Apple Music Launches 'Digital Masters' Initiative Out of Old 'Mastered for iTunes' Program

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Apple Music today announced a new initiative called the "Apple Digital Masters" program, which aims to combine all of its "Mastered for iTunes" songs into one streaming catalog (via Billboard).

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    According to Apple, it's slowly been introducing Mastered for iTunes songs into Apple Music for some time. The company said that 75 percent of the Top 100 songs in the U.S. are Apple Digital Masters, and 71 percent of the Top 100 global songs are also part of the new program.

    Apple began the Mastered for iTunes program in 2012, allowing engineers to optimize music for the digital download format by encoding from high-resolution masters. This placed the iTunes songs as close to possible as the original master recordings, and were designated specially as "Mastered for iTunes" in the store.

    In Apple Music, Apple doesn't designate whether a song is under its Digital Masters program or not. Still, for people who care about lossless audio, it's a good sign that the company has formally acknowledged a plan to move forward with adding more high-quality audio tracks to Apple Music.

    Numerous other streaming music services have lossless audio plans that are priced separately from the standard streaming tiers. Namely, Tidal offers a HiFi subscription for $19.99/month (compared to the base $9.99/month plan) that lets users stream lossless audio on demand.

    Article Link: Apple Music Launches 'Digital Masters' Initiative Out of Old 'Mastered for iTunes' Program
     
  2. dannyyankou macrumors G3

    dannyyankou

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    How about the studio masters in lossless bit rate? That would be nice.
     
  3. Bswails macrumors regular

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    Im still hoping Apple will just buy Tidal and input all the good from them into Apple Music..but I’m glad to see them start someplace
     
  4. jonblatho macrumors 65816

    jonblatho

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    The article seems to muddy the waters on this, but Mastered for iTunes (and Apple Digital Masters, presumably) isn't lossless. People who "care about lossless audio," though I'm not one of them, are unlikely to be all that impressed by this. It's an improvement over standard Apple Music tracks, but the tracks are still certainly lossy.
     
  5. rosegoldoli macrumors regular

    rosegoldoli

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    i would pay double for hifi music from apple music. tim if you're lurking get on with it
     
  6. francism macrumors newbie

    francism

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    #6
    The file format is the same, the file size is the same, so Mastered for iTunes tracks are as lossy as the others. How different do these sound when compared to regular, but remastered music (for CD or vinyl)?
     
  7. SoundJudgment, Aug 7, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019

    SoundJudgment macrumors regular

    SoundJudgment

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    In addition to a Lossless format ... I would like to see ANY Distribution of Classic Rock songs that *don't* play back at a 3% higher audio-pitch than the studio song was originally recorded at... decades ago. I know... I know... it's just a pipe-dream.
     
  8. cipher29 macrumors regular

    cipher29

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    I personally would pay 2x my monthly subscription cost for lossless audio..
     
  9. now i see it macrumors 68040

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    but listened to via $15 earbuds through the iPhone DAC.
    Hi-Fi on an iPhone is an oxymoron
     
  10. gigatoaster macrumors 6502

    gigatoaster

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    You guys should try Roon but it’s not on the go unfortunately.
     
  11. vthree macrumors member

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  12. happyprozak macrumors member

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    There are many claims from people that they believe lossless sounds better but there has yet to be a study where people can prove it in a blind test. It is very easy to be fooled into thinking something sounds better, a placebo type of effect occurs and people do not realize it.

    Apple pushing properly mastered music does a lot more for sound quality than simply pushing lossless will ever do.
     
  13. Rogifan macrumors Core

    Rogifan

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    One thing I hate about Apple Music is music is at different volume levels, some songs are louder than others. And often times if I listen to something on YouTube and then the same thing in Apple Music without changing the volume the YouTube song is louder. I get that louder doesn’t mean better but I’m still not impressed with the sound quality of songs on Apple Music.
     
  14. JeffPerrin, Aug 7, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019

    JeffPerrin macrumors 6502

    JeffPerrin

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    Backstory on 'Mastered for iTunes':

    Lossy formats are unforgiving with loud audio levels or peaking near the clipping point. "Mastered for iTunes" gives producers the tools and information to encode and monitor their audio so that it does not clip or distort when encoded to iTunes' lossy format. It's pretty much about making lossy-encoded music suck less. :p

    This latest announcement, however, is likely just marketing speak since Apple is ditching the iTunes moniker for it's Music service...
     
  15. macmyworld macrumors 6502

    macmyworld

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    #15
    As others have noted, this doesn’t appear to be an increase in bitrate/decrease in compression. Apple Music doesn’t compare to Tidal for sound quality.

    Master recordings were a big thing for LPs and CDs. I’m not understanding why improving what they compress will make that big of a difference.

    Why not just offer lossless for those who want it? Bandwidth is cheap now.

    I love the convenience of Apple Music but not the sound on a good system.
     
  16. B/D macrumors regular

    B/D

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    Yes, I don´t understand. What are the real life implications?. Can we now see all the albums mastered for itunes/apple digital master in one place in Apple Music?. If so, how?-
     
  17. chopdog macrumors member

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    Really? I'd love to know - give me an example or 3 ?
     
  18. smileman macrumors regular

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    #18
    Ditto.

    The only thing keeping me on Apple Music is Apple Watch integration.

    If either Tidal or Qobuz comes out with a good Apple Watch app, and Apple Music doesn't start supporting Hi-Res, then it will be sayonara Apple Music...
     
  19. CaTOAGU macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Pretty much this.

    Even on very expensive gear into the $10k range it's nearly impossible to tell the difference between a well encoded 256kbps AAC track and a lossless track at any bitrate/resolution. Correct mastering matters FAR more than simply releasing lossless tracks will ever do.

    If audio quality matters to you, invest in a better pair of headphones and/or speakers. A good separates amplifier even a very modestly priced one will do a better job than the one in your phone. If you're using speakers, good quality cable matters, it doesn't really matter what (digital) coax, hdmi or optical cable you use. You can build from there if you want. Only after you've exhausted all those details to the point you're flat broke and close to ruin should you even consider lossless audio as an option, and even then you're better off spending the money on whisky.
     
  20. Marco Klobas macrumors regular

    Marco Klobas

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    Apple Music, as other streaming services, is good to discover new albums/songs/artists and to keep conveniently your music in the cloud.

    As far audio quality goes, I'd like a tier offering lossless audio. A little more expensive, of course, I'd not complain.
     
  21. DotCom2 macrumors 601

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    Isn't that what the "Sound Check" option is for? Or is that for something else?
     
  22. jeffkoontz macrumors newbie

    jeffkoontz

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    If you want to get into the weeds of why mastered for itunes might be better than any old AAC file, Apple provides a pretty thorough breakdown on how their process limits clipping, aliasing, dithering, etc. here: https://images.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/docs/mastered_for_itunes.pdf

    Apple lossless through Apple Music (ala Tidal HD) would be nice, however, I do question how many people consider where their weak links are.. If you are listening to music via bluetooth through a car that doesnt event support AAC - you'd totally be wasting bandwidth. Even if you listen through proprietary Beats/Apple headphones/earpods via bluetooth you are still going to convert to AAC when the signal goes out to your phones. So, yes it would be great for everyone listening to Apple Music while wearing lightning connected headphones with a quality D/A converter, but what Apple is doing with Mastered for iTunes is probably really good for most real world use situations.
     
  23. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816

    ZMacintosh

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  24. smaffei macrumors regular

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    Coming from the cassette and CD generation, all of this music sounds WAY better than what I grew up on.
     
  25. Rogifan macrumors Core

    Rogifan

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    I don’t know but I’m constantly having to adjust the volume up and down in Apple Music.
     

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