What is Apple Digital Masters?

Here are a few quick facts about Apple Digital Masters:

  • A simple digital audio workflow, encoding, and submission process
  • Developed specifically for Apple Music and the iTunes Store
  • Stellar sound at optimal file sizes

To learn more and get started, visit Apple Digital Masters.

How does Apple Digital Masters work?

Apple accepts 24-bit high-resolution masters at 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz resolution for submission directly through our standard workflows. We then convert these high-resolution files into our industry-leading 256K AAC format utilizing our very latest proprietary software encoder. Your music is then prepared for Apple Music and the iTunes Store.

To learn more and get started, visit Apple Digital Masters

Will the file format change?

No. The final file delivered to the consumer is in our industry-leading 256K AAC iTunes Plus format.

What is the price of Apple Digital Masters songs and albums?

There is no change to pricing on the iTunes Store. This process will ultimately be the new standard for all music available on the iTunes Store but is being introduced initially with select albums and songs that showcase the incredible results.

How can I become an Apple Digital Masters mastering studio?

You'll need to:

  • Review the Apple Digital Masters documentation thoroughly.
  • Create a separate adaptive master specifically for iTunes.
  • Listen to the final result in the iTunes Plus format to make sure it's right.
  • Contact your iTunes Label Representative to be put in touch with an Apple Digital Masters specialist.

What is the difference between regular audio and Apple Digital Masters audio?

Apple Digital Masters is all about the quality of the source. 24-bit audio has a remarkably wide dynamic range which is preserved during encoding to AAC and these files are virtually indistinguishable from the original. Some of the best audio engineers in the business have a hard time telling them apart even on high-end audio equipment. Experts may be able to tell you that they are different in some subtle ways, but they can't necessarily tell you which one they like better. This isn't about AAC vs. CD or vinyl. It's about creating the best possible master for the unique characteristics of each medium.

What exactly do you mean by "Music the way the artist and recording engineer intended?"

At Apple, we strive to give you both powerful and practical software tools to create and polish your professional creative work. We want the music to sound as close as possible to the way it did in the studio or in the concert hall, preserving your vision and intention.

Our goal is to provide audio transparency using this new process. It's not good enough to simply deliver tools that will do a "decent job" rendering compressed audio files for the iTunes Store customers. We want artists and sound engineers to be thoroughly satisfied and proud of the results they can now achieve in our format. So we have worked very hard to provide both the monitoring and quality assessment tools, plus an end-to-end mastering and encoding process that delivers the best possible audio for today's digital world.

Up until this point, only the most resourceful musicians and sound engineers have been able to cobble together tools and processes necessary to approach these kinds of results. Now that they are freely available and documented, we can treat digital downloads with care and further the craft of recording and mastering for years to come as the transition to digital is completed. After over ten years of R&D working directly with artists, producers, and sound engineers, Apple Digital Masters high-quality digital audio has arrived.


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