Mercedes-Benz announced today that it supports the spatial audio of Apple’s Music for certain vehicles. Apple Music launched spatial audio with Dolby Atmos on a range of devices last year, including the iPhone, Mac, HomePod and Apple TV, but this is the first time it’s been available natively in a car.
As you might have guessed, the integration doesn’t come cheap. Mercedes-Benz began adding Dolby Atmos to its premium Maybach, S-Class, as well as electric EQS and EQE models that come with the carmaker’s latest MBUX interface and Burmester’s 31-speaker 3D or 4D sound system. . While the vehicles themselves cost upwards of $100,000, this doesn’t even include the additional $4,550 (3D) or $6,730 (4D) Burmester sound system that some vehicles have as an add-on.
Apple Music’s Dolby Atmos-powered spatial audio is supposed to enhance and make music more immersive by spreading different sounds across audio channels, essentially creating a virtual 3D audio space through your speakers, earbuds, or headphones. Apple Music labels the songs on the platform that support the format, but as my colleague Chris Welch points out, the quality of the mix isn’t always consistent across all songs.
Adding the spatial audio of Apple Music should make it easier for Benz drivers to find songs that support the Dolby Atmos format. And if you’re not an Apple Music subscriber, so is Mercedes-Benz collaborating with Universal Music Group (UMG) to label certain numbers as ‘Approved in a Mercedes-Benz’, although it is unclear where these labels will appear. The automaker says artists only get the “highest quality seal” based on how “the final mix sounds in a Mercedes-Benz.” (And yes, Mercedes-Benz even gives UMG some vehicles to test.)
“Sound quality is incredibly important to Apple Music, which is why we are so excited to partner with Mercedes to make Spatial Audio on Apple Music available natively in the car for the first time,” Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats said in a statement. “Together with Mercedes, we now have even more opportunities to bring fully immersive music to our subscribers around the world.”