Apple’s “Mastered for iTunes” Engineering Guidelines May Become The Industry Standard


While the “Mastered for iTunes” guidelines have been in place and available to mixing and mastering engineers for more than three years, the launch of Apple Music is about to make the protocol a whole lot more ubiquitous and possibly make it the industry standard.

The Fader recently spoke with Mike Dean about what the this means for the music industry. Here’s what he told the site:

“They’re putting a limit on how loud you can be. It’s going to be like the movies soon. The sound on movies can’t go over a certain level. Same with TV. There’s written-in-stone TV levels that you can hit, volume levels. That’s why some commercials are louder than others: they take all the bass out and turn up all the midrange and it just sounds too loud. If they put a limit on how loud you can be, people will start manipulating shit to hack that. It’s gonna make people make shittier music.”

Although the guidelines aren’t mandatory to follow, they may be unavoidable for engineers and artists that are working with Apple and Apple Music.

“Keep in mind that Apple has sold more than 250 million iOS devices, and that many, many people around the world are listening to music on their iPods, iPhones, or iPads. You’re being provided with all the tools you’ll need to encode your masters precisely the same way the iTunes Store does.”

What do you think about Apple’s “Mastered for iTunes” engineering guidelines eventually becoming the industry standard? Will this benefit artists at all? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Shorty_dammit

    Everyone should just standardize on ReplayGain @ 89 dB. Every song in my >100 GB library already is anyway, as will every single addition to it until the day I die. Would just be one less step in my library maintenance routine, but would be better for everyone. Especially if they left all that dynamic range intact.