Apple Music app arrives on Roku but without one key feature

Apple Music is now available on Roku devices and video player platforms as an app that you can get through the Roku Channel Store.

This update brings over 90 million songs and 30,000 expertly curated playlists with real-time song lyrics straight to Roku owners. The deal will also bring Apple Music Radio, music videos in 4K resolution, and access to all original content that can be found on the service.

And the icing on the cake is a one-month free trial of Apple Music if you purchase the service through Roku’s service. While the rollout is packed with features, there are some glaring omissions on Apple’s part.

Lack of high quality

Despite 4K music videos and Streambar Pro support, Roku won’t support Apple Music’s unique audio features. Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos and lossless audio are not available, as confirmed by a Roku representative. This includes dynamic head tracking on AirPods.

Apple Music’s audio formats along with its curated playlists are what set it apart from other music streaming services. Lossless Audio ensures songs retain the high quality the artist intended them to have, while Spatial Audio enables an immersive experience.

Recently, Apple Music added a bunch of DJ mixes in Spatial Audio with exclusive content. Unfortunately for Roku owners, they will miss having a nightclub in their home.

Gradual deployment

Apple is pretty late to the party as Roku has been home to many other music streaming apps for years, including rival Spotify, which has been on the platform since 2012.

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Over the past few years, Roku has gradually added Apple streaming services like Apple TV Plus in 2021. Apple’s coyness could be attributed to Roku’s monetization practices, where the company keeps 20% of total revenue through transactional channels under which Apple Music falls.

Given that Roku has seen substantial growth in recent years, such as gaining $734 million in the first quarter of 2022, Apple may have decided to give up at least some of its control just to be part of the fast-growing Roku platform.

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