Apple Music launches ‘Apple Digital Masters’ initiative for a new global catalog

Apple Music has just launched a new initiative that aims to bring a brand new global playlist to the fore.

“Apple Digital Masters” combines all of the company’s previous “Mastered for iTunes” into a global catalog. Billboard has the report on Wednesday, which states that Apple has been “unveiling for some time” the new effort.

Launched in 2012, Mastered for iTunes created a set of guidelines and software tools (distributed for free) that allowed engineers to optimize their music for the digital download service format by encoding from high-resolution masters. The goal of the program was 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.

Apple has been inserting the mastered versions of songs within Apple Music for a while now. Just within the Top 100 songs of the U.S., for example, 75 percent of that is all the updated Apple Digital Masters. Meanwhile, in the Top 100 songs globally, 71 percent is Digital Masters.

The inclusion of lossless audio within Apple Music is a nice touch, even if it’s not as readily available as some might like. What’s more, Apple isn’t going out of its way to identify which songs are part of the Digital Masters program, so you won’t see a label calling them out.

The best news here is that if Apple continues to expand lossless audio, it doesn’t seem to indicate that the company plans on charging separately, or any additional money per month for access. Does that mean we’ll have a full Apple Music catalog of lossless audio? We’ll have to wait and see. Even if that is the plan, though, it will certainly take time.