3D Audio

Music consumption has significantly changed over the last decade. With 3D Audio, the evolution is not about to stop

The dominance of digital has led to a serious software update of the music industry. Trends in the production, distribution and consumption of music are leading to ever faster and immediately global adoption curves (just look at the success of steaming and short videos).

If you grab any recent article focusing on brand-new trendy headphones, or the latest feature announcement by a DSP, no doubt that the headline contains words like ‘immersive sound’ or ‘spatial audio’.

This is not surprising. Consumers are now widely familiar with this kind of technology and the associated listening benefits. 73% have heard of spatial audio at least once. With the offers of Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal and Tencent, immersive has become widespread for current use: mobile listening.

3D audio is moving from niche to widespread listening. Immersive music is now.

How is the whole music industry impacted

For artists, 3D audio brings a new creative path, but at what cost? Between the apprehension of new tools and the transformation of the creation process, the required commitment is very substantial. Access to this technology requires improvising as a sound engineer, which for many independent artists is prohibitive.

Between time to understand 3D audio, the production of their artists’ works in certified studios, and the validation of the re-mixing, labels are today held hostage by the technical constraints of delivery, and additional costs whose return on investment remains uncertain.

Despite remarkable anticipation of the immersive sound trend, had the Majors planned to remix their entire catalog by specialized sound engineers? The question of the monthly flow to be produced is concerning. This also raises the question of return on investment.

Digital Distributors are the most seasoned with the challenges related to 3D audio. They shall deliver to DSPs an increasing share of new titles in 3D, in addition to stereo. The impact is not secondary: new format, cost of storage, new quality controls, while responding to the volume requirements.

What does this mean for digital distributors?

Digital distributors have the real opportunity to increase their importance in digital music by taking on the pressure of asset spatialization.

They can relieve producers and labels of technical constraints, provide a large-scale value-added service, and a new source of income.

Digital distributors can ensure that 3D music is not reserved for a handful of artists but benefits the entire creative community. Who would object to fans of a bedroom producer not being able to listen to their favorite artist in spatial audio?

5URROUND, built for the new 3D paradigm

Let’s face it: it is inconceivable, neither humanly nor economically, to manually spatialize in the studios the flow of an ecosystem that delivers nearly 100,000 titles on digital platforms every day.

That’s why we designed 5URROUND: to allow digital distributors to spatialize stereo assets into 3D assets. Simply by API.

5URROUND is the technological result of IRCAM expertise and priceless feedback from music industry experts, sound engineers and artists. Our unique technology seizes the entire 3D sound space in the listening experience without introducing any effect, artefact or reverberation that would distort the artistic work.

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