You may have noticed that with the introduction of iOS 13 and macOS Catalina, Apple’s iTunes software application has disappeared from the Mac and been replaced by three separate apps: Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts. The iTunes Store does still exist, however is now housed within the Apple Music application.
In 2012, Apple introduced the ‘Mastered for iTunes’ format. Whether consumers purchased a song as a standard digital download or a Mastered for iTunes version, they still received the same AAC file from the iTunes Store. The difference lay in the files that were supplied by the mastering studio.
To receive the ‘Mastered for iTunes’ or ‘Apple Digital Master’ badge, mastering engineers and studios are required to be an Apple-certified mastering partner, and supply files where the true peak levels are below 0dbTP, 24bit, and at the highest possible sample rate. Upsampling is not permitted, however 44.1kHz is still accepted if the song is recorded at that rate. The reasoning is that the AAC encoder produces a better result from high-resolution files that do not have true peaks at or above 0dbTP.
Despite the rebrand from ‘Mastered for iTunes’ to ‘Apple Digital Masters’, mastering engineer submission guidelines remain the same and you’ll still be able to preserve the highest-possible quality master for digital distribution through Apple Music.
You can book your Apple Digital Masters here at 301 Mastering as a standalone master, or as a second format.