Kanye West’s Donda 2 won’t be available on Apple Music or Spotify

The news: Donda 2 will be available exclusively on the artist’s own tech product, the Stem Player, according to Kanye West (not yet tracked).

Ian’s take: Okay, I love Kanye West, and the Stem Player has some exciting capabilities, but I am not spending $200 on an MP3 player to listen to the album. That being said, I wasn’t aware that artists make just 12% of what the industry makes. I think that streaming services should pay artists more per stream since the entire value of the services is given by the artists.

Apple Music acquires Primephonic classical music service, promises dedicated app next year

The news: Apple has confirmed their most recent acquisition of Primephonic, which will be shut down on September 7 prior to being integrated into Apple Music next year.

  • Primephonic is “the renowned classical music streaming service that offers an outstanding listening experience with search and browse functionality optimized for classical, premium-quality audio, handpicked expert recommendations, and extensive contextual details on repertoire and recordings.”
  • A dedicated Apple Music Classical app is said to launch sometime next year with Primephonic integration and exclusive content

Our take: This acquisition comes a bit out of left field, but seems to tap into a music niche that Apple wants to be associated with their brand. But the fact that Primephonic is just shutting down on September 7 with no integration into Apple Music until next year is a bad look. Why not keep the service up until you can make a smooth transition into Apple Music?

Apple launches Spatial and Lossless audio formats in Apple Music

The news: Hours after the conclusion of WWDC 2021, Apple has released two major new audio formats in Apple Music.

  • Select songs are available in Spatial Audio, which surrounds you in sound, and most of the Apple Music library is streamable in lossless quality (on supported headphones)
  • The update was pushed live server-side and can be enabled by going to Settings > Music > Dolby Atmos or Audio Quality

Our take: Haven’t been able to listen to any of the music yet, but this is live in June as promised. Launch felt a bit underwhelming after such a big announcement, however.

Apple holding Apple Music special event at 12pm PST tomorrow

The leak: Following the WWDC keynote address, Apple is holding another special event at 12pm PST, according to a new video first spotted by @kuromikenny.

  • The video, which has now been deleted, said “Introducing Spatial Audio” and “Tune in at 12pm PT on June 7 to watch this special event.”
  • Apple previously announced that the new spatial and lossless audio features would become available sometime in June

Our take: Considering that this was now taken down, it feels like it may have been a mistake? Why would Apple hold two event on the same time, at different times? Perhaps this year’s WWDC will be more packed than we’re expecting…

Future AirPods update may enable Lossless audio via AirPlay

The rumor: Streaming audio to AirPods will get a major update in the future, according to Jon Prosser (77.8% accurate) on the Genius Bar podcast.

  • While Bluetooth is too technically limited to support lossless audio streaming, a different codec or firmware update could be released in the future to support the higher bandwidth needed to stream HiFi audio on AirPods
  • Apple confirmed yesterday that no AirPods currently support lossless audio in any way, but used the word “currently”

Our take: Before announcing AirTag, Apple announced a broader Find My Network with support for 3rd party accessories: Prosser suggests that in light of recent anti-trust investigations, Apple is doing the same thing here. Announce support for lossless audio that works with 3rd-party devices weeks ahead of announcing a new proprietary Apple format for streaming HiFi music. To me, this makes a lot of sense as there’s no way Apple would intentionally misfire this intentionally.

Apple Music with free Spatial and Lossless Audio upgrades announced

The news: A new version of Apple Music featuring Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio has been announced and is coming next month.

  • Spatial Audio features support for Dolby Atmos, allowing sound to come from all directions…even from above you
    • This will be available on select songs at launch, with more added regularly
  • Lossless Audio includes significantly more audio data and will be available for the entire catalog of 75 million songs at launch
  • The new version of Apple Music is launching sometime in June and requires iOS 14.6

Our take: Apple wasn’t joking when they said they would be changing music forever. Everything announced today doesn’t cost a cent more than the $9.99/month that everyone already pays. This is a huge blow to others like Spotify and Tidal that charge a premium for lossless music.

Apple says major Music announcement is ‘coming soon’

The news: Apple has announced a major change for Apple Music that is said to be happening soon.

  • As noted in the Music app, Apple says “Get ready—music is about to change forever.”
  • No release date for the announcement has been set, but rumors point to something happening imminently…perhaps as a soon as May 18

Our take: If this isn’t for the HiFi tier of Apple Music, than I have no idea what this is. Apple rarely pre-announces anything…and to do so on a Sunday? That’s even stranger.

AirPods 3 & Apple Music HiFi to launch ‘in the coming weeks’

The rumors: Apple is preparing to release 2 new music products soon, according to HITS Daily Double (not yet tracked).

  • The new HiFi tier of Apple Music is said to cost only $9.99/month…the same price as the standard plan
  • AirPods 3 will also likely launch “in the coming weeks,” alongside the new Apple Music offering

Our take: While I would normally say that a rumor from a source like this is complete BS…they were the site that called the release of the original iPod back in 2001. Considering that HDD doesn’t leak frequently, I believe this one. Can’t wait for HiFi streaming, and especially for the long-awaited AirPods 3.