Digital Packaging for Music
Like physical releases, artwork, audio, and product identifiers are essential to artists’ and bands’ digital presentation. These elements ensure that music remains discoverable on Apple Music and the iTunes Store and help you track and measure the impact of your releases.
Artist Apple IDs
An Artist Apple ID is a unique numerical identifier that gets assigned to an artist after the initial delivery.
We use Artist Apple IDs to create artist pages on Apple Music and the iTunes Store, where fans and listeners can find all music related to an artist or band. Artist Apple IDs are essential to managing your music and artist images, and addressing tickets. For more information on creating new Artist Apple IDs, review the iTunes Package Artist Specification.
Due to our robust catalog, there may be multiple artists with similar names, albums, or single titles. We strongly recommend using Artist Apple IDs when preparing your delivery in iTunes Producer or Transporter to avoid potential artist page issues. To understand how Artist Apple IDs impact post-deliveries, check out the Artist Page article.
Cover art is the visual representation of your release on Apple Music and the iTunes Store. Review the following guidelines before delivering cover art:
- Original art is preferred.
- The recommended file size is 3000 by 3000 pixels or larger. The minimum size is 1400 by 1400 pixels.
- Images must be square (1:1 aspect ratio).
- File formats: JPEG or PNG (100% quality).
- Avoid blurry, pixelated, mismatched, misaligned, or rotated images unless they are a part of the artistic expression.
- Artwork must not be misleading. For example, it cannot prominently depict or reference an artist who does not perform on the album.
- Advertising or marketing of any sort is not accepted. For example, it cannot reference competitors of Apple Music or the iTunes Store, or any URLs, logos, or dates for future product releases.
Apple accepts audio with a sampling rate of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, or 192 kHz with 16-bit or 24-bit resolution. Learn more about supported formats.
Since the introduction of lossless audio, an audio compression feature that enhances audio quality, we’ve been working tirelessly to make our entire catalog available in lossless audio at different resolutions. Lossless refers to lossless compression, which makes file sizes smaller while preserving all of the data perfectly. In Apple Music, lossless refers to lossless audio up to 48 kHz, and hi-resolution lossless refers to frequencies higher than 48 kHz and up to 192 kHz. Previously submitted deliveries to Apple Music and the iTunes Store will update to this format automatically and appear with a Lossless or Hi-Res Lossless badge.
Apple also accepts spatial audio and Apple Digital Masters that enhance the listener experience. Music delivered with spatial audio and Apple Digital Masters quality must meet specific requirements. Check out the iTunes Video and Audio Asset Guide for more details on our accepted media file types.
Every retail product has a unique identifier that links the product to the consumer, and music is no different. For music to be streamed or sold on Apple Music and the iTunes Store, each product (such as an album, EP, single, and video) must have a unique UPC, EAN, or JAN, and ISRC.
To ensure you can accurately count and track plays or purchases, we require the following identifiers upon delivery:
- UPC, EAN, and JAN. Every digital album receives an individual UPC upon delivery. A UPC (Universal Product Code), EAN (European Article Number), and JAN (Japanese Article Number) are noneditable unique identifiers for retail products. These unique identifiers — sometimes referred to as bar codes — are used for tracking and reporting sales. UPCs cannot be modified or used again.
- ISRC (International Standard Recording Code). Each song or music video requires an ISRC. An ISRC is a 12-character unique international identifier for individual tracks and music videos and can be obtained by contacting the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Once you have submitted your music with an ISRC, it cannot be edited.