Essentially what you will do is sign up two versions of the album with CD Baby, one that will use 16 bit 44.1 kHz files and will be used for CD Baby and all of our partners except for iTunes, and another version that will then use the 24 bit audio files for iTunes (keep in mind this means 2 paid submissions). You will also need a unique barcode for the Apple Digital Masters release (2 paid barcodes total). So in total, this requires 2 paid submissions and 2 paid barcodes.
NOTE: If you want CD Baby Pro, only sign up the 16-bit submission for Pro and sign up the Apple Digital Masters submission for Standard. Alternatively, if you’re ONLY interested in distribution to iTunes/Apple Music, then one Standard submission/UPC will suffice.
Setting Up Your Submissions
For the first submission, you will need to be sure to exclude iTunes when you are setting the digital distribution level.
For the second submission, you will exclude ALL other companies aside from iTunes. You will still fill out all of the songwriter, language, publisher, and other information and upload the Artwork. You will simply not upload the audio. Those will be sent in a special way (which is detailed below)
When setting up the submission for the Apple Digital Masters audio, on the Distribution Options page, be sure to check ONLY the box for “Apple iTunes.” Please note that if you want to include Apple Music, you MUST select “Downloads & Streaming” and still uncheck everything but “Apple iTunes.”
IMPORTANT NOTE: In order for a title to be labeled as "Mastered for iTunes," the mastering house you are using must be on the Apple Digital Masters Providers List. Ask your mastering house if you’re not sure.
Sending the Files to CD Baby
Once the Apple Digital Masters submission is in place and paid for you will send us a link to the 24-bit files and we will manually make the delivery to iTunes. Make sure the subject line says "Apple Digital Masters".
Please include the following information in an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- CD Baby Username:
- UPC for the Apple Digital Masters submission:
- Artist Name:
- Album or Single Title:
- Name of Mastering House:
- Mastering Engineer’s Name:
- Engineer's Email Address:
- Apple Digital Masters files download link:
You can use whatever file transfer service you prefer – DropBox, Hightail, Google Drive, WeTransfer, etc.
After you have emailed email@example.com, you will receive a response from one of the Apple Digital Masters specialists in 2-7 business days from the receipt of the email and communication between the two will begin. Please allow for 7 days, as this is a manual and labor-intensive process. It doesn’t always take that long, but please allow for that much time.
Once everything is in order, the specialist will request inspection which should take 2-7 days. If there are any issues with inspection, the specialists will communicate that with you.
Once all of the files and information are formatted correctly and the submission passes the inspection guidelines, we will deliver your content to iTunes which takes 5-7 business days to make the content live, depending on your release date.
Mastering Houses Looking to Become Certified for Apple Digital Masters
If an Engineer or Mastering House wants to become certified and is working with a CD Baby artist they should:
- Review the Apple Digital Masters documentation thoroughly.
- Create a separate adaptive master specifically for iTunes.
- Listen to the final result in the iTunes Plus format to make sure it's right.
- Contact their iTunes Label Representative to be put in touch with an Apple Digital Masters specialist.
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