Sep 21, 2022 - Technology

Survey: Gen Z is embracing spatial audio

Illustration of an ear over a crashing wave
Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Although only half of Americans know what spatial audio is, the next-generation surround technology is more popular among younger people, a new survey finds.

The big picture: Roughly 80% of Gen Z consumers would be willing to pay more for their next pair of headphones if it supports the technology, according to a survey by Agora, which offers tools to include real-time audio and video within other applications.

Be smart: Spatial audio mimics the way sound is heard in the natural world, providing a sense of how far away a sound is and what direction it's coming from.

Why it matters: Spatial audio is key to making virtual reality convincing, but can also help with everything from watching movies to video conferencing.

  • It's supported on a number of newer headphones, including models from Apple, Google and Samsung.

What they're saying: The technology is only in its infancy, says Agora CEO Tony Zhao, with large hardware and software makers only beginning to invest in support.

  • "The Gen Z audience sees the value of spatial audio and is willing to invest in the hardware required to experience it,” Zhao said in a statement. “These numbers should give technology companies greater confidence when considering whether or not to invest in spatial audio features and capabilities.”

Go deeper: Spatial audio, the soundtrack of the metaverse

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