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In this free bonus course, author and recording engineer Bobby Owsinski explains best practices for mastering music and audio destined for sale on Apple iTunes with their new Mastered for iTunes high-resolution audio program. Bobby demonstrates how to use all of the Mastered for iTunes and iTunes Plus tools used in this process, such as AURoundTripAAC, which allows you to instantly compare the quality of the iTunes Plus AAC file format to your source file. He wraps up with an explanation of the Test Pressing feature, which allows you to preview and approve the encoded file before it's published on the iTunes Store.
Master for iTunes is a program that Apple introduced in 2012 where the iTunes store accepts high-resolution master files and provides higher-quality AAC encodes as a result. Music files that are supplied at 96 kHz, 24-bit, will have a Master for iTunes icon placed beside them to identify them as such, although any sample rate that's 24-bit file will be considered. Master for iTunes does not mean that a mixer, producer, or mastering facility does anything special to the master except to check for what it'll sound like before it's submitted to iTunes and then check it later again before it's posted in the iTunes store.
All encoding for iTunes will be done by Apple, not by the mastering house, record label, or artist. The reason for this is to keep the encodes consistent and to prevent anyone from gaming the system by hacking the encoder. This also avoids any potential legal problems that might occur when a mixer, producer, or mastering house sends the files directly to iTunes without the label's permission or uses different submission specs. Master for iTunes is only an indication that a high-res master was applied, it's not a separate product. There will always be only one version of the song on iTunes, and it will be available at the same price regardless of whether it's mastered for iTunes or not.
Master for iTunes doesn't mean that the song will cost more in the iTunes store or doesn't mean the iTunes will charge for you for the service. Everything is like it was before, you just apply a high-res master so it ultimately sounds better to the listener.
There are currently no FAQs about Mastering for iTunes.
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