Introduced in 2019, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio gets an update in time for CES 2021, with the expansion of the services, which include adding new video streaming capabilities and content creation tools.
Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is a revolutionary musical experience, powered by Sony’s spatial sound technologies, that evokes feelings of being in a music studio or live concert venue – all without leaving the comfort of home. Introduced in 2019, the service makes it possible for artists and creators to produce music by mapping sound sources such as vocals, chorus and instruments with positional information and placing them within a spherical space.
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, Zara Larsson, and more, for an experience that is almost like being there at the concert hall, listening to the music. If you close your eyes you can almost imagine you’re there. Now, thanks to Sony, you’ll also be able to do it with your eyes wide open.
In fact, Sony took to CES 2021 to reveal the expansion of its 360 Reality Audio services and product offerings, including adding new video streaming capabilities and content creation tools. Sony announced during the all-digital event that the company is introducing 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, just after the announcement.
A lifelike music experience
Viewers can stream this performance with the Artist Connection app installed on a smartphone. The app is available for both iOS and Android. I downloaded the Android version and spent quite some time listening – and watching – both the video on demand of the live performance and some other videos that show how the 360 Reality Audio system works.
If you want to take the experience to a whole new level, in terms of audio, the Sony | Headphones Connect app, also available for iOS and Android, will work with select Sony headphones to offer you more control. With this app users can also optimize their experience by analyzing their individual ear shape to enjoy a custom immersive musical field that is perfectly optimized for them.
According to Sony, 360 Reality Audio makes it possible to create a lifelike music experience, giving listeners the impression that they are in a live concert setting. Sony hopes to leverage this spatial sound technology to create an innovative solution for music lovers who are not able to enjoy live concerts due to COVID-19.
New video content later in 2021
Now, with the expansion of the audio system with the first-ever Video Streaming Service in 360 Reality Audio signaling the introduction of live performance video content with immersive 360 Reality Audio sound Sony makes it even more “real” to listen to music. Sony, major music labels and service providers are working together to begin streaming this new video content later this year.
One more note: 360 Reality Audio requires subscription to compatible online music service and third-party terms, conditions, account and fees may apply.
Sony also introduced at CES 2021 a new 360 Reality Audio Creative Suite. Developed by Sony and Virtual Sonics, Inc. the new content creation software enables 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.