What you need to know

  • Apple Music has unveiled a new Digital Masters initiative for high quality audio.
  • The project builds off Mastered for iTunes, which launched in 2012.
  • Many of the songs on Apple Music's Top 100 songs in the U.S. are part of Digital Masters.

Apple Music on Wednesday announced the launch of Digital Masters, a new initiative that puts "Mastered for iTunes" songs into a single streaming catalog.

Apple has apparently been working on Digital Masters for a while now but is finally acknowledging the initiative for the first time. Billboard writes:

Apple notes that the majority of top releases on Apple Music currently are Apple Digital Masters, with about 75% of the Top 100 in the U.S. and 71% of the Top 100 globally created under the program.

When Mastered for iTunes was created in 2012, the project gave engineers the tools to optimize their music for the digital download service. The goal was to provide listeners with files that sounded like what the sound engineer intended, with virtually no degradation from the original master recording.

Rival streaming services, including Tidal, offer similar high quality streaming, but you have to pay more per month. Tidal's HiFi subscription tier, for example, costs $19.99 per month.

It doesn't appear there's a separate section in Apple Music to listen to higher quality audio. But Apple is at least acknowledging that a lot of the music you hear is part of its Digital Masters project.

Apple Music Subscription

Apple Music is Apple's massive music service, comprising a subscription music catalog, iCloud Music Library syncing across your devices, Beats 1 live and algorithmic radio, customized playlists, and more artist exclusives than you can shake a stick at.

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