After sitting on a stockpile of high-resolution audio masters for a while now, Apple has finally decided to launch its often rumored hi-res streaming service, joining the ranks of other platforms like TIDAL and Deezer, who also provide this premium quality tier.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
I’ve been predicted this would happen for a couple of years and now it’s finally here. Apple has taken its treasure trove of high-resolution audio masters and launched a new “initiative” called Apple Digital Masters.
Details are sketchy and the only announcement has come through Billboard so far, but an Apple hi-res streaming component has been whispered for ages. It makes sense in that the company has been collecting hi-res masters since 2012 under its Mastered For iTunes program, or MFIT.
Under MFIT, the preferred resolution for submission has been 96kHz/24 bit, but Apple actually considers anything that’s 24 bit to be hi-res.
Apple claims that the majority of top releases on Apple Music currently are now available as 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. It’s suggesting that more of the catalog will be converted to Digital Masters soon.
There are other streaming services that offer high-resolution tiers, most notably Tidal, but also Deezer, Qobuz and Primephonic. The difference is that you pay more (usually $19.95) to access the lossless hi-res tiers on those services. It looks like you won’t pay anything extra to receive a similar experience on Apple Music from now on.