Apple Music has launched Apple Digital Masters, a new initiative by the Apple that combines all of its “Mastered for iTunes” offerings into one global catalog for higher quality music. Billboard reports that this is the company’s first public acknowledgement of the initiative, which it has been quietly unveiling for some time.
The goal of the “Mastered for iTunes” program is to create studio-quality sound files virtually identical to the original master recordings (aka "lossless" audio), which were then placed in a special “Mastered for iTunes” section on the app.
In order for a release to be branded “Mastered for iTunes” in the iTunes music store, aAudio must be delivered at 24-bit resolution as a WAV file. Acceptable sample rates are 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz. Masters must have been created by a mastering house on the "Mastered for iTunes Provider List.” There are other requirements that can be found by clicking here.
Billboard says that, per Apple, 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.