Studio is not only designed to deliver 360-degree sound thanks to its cylindrical shape and speaker placement, but it’s also the first wireless smart speaker that works with so-called 3D digital music like Atmos Music and Sony 360.
There wouldn’t be much point in being compatible with Atmos Music if there were no way to access tracks that use the format, thus Atmos Music is making its streaming debut on Amazon Music HD. Just how big of a debut remains to be seen. Dolby continues to be somewhat vague about exactly how many Atmos Music tracks will be available at launch.
Instead, it’s pointing to previous promises by labels such as Universal Music Group to release “thousands” of Atmos Music tracks, both new and old, from such big names as Bastille, The Beatles, Billie Eilish, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Luciano Pavarotti, Marvin Gaye, and The Weeknd (a little something for all musical tastes it seems).
As exciting as it is to know that Atmos Music is finally about to get a wider release, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Other than Amazon Music HD, where will we be able to stream Atmos Music? Does Atmos Music come in different streaming qualities, like conventional stereo mixes, or does it automatically scale up and down depending on the speed of your connection and the device on which you’re listening? And, perhaps most importantly, which devices (other than the Echo Studio) will support Atmos Music when streamed?
We’ve reached out to Dolby Labs to get answers to all of these questions, and we’ll update this post as soon as we hear back.
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