Sony today announced the upcoming commercial availability of 360 Reality Audio, an audio experience utilizing object-based spatial audio technology.
Beginning in Autumn 2019, listeners in Europe, the United States and beyond can access approximately 1,000 songs in this new format from artists such as Mark Ronson and Pharrell Williams through streaming services Amazon Music HD, Deezer, nugs.net and TIDAL.
Object-based spatial audio technology makes it possible for artists and music creators to produce a music experience by mapping sound sources such as vocals, chorus and instruments with positional information and placing them within a spherical space.
Sony is working with major music labels (Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group), Live Nation, music distribution services and other music organizations to provide the technology for building a musical ecosystem around 360 Reality Audio, which will include the creation, distribution and playing of music content. Sony will also provide specifications for the 360 Reality Audio music format with the cooperation of Fraunhofer IIS, part of Europe’s largest organization for applied research.
Participating Streaming Services (scheduled for Autumn 2019 launch)
- Amazon Music HD
Sony is also working with Napster to develop the solution of 360 Reality Audio streaming for further expansion of service providers.
In the coming weeks, 360 Reality Audio will feature approximately 1,000 songs. More music is scheduled to be added from Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. The planned 1,000 songs will include contemporary artists, as well as timeless classics, such as Billy Joel and Jeff Beck. The service will also feature more than 100 songs recorded from an array of concerts by performers such as CHARLI XCX and Kodaline, captured through a partnership with select Live Nation Clubs & Theaters.
360 Reality Audio can be enjoyed on headphones and wireless speakers at service launch.
- Headphones: 360 Reality Audio can be experienced using headphones from most manufacturers when combined with an Android/iOS smartphone that has a participating streaming services app installed. The service will be initially available at launch through Deezer, nugs.net and TIDAL.
Additionally, listeners can enjoy a custom musical field that is optimized for each individual user when using select Sony’s headphones and the “Sony | Headphones Connect” app. This app analyzes the listener’s hearing characteristics using images of ear dimensions leveraging Sony’s algorithm.
- Speakers: Users will require a speaker system with Sony’s decoder of the 360 Reality Audio music format, multiple speaker units and signal processing technology. Compatible songs can be played back from Amazon Music HD using Echo Studio.
Moreover, Sony has partnered with platform and chipset providers, in order to make 360 Reality Audio usable in a wide range of future connected devices.
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Chromecast built-in
- Chipsets manufactured by Media Tek Inc., NXP Semiconductors N.V., and Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.
Sony is collaborating with Live Nation,Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group to add even more 360 Reality Audio content in 2020. Sony is also working with studios to prepare a content creation environment. At present, participating studios include Battery Studios, Chiller Sound, Live Nation Content Studio in the US and The Crypt Studio in the UK. This list will be expanded over time.
With cooperation from Fraunhofer IIS, part of Europe’s largest organization for applied research, the format will be compliant with MPEG-H 3D Audio, an international open audio standard, and optimized for music streaming. As licensors, Sony and Fraunhofer IIS will continue working to expand the available content library, participating streaming services and compatible audio devices moving forward.