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Sony Corporation, Music Industry Partners and Leading Artists Gather to Reveal a New Music Ecosystem with 360 Reality Audio

Press release   •   Oct 15, 2019 20:40 BST

Sony Corporation today announced the upcoming commercial availability of 360 Reality Audio, an immersive audio experience utilising object-based spatial audio technology. Beginning in Autumn 2019, listeners in Europe, the United States and beyond can access approximately 1,000 songs in this brand-new format from artists such as Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and Pharrell Williams through streaming services Amazon Music HD, Deezer, nugs.net and TIDAL[1].

Since the concept was first introduced at CES 2019, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio has generated broad and enthusiastic support among industry partners and artists who are eager to share its power. Object-based spatial audio technology makes it possible for artists and music creators to produce a music experience, by mapping sound sources such as vocals, chorus and instruments with positional information, and placing them within a spherical space. When listeners hear content produced in the 360 Reality Audio music format, they experience an immersion into sound that closely mimics the omni-directional soundscape of a live musical performance.

Sony is working with major music labels (Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group), Live Nation, music distribution services and other music organisations to provide the technology for building a musical ecosystem around 360 Reality Audio, which will include the creation, distribution and playing of music content. Sony will also provide specifications for the 360 Reality Audio music format with the cooperation of Fraunhofer IIS, part of Europe’s largest organisation for applied research. Through these efforts, Sony is working to promote this new music experience to music creators, artists and music fans, with the aim of creating an entirely new world of music entertainment.

“360 Reality Audio is a proof point that innovation never stops,” said Mike Fasulo, president and chief operating officer, Sony Electronics (North America). “The confluence of deep technical roots, tireless artists and forward-thinking hardware and semiconductor partners illustrates the tremendous draw of this radical new way to make music even more moving. Together with valued industry partners, Sony has architected the most powerful, realistic music experience for listeners and a new medium for artists to create.”

Participating Streaming Services (scheduled for Autumn 2019 launch)

  • Amazon Music HD[2]
  • Deezer
  • nugs.net
  • TIDAL

Sony is also working with Napster to develop the solution of 360 Reality Audio streaming for further expansion of service providers.

Compatible Content

In the coming weeks, 360 Reality Audio will feature approximately 1,000 songs. More music is scheduled to be added from Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. The planned 1,000 songs will include leading contemporary artists, as well as timeless classics. The service will also feature more than 100 songs recorded from an array of concerts by performers such as CHARLI XCX and Kodaline, captured through a partnership with select Live Nation Clubs & Theatres.

Compatible Devices

360 Reality Audio can be fully enjoyed on headphones and wireless speakers at service launch.

  • Headphones: 360 Reality Audio can be experienced using headphones from most manufacturers when combined with an Android™/iOS smartphone that has a participating streaming services app installed. The service will be initially available at launch through Deezer, nugs.net and TIDAL.
  • Additionally, listeners can enjoy a custom immersive musical field that is perfectly optimised for each individual user when using select[3] Sony’s headphones and the “Sony |Headphones Connect” app[4]. This one-of-a-kind app analyses the listener’s hearing characteristics using images of ear dimensions leveraging Sony’s unique algorithm.
  • Speakers: Users will require a speaker system with Sony’s unique decoder of the 360 Reality Audio music format, multiple speaker units and signal processing technology. Compatible songs can be played back from Amazon Music HD using Echo Studio.

Moreover, Sony has partnered with platform and chipset providers, in order to make 360 Reality Audio usable in a wide range of future connected devices.

  • Amazon Alexa[5]
  • Google Chromecast built-in[6]
  • Chipsets manufactured by Media Tek Inc., NXP Semiconductors N.V., and Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.

Content Creation

Sony is collaborating with Live Nation, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group to add even more 360 Reality Audio content in 2020. Sony is also working with studios to prepare a content creation environment. At present, participating studios include Battery Studios, Chiller Sound, Live Nation Content Studio in the US and The Crypt Studio in the UK. This list will be expanded over time.

The 360 Reality Audio Music Format

With cooperation from Fraunhofer IIS, part of Europe’s largest organization for applied research, the format will be compliant with MPEG-H 3D Audio, an international open audio standard, and optimized for music streaming. As licensors, Sony and Fraunhofer IIS will continue working to expand the available content library, participating streaming services and compatible audio devices moving forward.

For more information regarding the content format and license, please visit

https://www.sony.net/Products/360RA/licensing

For additional details, visit the following websites:

360 Reality Audio official website: https://www.sony.net/360RA/

Explore artist stories about 360 Reality Audio on music storytelling platform Music.com: http://www.music.com/360RA

*All listed product names are the trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Corporation or of their respective owners.

*Amazon, Echo, Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

*Google and Chromecast are trademarks of Google LLC.

[1] 360 Reality Audio will require a paid subscription on all streaming services. For details on service plans and country/regional availability, check with individual providers at launch. 3rd party apps, network services, content, the operating system and software may be subject to individual terms and conditions and changed, interrupted or discontinued at any time and may require fees, registration and credit card information. Requires product to be connected to the wireless network.

[2] 360 Reality Audio on Amazon Music HD currently only plays on Echo Studio.

[3] For select Sony’s headphones, please visit: https://www.sony.net/360RA/

[4] Sony | Headphones Connect app requires download to iOS devices from App Store or for Android devices from Google Play. App, network services, content, the operating system and software of this app may be subject to individual terms and conditions and changed, interrupted or discontinued at any time and may require fees, registration and credit card information. Requires product to be connected to the wireless network.

[5] Each device must have a decoder.

[6] Each device must have a decoder.

About Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation is a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology. From game and network services to music, pictures, electronics, semiconductors and financial services - Sony's purpose is to fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology. For more information, visit: http://www.sony.net/