First announced at CES 2019 in January, 360 Reality Audio is a music experience that utilizes Sony’s object-based spatial audio technology. This technology makes it possible for artists and music creators to create a music experience by mapping sound sources such as vocals, chorus and instruments with positional information to suit their creative and artistic purpose.
"When listeners hear the content, they can enjoy a music experience that immerses them in sound and makes them feel as if they were right in front of their favorite artist," the company states. Sony is expanding its supported audio devices such as headphones and speaker systems, including the all-new Echo Studio.
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 organizations 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 organization 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.”
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, such as Billy Joel and Jeff Beck. 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 & Theaters.
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. More information regarding the content format and license is available here.
“Customers tell us that they love just being able to ask Alexa for their favorite music,” says Miriam Daniel, VP of Alexa and Echo Devices, Amazon. “With Echo Studio, which supports Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, we have engineered a completely new listening experience for customers. Through one, simple device they will be able to immerse themselves in music like never before, hearing each song the way its creators intended it to be heard.”
“We are proud to offer this new and immersive music experience through Amazon Music HD and the all-new Echo Studio. We hope to further energize the market by expanding available options for listeners to enjoy their music,” adds Yoshinori Matsumoto, Director and Deputy President, Sony Home Entertainment and Sound Products Inc. “Moving forward, Sony intends to expand the number of compatible streaming services and devices to build an ecosystem that reaches as many listeners as possible.”