Apple has announced a new thing called Apple Digital Masters. Except it’s not really new at all: it’s something that the company has been “slowly rolling out” for some time now, without shouting about it. The fact that it’s willing to now is significant though: Apple Digital Masters is Apple’s brand for its higher-resolution digital music – “uncompromising studio sound, virtually indistinguishable from the original master recordings” as the press release put it, complete with approving quotes from pianist Lang Lang, artist and producer Don Was, and Gustavo Dudamel of the LA Philharmonic.
Tracks that have been mastered using Apple’s specific encoder (which it has distributed for free to mastering engineers) will now be branded as Apple Digital Masters across both Apple Music and iTunes. And as a sign that this quiet rollout has been pretty far-reaching: “75% of the Top 100 songs in the US and 71% of Top 100 globally are created from Apple Digital Masters” already.