Music streaming service Tidal has partnered with Dolby to bring Dolby Atmos Music tracks to its Tidal HiFi tier. This makes Tidal the second music service to support the high-end format. For now, support is limited to certain Android devices.
Consumers may know Dolby Atmos as a surround-sound audio format for movies, which is being supported by an increasing number of high-end sound bars and home theater systems. However, the format can also be used to stream music, with Dolby promising a higher level of immersion thanks to the ability to render sounds spatially in real-time, customized for a consumer’s specific audio setup.
Some of the music available to Tidal Hi-Fi subscribers include tracks from The Weeknd, Blondie and Ariana Grande. Tidal said Thursday that Jay-Z and other artists with ownership stakes in the streaming service were working with Dolby to release their music catalog in Dolby Atmos next year.
There’s no word on how many tracks are available in Dolby Atmos thus far. Dolby has struck deals with Warner Music and Universal Music to release some of the labels’ catalog with Dolby Atmos. Sony is pushing a separate 3-D audio format, which is why Sony Music hasn’t joined Dolby’s efforts.
Much like the catalog itself, hardware support for Dolby Atmos Music is also spotty: The format is being supported by a handful of Android phones, including the latest Samsung flagship phones. Apple does support Dolby Atmos on the Xs and newer models, but Tidal is not streaming Atmos Music to the company’s phones yet. Google’s Pixel phones don’t support Atmos at all.
Dolby did announce a partnership with Amazon to bring Dolby Atmos Music to the company’s Amazon Prime Music HD service in October. As part of that partnership, Amazon also enabled Atmos Music playback on its Echo Studio speaker. There’s no word yet when Tidal Hi-Fi will be available on smart speakers as well, but a spokesperson told Variety this week that the two companies were working on bringing Tidal Hi-Fi with Dolby Atmos to additional devices.