Digital distribution is now the dominant medium for consuming music. No longer is the CD the only digital format to prepare for.
Mastering has therefore had to adapt to ensure that the best possible quality results are achieved when taking into account the compressed formats used by stores such as iTunes.
At its heart the ‘Mastered for iTunes’ program requests that music professionals supply Apple with higher quality masters (24 Bit WAV at sample rates up to 192kHz) as source material for the compressed tracks made available for sale through the iTunes Store. This will allow Apple to create much improved sounding tracks in the 256 kbps AAC format used for the iTunes Store.
‘Mastered for iTunes’ is also highlighted in a new section on the iTunes Store to promote albums that have been submitted under the new guidelines or that have been resubmitted and sound distinctively better than previous versions available. This is a great opportunity for many artists and labels to run new promotion on back catalogue.
Apple have also released their new generation conversion tools that we now use at Blue Pro Mastering for any AAC files ordered, so you can accurately preview how your new masters should sound once they reach the store. The new generation conversion tools, as used by Apple, are designed to have the iTunes Store represent “music as the artist and sound engineer intended” and eliminate the once discussed gulf in quality with CD audio.
More and more artists are now taking advantage of the program in attempting to improve the quality of their music available through the world’s most popular music vendor.
NB: If you are considering remastering your project or have previously mastered at Blue Pro Mastering and wish to resubmit your material for the ‘Mastered For iTunes’ program and require 24 bit versions of your masters please contact us now.