This Survival Guide is designed to help you get your audio files ready for distribution with TuneCore. Whether it’s a single or an album you’re releasing, iTunes/Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify and other digital stores have certain requirements when it comes to the audio files they accept. Makes sense, right? They want music with high-quality sound, which makes them, and you, look better.
In order to properly upload your music to TuneCore for distribution to the digital stores, all audio files need to meet certain specs.
Audio Format Checklist
– 16 bit (sample size)
– 44.1 kHz (sample rate)
– 1411 kbps (bit rate) stereo WAV files
How to Convert
If the words above don’t mean much to you (bit rate? whaaa?), we can help.
You can use your iTunes mobile or desktop app to convert your files into the required format.
Just click here for step-by-step instructions on converting your audio through iTunes.
Follow these instructions to convert your audio to 16 bit (sample size), 44.1 kHz (sample rate), 1411 kbps (bit rate) stereo WAV files in iTunes before you upload to TuneCore:
- Open the iTunes application on your computer.
- Search for your song(s) in your iTunes Music Library and highlight it (do this by clicking once on the song).
- Go to Preferences (On a Mac, this is under the iTunes drop down menu. On a PC, iTunes Version 10 or older, this is under the Edit drop down menu. On a PC, iTunes Version 11, this is under the square icon on the top left of your iTunes window).
- Once you’ve clicked Preferences ,make sure you are on the General tab. Go down to where it says Import Settings (if you have an older version of iTunes, you may have to click where it says Advanced and then click on Import Settings).
- Change Import Using to WAV Encoder . Then click to change Setting to Custom and a new window will open.
- In the Custom window, change the Sample Rate to 44.1 kHz and Sample Size to 16 bit . Make sure Channels says Stereo and Stereo Mode says Normal . Then continue clicking OK until you are back to your iTunes library.
- With your song title(s) still highlighted right click and select Create WAV version. Your song(s) will immediately begin converting. If you have a newer version of iTunes you may need to go to File , click Convert and “Create WAV Version”
- Once the song has finished converting, you will see that the highlighted song(s) is the old version. We recommend you drag the newly converted file(s) (not highlighted) to a folder on your desktop directly from the iTunes library so you will be able to find it later.
If you’re using an audio converting website that is not professional software or iTunes, it’s a good idea to convert your audio again in iTunes afterwards, just to make sure the files are in tip top shape for distribution. Some converting programs can hide coding within your files, which can make them unrecognizable by the digital stores.
Artists often ask us if they can embed metadata (e.g. producer and composer information, band websites, or even artwork) into their audio files. Unfortunately the answer is no—the digital stores don’t accept these kinds of files. If you upload embedded files into your TuneCore account, this will likely cause a delivery issue and result in your music not going live in stores.
But don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get your important release information to the stores. During the distribution process you’re prompted to enter your album title, artist name, song titles, genre, etc., and we send that information to the digital stores to be displayed with your album.
After you upload your tracks in your TuneCore account, you’ll see that a ‘play’ button has appeared next to each song listing. Take a listen and make sure you uploaded the correct file.
Don’t be alarmed if the playback of your song isn’t as high in quality as your original file. This lower quality is only in the playback feature, and does not affect the file going to stores. We deliver the highest-quality file that each store accepts, usually the exact same file that you uploaded.