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A recording studio with a lot of equipment. A recording studio with a lot of equipment.

What is mastering?

2 min read

This process is carried out by a mastering engineer.

Mastering is the final step in the recording and production process.

What is mastering?

Once the is done, it’s time for mastering. Mastering is when a adjusts a to enhance the and prepare the for .

To read more about the role of a mastering engineer, read our page about Engineers in our Recording topic.

Mastering a sound recording is the final step in the process before sound recordings are prepared for distribution in various forms. When producing the mastered version, , , , and are adjusted to enhance the overall sound.

Mastering is also the stage when should be encoded into the sound recording file. If the sound recording is released by a , the label will usually supply the mastering engineer with the ISCRs and other to encode into the sound recording file. If you are a , it is your responsibility to ensure that is the case.

Read our topic Getting Credited and Paid to learn more about ISRCs and metadata.

creators or artists with their own label can register with a recognized ISRC agency in their region to get an ISRC for their sound recordings. It is also common for the ISRC to be assigned via a such as an .

Learn more about distributors and aggregators in our Music Ecosystem topic.

You can find a list of ISRC agencies on the IFPI/ISRC website.

Once the mastering is done, the sound recording is ready for release in all different formats. We have more information on that in our Distribution and Marketing topic.

How does mastering affect rights?

Mastering engineers usually receive compensation for their work from the recording studio, record label, or other sound recording owner and, therefore, don’t have any rights in the sound recording.

Since the selection of the contributions to the final sound recording is made during the mixing process, the mastering process does not affect which and performers are entitled to what rights and in the , which by then has already been determined.

To learn more about contributor roles, rights, and royalty splits, visit our Songwriting and Recording topics.

Image credit: Tiffany Orvet