Well, here we are in September 2021 and Tonehaus is officially an Apple Digital Masters approved mastering house! That means when you upload your album to CDBaby, DistroKid, TuneCore or other digital distribution hub, we can also provide you with a set of high resolution masters directly for all of them, including iTunes.
On August 30, 2021, both Apple and Primephonic issued statements that they were joining forces. Primephonic says “Three years ago, Primephonic was launched to create a better future for classical music by addressing the challenges and complexities of the genre for the streaming era. We felt compelled to develop a streaming service that truly gets classical right—so that’s what we did over the last 3 years. But to fully achieve the next phase of our mission, we need to bring our classical streaming expertise to millions of listeners worldwide.”
The Apple press release reads: “With the addition of Primephonic, Apple Music subscribers will get a significantly improved classical music experience beginning with Primephonic playlists and exclusive audio content. In the coming months, Apple Music Classical fans will get a dedicated experience with the best features of Primephonic, including better browsing and search capabilities by composer and by repertoire, detailed displays of classical music metadata, plus new features and benefits.”
Personally, I have been slightly to very unsatisfied with Apple/iTunes and streaming in general over the years. Please allow me to elaborate; as a lover of sound, it should be no surprise that it is hard to be get excited about listening to highly compressed mp3s that miss all of the detail. As a classical music listener, I know I’m not the only one finding the limited metadata frustrating.
In any case, in the past I’ve subscribed to both the Tidal HiFi and Spotify Premium. Bottom line is that as a mastering engineer, it always hurts to hear the beautiful masters downsampled to “CD Quality” 44.1kHz/16bit, but it is a disappointment that we endure over and over. Part of the job. Streaming will never be as good as listening to hi-resolution master files, but at least with the newer options we as consumers are getting the ability to hear higher bit depth resolutions, even if the streams are using AAC compression, and the bit depth makes the biggest difference in the listening experience. The fact that you now have the option to get your music out there in 24 bit and higher sample rates like 48kHz and 96kHz is a very big deal, and we highly recommend taking advantage of as high of resolution you can for your distribution.