The launch of Apple’s iOS 15 software this week has brought with it some new features for Apple Music, including ‘dynamic headtracking’.
What’s that? A feature that reorients Apple’s spatial audio around the movements of the listener’s head, if they’re using the company’s AirPods Pro and AirPods Max ‘phones.
It’s another sign that Apple plans to make spatial audio a key selling point for its streaming service, as it continues to scrap for market share with Spotify, Amazon Music and other DSPs.
More than 40 million Apple Music listeners have already tried spatial audio on the service, with Apple having promoted the feature to them energetically since its launch earlier this year. Those listeners have generated billions of streams so far, according to Apple.
Calculating that as a percentage of overall Apple Music users isn’t simple, as there isn’t a recent official figure to use. Midia Research recently estimated that Apple Music had 77.9 million subscribers at the end of Q1 this year though, so it’s fair to say a significant proportion have tried the feature.
More than a quarter of the biggest new releases on Apple Music in August were available in the format, and the company’s figures show that plays of spatial audio tracks grew 20 times faster than ‘compressed audio’ plays that month – although clearly this is starting from a smaller base.
The US, Japan and UK are the top three markets for spatial audio streams on Apple Music, while the three fastest-growing markets are Japan, Russia and Mexico.