iTunes Launches “Mastered For iTunes” Section – What It Means To You?

Apple has announced a new section in the iTunes store entitled Mastered for iTunes. If you are thinking this is another scam by the majors to get you to buy classic albums you already ow you are partially right. I am sure many of these records now have a fresh new coat of mastering on them and some of the releases in this section are actually current and new releases. In fact, throughout the white paper on the subject Apple makes no reference to any practices that would ensure you master for iTunes as compared to what you would normally do to master a great sounding record int he digital world. This really seems like a way to revitalize the iTunes Plus platform which tacks on an extra 30 cents to each download for a higher quality download.

So what does this mean for DIY artists? Honestly, not much until aggregators like TuneCore and ReverbNation will allow you to add to this section. You could tell your fans you mastered your record for iTunes (since that’s what most mastering engineers are doing these days anyway, it is in no way a lie) but unless you are going through one of the more exclusive digital distribution companies (IODA, The Orchard, Ingrooves, etc) you are most likely not going to get to take advantage of this prestigious title.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.

  • Ander

    The white paper seemed to suggest that If you have a master recording at higher fidelity than CDs (which are 44.1khz, 16-bit; you can record, mix and master at sampling frequencies and bit depths much higher than that) they are interested in collecting those high resolution recordings from you to beging as some sort of archive consistent to match what releases they offer in the store.

    It does appear to only be available to acts/labels with direct iTunes accounts so there may be no benefit for less-established/budgeted indies there, but if you’re paying a ton for higher quality recordings you’re probably not just starting out.

  • Paul D

    What it means to me as a DIY musician? In art vs convenience, convenience is winning.

  • Alan

    What’s the point? Its still MP3 @ 320kps? If they’re trying to reach out to the audiophiles, they’re going to have to do better than a remastered MP3. Here’s an idea: Rather than a standard stereo mix, a binaural mix to cater to the majority of iTunes consumers listening on their headphones. This would actually create a whole new listening experience and justify a repurchase. I don’t see this happening though. Re-mixing costs are considerably larger than re-mastering and would require labels physically going through their archives and digging out old master recordings (most of which are still on tape). The end wouldnt justify the means and defeats the whole idea of making a quick buck.