Perhaps I'm late to the game in discovering that the Norwegian record label 2L is now offering immersive audio downloads, in addition to its physical releases that contain immersive content. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only place in the world to purchase and download Atmos encoded music. I'm having good flashbacks to the days when the first high resolution stereo tracks were available for download, and when computer audio was the Wild West. Hopefully this is a harbinger of good things to come, just like the first high resolution stereo tracks from boutique record labels were.
Note: Thanks to members of our great community, I just became aware of Immersive Audio Album. The store offers many immersive downloads, including Atmos.
Now for the caveat. The files labeled Dolby Atmos in MP4 files, are encoded as Dolby Digital Plus. This is the lossy version of Atmos. The same encoding used for Apple Music Atmos and Spatial Audio content (and the same encoding used for 100% of video streaming on Netflix, AppleTV, etc...) Given that "everything" 2L releases is of such high quality, I was a little surprised to see the Atmos downloads are lossy. I had hoped they would be encoded at lossless Dolby TrueHD Atmos, just like the content on the 2L Blu-ray Discs.
Here is one example of what initially made me think I'd struck gold. The list of options contains DSD, 24/96 and Auto-3D embedded in 5.1 FLAC files. I'm really not complaining, rather more bummed that I can't purchase the TrueHD as a download. I've since ordered the Blu-ray Discs and will extract the TrueHD Atmos that way.
All is not lost though. The lossy Dolby Digital Plus versions of these 2L recordings are still fantastic. I'm thrilled 2L has started offering Atmos downloads, no matter how the are encoded. We have to start somewhere. Apple Music subscribers can listen to some of these Atmos versions in the Music app. The 2L downloads and the Apple Music Atmos versions are the same, as long as Apple's Spatial Audio isn't engaged for Apple headphones.
I contacted 2L to ask about releasing TrueHD Atmos, and received a nice response form Morten Lindberg. Morten said 2L's lack of TueHD downloads is because of the lack of software players available for this content. In other words, not many people at home can actually play it. That's something I completely understand, although I'd really love the TrueHD downloads.
The Dolby Digital Plus MP4 Atmos 2L downloads can be played in Apple's Music app on a Mac. Macs have the DD+ decoder built-in, enabling both Apple Music Atmos and local Atmos content to be decoded for playback without an external processor. I was able to play the 2L MP4 files on my Mac and Windows PC using the Dolby reference Player. Using another app without an Atmos decoder, such as JRiver or Audirvana, won't work very well. In that case, I'd just download the FLAC files because the Atmos content isn't being played anyway.
Maybe someday we'll be able to purchase and download as Dolby TrueHD Atmos files from 2L and other labels. If 2L released the TrueHD content as lossless TrueHD MP4 files, those of us with the capability to decode TrueHD (using either Dolby software or a processor from Trinnov, Lyngdorf, etc...) could really benefit from this. People using Apple Music would still be able to play the TrueHD version, but it would be decoded as Dolby Digital Plus. I'd say this is a win-win rather than giving everyone the lossy files :~)
Anyway, I have a few 2L Blu-ray Discs on the way as well as some from Deutsche Grammophon, with lossless Dolby TrueHD Atmos content. I can't wait to extract the TrueHD audio and listen!