Sony has announced the expansion of its 360 Reality Audio services and product offerings, including adding new video streaming capabilities and content creation tools. Through these efforts, Sony hopes to continue to expand the 360 Reality Audio ecosystem.

Introduced back in 2019, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio was created to make it possible for artists and creators to produce music by mapping sound sources such as vocals, chorus and instruments with positional information and place them within a spherical space.

This experience, powered by Sony’s spatial sound technologies, was created to evoke feelings of being ‘in’ a music studio or live concert venue – all without leaving the home, not developed specifically for COVID 19 restrictions, the tech has though obvious applications during restrictions now and in the future.

Listeners can currently access approximately 4,000 songs in 360 Reality Audio from artists like Alicia Keys, Lil Nas X, Megan Thee Stallion, Noah Cyrus and Zara Larsson. To expand the concept Sony has announced new capabilities to the format.

First-ever Video Streaming Service in 360 Reality Audio

Sony introduced live performance video content with immersive 360 Reality Audio sound. To showcase these new video capabilities, Sony Music Entertainment artist Zara Larsson released an exclusive live performance in 360 Reality Audio on January 11.

Viewers were able to stream this performance with the Artist Connection app on a smartphone. With select Sony headphones and the Sony | Headphones Connect app, users were also able optimise their experience by analysing their individual ear shape to enjoy a custom immersive musical field that is optimised for them.

Sony says major music labels and service providers are working together to begin streaming this new video content later this year.

New 360 Reality Audio Creative Suite Introduced

Sony and Virtual Sonics, Inc. have developed a new content creation software called the 360 Reality Audio Creative Suite to enable easier creation of 360 Reality Audio content by musicians and creators. The 360 Reality Audio Creative Suite plugin software is compatible with popular digital audio workstation (DAW). Virtual Sonics, Inc., through its subsidiary Audio Futures, Inc., will release the software at the end of this month.

Additionally, Sony and Music.com, with distribution by The Orchard, are launching a Creators’ Program, which makes it possible for creators to produce 360 Reality Audio content using the 360 Reality Audio Creative Suite and then stream their content.

Compatible Devices and Licensing Expanded

Beginning this spring, 360 Reality Audio compatible speakers SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 will be available for purchase. These WiFi-enabled speakers create an immersive, room-filling 360 Reality Audio sound experience by using Sony’s Immersive Audio Enhancement algorithm.

The speakers can be controlled with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa devices, so users can manage their music with ease. 360 Reality Audio can also be experienced using headphones from most manufacturers when combined with an Android/iOS smartphone that has a participating streaming service app installed.

Additionally, Sony is partnering with other consumer electronics companies to promote the 360 Reality Audio experience.

In order to continue expanding its library of compatible audio devices, Sony will license out the following technologies moving forward:

  • Headphones personalization technology that analyses the listener’s hearing characteristics
  • Technologies that enable smartphones and automotive vehicles to play 360 Reality Audio

Some interesting stuff here, but even for a giant like Sony getting support for a new audio format like 360 Reality Audio Ecosystem created by a company that many other makers will see as a rival, wont be easy.

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