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AvidPlay Subscription Service Now Enables Artists and Labels to Distribute Dolby Atmos Tracks for Apple Music

AvidPlay, Avid’s subscription-based, independent music distribution service, now allows artists and labels to distribute their Dolby Atmos tracks directly to Apple Music’s new Spatial Audio offerings. For those Pro Tools users that see the value of the fully integrated subscription that AvidPlay provides, this is now an important argument to increase the value of new Dolby Atmos mixes. Artists can even use the AvidPlay dashboard to manage their tracks and albums, and monitor song performance and earnings.

Avid Pro Tools is still the standard music production software for commercial studios, while Avid currently provides both music production tools and an independent distribution service, allowing direct publishing to all major music streaming platforms - an integration that is definitely a trend. AvidPlay is a subscription-based DIY music distribution service that supports that integration and makes it extremely easy for artists and labels to distribute and monetize the music they’re creating with a Dolby Atmos-enabled Pro Tools digital audio workstation.

The initiative is jointly promoted by Apple, Dolby and Avid as a way to encourage more content available in what is supposed the best next-big thing after stereo. For Dolby in particular, the promotion of Dolby Atmos and direct integration of Dolby Atmos production tools in Pro Tools is a critical combination to promote the concept that Spatial Audio is something that works with music, while Dolby Atmos was primarily created for movie soundtracks. Note that "Spatial Audio" content can be created in other object-based audio formats that are not Dolby Atmos. But Dolby certainly leads in that regard.

Earlier efforts to promote Dolby Atmos music in platforms like Amazon or Tidal were not very successful since very few people had the chance to listen to the music in actual Dolby Atmos speaker installations, and binaural emulations have not been very impressive (so far). Amazon's efforts to promote Dolby Atmos from a single speaker - with the unsuccessful Echo Studio - also didn't help the cause. Now, Apple is applying large resources to show that Spatial Audio makes sense for music and potentially offers a much larger audience and revenue potential for content creators.

This is an important breakthrough for independent music artists, producers and record labels by enabling them to distribute tracks mixed in Dolby Atmos directly to Apple's servers, complying with all the Apple Music requirements for Spatial Audio mastering and delivery. Normally, artists can upload their Dolby Atmos Music along with the stereo tracks and artwork. It also makes sense to help justify the additional investment on a fully immersive audio environment for Dolby Atmos mixing, for studios that are not working on movies of television content and are just mixing music.

There is no question that a lot of musicians are willing to try the possibilities of mixing music in Dolby Atmos in the hope that the immersive listening they experience in the studio will fully translate for consumers. And if by using AvidPlay to distribute their music in Dolby Atmos, independent music professionals can reach a growing audience while keeping 100 percent of their rights and earnings, that is certainly appealing.

As Avid and Dolby promote, apparently AvidPlay users are already exploring the opportunity to entertain their fans by producing and distributing songs in Dolby Atmos across all genres from pop, electronic and hip-hop to jazz, classical and folk. By listening to Apple Music, there is nothing exciting yet, but eventually someone will find the formula. As long as we don't start to hear voices from above and guitar solos bouncing from back to front, all should be allowed.

Subscribing artists and labels simply select their singles or albums they’d like to release and then AvidPlay takes care of the rest — from distributing their tracks in Dolby Atmos to Amazon Music, TIDAL and now Apple Music, to generating pre-save and smart links for marketing, to tracking song performance and payments.

“We developed AvidPlay to make it extremely easy for independent artists and labels to distribute and monetize the music they’re creating with Pro Tools. It’s an exciting time for our customers to distribute tracks in Dolby Atmos to Apple Music from AvidPlay as they will be able to reach more listeners and grow their fanbase by sharing with them new ways of experiencing their music," says Rob D’Amico, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Audio Solutions at Avid.

Avid and Dolby are also promoting initiatives to train audio creators to produce in Dolby Atmos, and have launched a Dolby Atmos production training and certification course for mixing engineers, audio studio technicians and audio professionals. The online Pro Tools Dolby Atmos Production course covers how to use the Dolby Atmos tools within Pro Tools through 40 hours of self-learning and 18 hours of instructor-led training. The program concludes with a professional certification exam to earn the Avid Certified Professional: Pro Tools | Dolby Atmos credential.