Meet The App That Is Resolving Apple Music’s Major Dolby Atmos Issue

One of the reasons we think Apple Music is one of the best music streaming services is that for a relatively low price, you get both Hi-Res and Dolby Atmos tracks that are ready for Spatial Audio. The latter is a big draw for anyone looking to hear albums and tracks mixed in a new, immersive format that can make regular stereo mixes sound bland in comparison… if you can find them.
Spatial Audio on Apple Music can be enjoyed with the best headphones, but if you have an Apple TV 4K, it can also be enjoyed with the best Dolby Atmos soundbars or a surround sound speaker system. All you need is an Apple Music subscription and some patience to find music with Spatial Audio on the service.
I use the word “patience” for a very real reason: finding specific Spatial Audio tracks on Apple Music can be a time-consuming task. That’s because Apple doesn’t always clearly tag relevant content – sometimes an album’s single track will have an Atmos mix, but the album itself will simply be tagged as “Lossless.” Typically, the only way to determine whether a track supports Spatial Audio is to play it and then look for a Dolby Atmos tag in the Apple Music app window. Apple does make an effort within the app to promote new Spatial Audio additions to its service, but determining which tracks in your existing library have been converted to Dolby Atmos can be time-consuming.

Ben Dodson is well aware of Apple Music’s Dolby Atmos flaws. The creator of Music Library Tracker, an iOS app that monitors your Apple Music collection and alerts you when any tracks are added or deleted, has recently added a feature that allows you to scan your entire library for Spatial Audio tracks. Any tracks that have been upgraded for Spatial Audio appear in a new Apple Music playlist, and the app can send you notifications when new Spatial Audio tracks are added to your library.
Dodson’s work on creating a searchable database of Apple Music Spatial Audio albums and tracks inspired the project. He also runs the Twitter account @NewSpatialAudio, which sends out tweets whenever a new Spatial Audio album or track is added to Apple Music. Both are excellent free resources for discovering music mixed in Dolby Atmos, but those features should ideally be integrated into Apple Music, which “does not yet have a clear strategy for displaying Spatial Audio tracks,” according to Dodson. Please tell me about it!

Playing with Music Library Tracker

Music Library Tracker ($2.99 / £2.99) is extremely simple to use. Simply allow the app to scan your Apple Music library, and it will send you notifications about which tracks have been added or deleted in the future. When you choose Spatial Audio, your library is compared to listings in the Spatial Audio Finder database, and you can view and sort your entire Spatial Audio library by track, album, artist, or album artist name.

Your custom Spatial Audio playlist will appear in the Apple Music app, where you can easily explore all of the new tracks you didn’t know were available in Spatial Audio. You can also receive notifications when albums and tracks are upgraded to Spatial Audio, just like you can with the regular Music Library Tracker functions.
In my case, the discoveries included the Sigur Rós album (), which would make an excellent Dolby Atmos mix, and the Mazzy Star track Fade Into You (please Apple Music, add this entire LP in Atmos ASAP).

I was ecstatic to discover another of my favorite tracks, Aphex Twin’s Tha, among the app’s Spatial Audio discoveries, but it turned out to be a false positive. When I inquired about the situation, Dodson stated, “there have been a few issues with a small number of tracks as Apple have pulled them for breaching their terms (specifically if they’ve used AI to upscale to Spatial Audio).” Selected Ambient Works 85-92 by Aphex Twin was one of the AI offenders. Perhaps, because the album was showing as “Dolby Atmos, Lossless, and Lossy Stereo” when Dodson’s script last accessed it in January, according to Dodson.
According to the app developer, he only recently became aware of the issue of tracks reverting back to non-Spatial status, primarily at Apple’s request, and is currently working on another script that will scrub the database and remove tracks that are no longer showing in Spatial Audio. So Music Library Tracker users can probably look forward to that update.
As a fan of Apple Music’s Spatial Audio offerings, as well as music mixed in Dolby Atmos in general, Music Library Tracker’s ability to notify me of Spatial Audio upgrades to my library is a welcome addition that is well worth the app’s $2.99 price tag. Now I need to find my headphones because I have some listening to do in my Spatial Audio playlist.

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