The promise of 3D audio for music is becoming more and more of a reality, with Tidal announcing that it’s started to stream Dolby Atmos Music tracks for listeners on its HiFi tier.
Tidal HiFi subscribers can queue up songs from the likes of The Weeknd, Blondie, and Ariana Grane encoded in Dolby Atmos Music, an immersive object-based audio format designed to place sounds precisely in a 3D space.
To listen to Dolby Atmos Music tracks on Tidal, you’ll need to use the Tidal mobile app on a “compatible” Android phone or tablet—in other words, there’s no iOS or desktop support for now.
Tidal’s move comes in the wake of Amazon Music HD’s support for Dolby Atmos Music tracks, with Amazon launching its selection of Atmos audio tunes last month.
While Tidal requires an Android device to stream tunes in the Dolby Atmos Music format, Amazon is (for now, anyway) even more restrictive, with only its Echo StudioRemove non-product link currently compatible with the 3D audio format.
Tidal didn’t specify how many of its high-res tracks are now available in the Dolby Atmos Music format, although it promised a “growing library” of Atmos-encoded music from Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.
Missing from the Dolby Atmos Music party: Sony Music, which isn’t surprising given that Sony just launched its own competing 3D audio format, 360 Reality Audio.
You can already listen to 360 Reality Audio tracks on Amazon Music HD, Tidal, Deezer, and Nugs.net (a streaming service for live concerts), with more than 1,000 tracks currently remastered for Sony’s 3D audio tech.
Going back to Tidal’s Dolby Atmos Music announcement, the streaming service said that audio tracks will default to the Dolby Atmos mix if there’s one available, and that a Dolby Atmos badge will mark any supported tracks in Tidal’s catalog.
To browse for Dolby Atmos Music songs on the Tidal app, you can select the Dolby Atmos menu option in the “Explore” tab.
Tidal’s HiFi subscription plan, which is required for listening to Dolby Atmos Music songs, costs $20 a month, and there’s a free Tidal trial available.