Steve Kitch Mastering Final Format Guide
iTunes, Spotfiy, Amazon, Google Play, Rdio, Deezer, Rhapsody, Tidal, Beatport, YouTube + many more
Format required: 16 bit 44.1khz WAV
If you’re playing on selling or streaming your music online then you’ll need 16bit 44.1khz stereo WAV files. An online aggravator will distribute your music through your choice of retailers. They will covert the files to their propriety, compressed format such as 256kpbs AAC (iTunes) and 320kbps Ogg Vorbis (Spotify Premium). This is the most popular format and supplied as standard.
Mastered for iTunes
Format required: 24bit 44.1 – 96khz WAV
iTunes are allowing artists to supply higher resolution masters which are marketed as “Mastered for iTunes”. You will need to check to see if your online distributor supports this format. Only mastering engineers that are Mastered for iTunes certified can supply compatible masters. Steve Kitch was one of the first mastering engineers to sign up to supply this format.
Format required: DDP
The best format for CD duplication is DDP (Disc Description Protocol). This is a digital format which can be uploaded online for speedy delivery. It has an error checking system built in ensuring that the master can’t get corrupted. Steve Kitch Mastering supply an accompanying Mac/PC software player which allows you to load the DDP, check order, gaps, text, codes etc. From this software, you can also burn your own CD reference copies and create WAVs.
Format Required: 24-bit WAV files with sample rates 44.1k and higher.
Most vinyl plants allow you to supply masters in a high resolution. Supplying a file for each side means you can specify your own gaps. It’s recommended to go for more dynamic/less limited masters since there are no loudness wars. It also sounds better!
Format Required: 16/24 bit 48khz
If you have a publishing/syncing company then check to see what formats they prefer hold on file. A lot of publishing companies will request instrumental versions to help with syncing with TV and film. Its best to master the original and any variations at the same time to save on costs. However all settings are archived in case you need to supply these at a later date.