It’s been two full years since Sony announced 360 Reality Audio, a captivating music platform at CES 2019. But honestly, during this time, the relevant ecosystem hasn’t really been established. There are two key reasons for this: one is that Sony itself has not yet launched a special speaker for 360 Reality Audio. The other is more obvious, meaning that the content library of 360 Reality Audio is still too small.
To change this, Sony announced some future plans for 360 Reality Audio before CES this year. First, they have confirmed that they will launch two speakers developed specifically for 360 Reality Audio this spring (the images in this article are prototypes that Sony presented, but never sold). Their models are SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000, both of which support Wi-Fi, which can “create a captivating and full-fledged 360 Reality Audio listening experience.” Sony claims that both use “unique immersive sound enhancement algorithms” and can be controlled via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa devices.
Of course, Sony has not forgotten the users of the headphones who want to experience 360 Reality Audio. It further intends to authorize the headset customization solution so that other companies can optimize their 360 Reality Audio products based on the results of the user’s ear and hearing analysis. In addition, Sony will also open the authorization of 360 Reality audio playback technology on mobile phones and cars, but there are no specific synchronization arrangements for them.
If you want to enjoy 360 Reality Audio music at home, you first need speakers that support 360 Reality Audio, such as Amazon Echo Studio, then you need to subscribe to Amazon Music, Tidal or Deezer high-resolution file services. When 360 Reality Audio debuted in 2019, there were only 1,000 musicians in its music library (most of them from Sony Music artists). Today this number has increased to 4,000. Although it is an improvement over the past, it is still not worth mentioning in front of the big streaming services.
To expand the user’s choice, Sony is now preparing to deliver live performance content that supports 360-degree audio effects. Their first attempt will be the live broadcast of the Zara Larsson concert at 6 am on January 12 via Artist Connection software. Sony promises to bring a “real music experience”, and users will feel as if they are on stage. If this attempt is successful, Sony intends to further promote it during the epidemic. They are currently negotiating with some labels and services, hoping to bring “new video content” by the end of this year.
Finally, while addressing consumer issues, Sony will provide creators, musicians, and producers with the right tools to produce true 360-degree audio content. They reached a cooperation with Virtual Sonics, the two will develop together the creative kit 360 Reality Audio, and this plug-in software will be compatible with the “mainstream” digital audio mass application. At the same time, Sony will work with Music.com and The Orchard to advance the creators’ plan, provide a package for content creators, and further increase the streaming channels of 360 Reality content.