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Carl's Car Wash - Super Simple. Casey Anthony's Parents Speak. Catherine Tate's Nan: Specials. Celebrity Plastic Surgeons of Beverly Hills. Charlie's Chelsea Garden You see the problem, right? A song is made of quieter and more agitated moments.
Why Spotify Lowered the Volume of Songs and Ended Hegemonic Loudness
In real life, a guitar alone doesn't have the same intensity as when the drums join in. When compression occurs in an exaggerated way, it makes everything louder, which ends up stealing the dynamics away from the music itself. It's like listening to that one loud friend of yours who always yells when they're drunk.
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In addition to being bothersome, it also becomes monotonous after awhile. You hear the sound of the muffled voice. The drums seem like the performer is playing with a toothpick. This is all a result of very compressed and limited audio. While trying to boost the sound, they end up sacrificing its quality.
Even with this knowledge, producers, artists, and record companies prefer to bet on loud sound that's full of compression. Among other concerns, there's the thought that a sound stands out more in comparison with the work of other artists when it's louder. Sadly, for most untrained ears, loudness is mistaken for a sign of quality. The dispute to see which artists created the loudest songs initiated the " Loudness Wars. The race for the highest volume started in tandem with the emergence of the digital age of music, back when CDs became the main form of sound distribution.
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Prior to that, when vinyl reigned, there were physical limitations that ensured the compression wouldn't become muddy; a record that produced loud enough sounds could make the needle jump, which would ruin the entire musical experience. Those limits ended with the dawn of the CD. It was as if a road with no speed limits had been paved, and compression gained even more traction.
Moreover, in the vinyl era, it was normal to listen to an entire album by the same artist. The immediate comparison between works from different records and different artists did not exist, so there was no need to make one track stand out from the other by volume. This practice began to fade with the introduction of the CD, which made it easier to change the disc on the stereo, and went even further with MP3 players, which introduced the option to play songs on shuffle.
Nowadays, in the era of playlists, it's difficult to find people who listen to two songs by the same artist back to back. As a result, produced music has become compressed and louder. Check out a chart generated by the site Sample Magic. To make matters worse, lack of momentum isn't the only side effect of excessive compression. When you enforce boundaries on a sound wave, you create distortions in the actual waves, which can create distortions in the music.
One of the records that symbolizes just how far a band will go to boost compression in order to gain volume is Metallica's Death Magnetic. At the time of its release in , many fans complained about the sound madness found on the disc: There were no auditory dynamics and many moments of pure distortion.
Months later, the band released the game Guitar Hero: Metallica , which featured remastered, quieter versions of the same songs which, within the game, had to compete with other Metallica songs from other albums.
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Researchers at the University Hospital of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark, and the University of Aalborg published a study comparing the two versions of the album. Below, you can see the comparison of a second stretch of the song "My Apocalypse. By reducing the LUFS index, Spotify is telling the music industry that there's no use in trying to sound louder than everyone else. Everything that comes into the platform will sound and be on the same level.
Even if something is mastered very loudly, the volume will be automatically reduced. Of course, this serves to standardize the streaming service as TV channels previously had done with their commercials, but apart from benefiting the service itself, Spotify will force the industry to work differently.
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The songs will have to draw attention to other aspects that go beyond the volume. The door to more dynamic sounds is wide open. In other words, the songs with loudness above LUFS sounds lower on Spotify compared to those that have been compressed below the magic number.
At the time of the video, Spotify's standardization standard was still LUFS and the music had not been mastered specifically for the platform, however, the result of the national artist was much better than that of the elderly metalheads.