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Does Spotify Have Dolby Atmos? Spoiler: Not Yet.

Photo by Filip / Unsplash

At least not officially. Unlike Apple Music, Tidal, and Amazon Music, Spotify currently does not offer Dolby Atmos playback on any of its platforms. However, there have been rumours that Spotify may be working on adding Dolby Atmos to its HiFi tier in the future.

Image credit: Dolby

What is Dolby Atmos music?

Dolby Atmos Music extends the spatial audio technology to musicians and producers, enabling them to shape songs and recordings with a heightened sense of space and depth, surpassing the conventional stereo recordings we're accustomed to. Sound engineers use multiple tracks to capture different elements of a song, assigning drums to one track, lead guitar to another, and so forth, thus shaping traditional stereo recordings. While producers may adjust the left-to-right balance of these tracks to create an immersive stereo mix, the end result remains confined to two-channel sound—one channel for each speaker in a stereo pair.

But Dolby Atmos Music goes even further. Unlike the limitations of two channels, it harnesses the potential of up to 34 channels, equivalent to 34 individual speakers. A recording engineer can dissect a song into 128 distinct tracks, independently maneuvering each track within the 34-speaker arrangement.

In contrast to the conventional practice of deciding the spatial placement of an entire instrument group in a stereo mix, Dolby Atmos Music allows a producer to take a specific element, like a snare drum, and dynamically position it throughout the room. This could involve placing it in one corner, simulating an overhead position at the back of the room, or emanating from all 34 speakers simultaneously.

Recognising that not everyone has access to 34 speakers at home, the software used by engineers to create Dolby Atmos Music tracks intelligently scales down the recording to accommodate any playback system, even if it's just two speakers. This ensures that the "all around the room" effect is preserved, adapting seamlessly to various audio setups.

Does Spotify have Dolby Atmos?

While unofficial playlists labeled as "spatial audio" exist on Spotify, any user can freely assign this term to their playlist. These playlists may feature songs created using the Dolby Atmos Renderer, a tool designed for producing spatial audio tracks. Additionally, certain tracks might be included in Apple Music's "Made for Spatial Audio" playlist.

But Spotify does not verify the legitimacy of spatial audio playlists, and the platform doesn't have built-in support for tracks with spatial audio.

How can you listen to Dolby Atmos on Spotify? (And can you?)

You can enhance your experience with the built-in spatial audio capabilities of your Apple or Android device to simulate the desired effect.

For example, iOS users can enable the Spatial Audio feature, which might make Spotify tracks sound a bit better. This functionality is supported on various recent Apple devices, including:

  • iPhone 7 and newer models all support spatial audio, as do the following iPads:
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd-generation) and later
  • iPad Pro 11-inch
  • iPad Air (3rd-generation) and later
  • iPad (6th-generation) and later
  • iPad mini (5th-generation) and later

Spatial audio through Dolby Atmos is not exclusive to Apple devices. Many non-Apple devices also provide support, including:

  • Supported phones: Numerous leading smartphone models from manufacturers such as Samsung, Motorola, OPPO, realme, and OnePlus offer Dolby Atmos compatibility. But you should confirm the compatibility with Dolby Atmos through your specific device manufacturer before buying one.
  • Supported headphones: While most headphones are Dolby Atmos compatible, it's essential to have headphones that can deliver spatial audio to fully experience the benefits.

How to turn on Spatial Audio on iPhone & iPad for Spotify

While there's no official and native way to access Dolby Atmos on Spotify, there's a workaround that might work. Here's how iPhone and iPad users can enable Spatial Audio in a few simple steps:

  1. Connect Spatial Audio compatible headphones (such as AirPods) to your iPhone or iPad and swipe down to open Control Center.
  2. Press and hold the volume bar, then tap Spatialise Stereo Fixed.
Check out more in this guide on how to turn on Spatial Audio for AirPods and Beats by Apple.

How to turn on surround sound on Android for Spotify

The process is different depending on which Android device you use. As an example, let's take the steps you should take on a Samsung phone:

  1. Connect your headphones to your Android smartphone.
  2. Head over to Settings Sounds and vibrationSound quality and effects.
  3. Turn on Dolby Atmos and select Music for a fuller overall sound.

FAQ on Spatial Audio & Dolby Atmos Music

How to turn on Dolby Atmos on Spotify on PC and Mac?

  • Mac: First, make sure that you're wearing your AirPods Pro (1st or 2nd generation), AirPods Max, AirPods (3rd generation), Beats Fit Pro or Beats Studio Pro, and that they're connected to your Mac.

Click the AirPods or Beats icon in the menu bar to see Spatial Audio listed, or Spatialise Stereo while you’re playing two-channel stereo content → click Head Tracked to turn on Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking. To enable Spatial Audio only, click Fixed.

  • PC: Control Panel  Sound → right-click your audio device → Properties. Then choose Windows Sonic for Headphones under Spatial sound → tap Apply.

Which music streaming services have spatial audio?

Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, and Qobuz offer spatial audio.

Should I switch to Apple Music for spatial audio?

It's entirely up to you. Apple Music provides 24-bit/192kHz lossless audio and Spatial Audio as part of its standard offering at no extra cost. In contrast, Spotify doesn't currently support spatial audio, and its upcoming HiFi plan will be priced at twice the cost of the Premium plan.