Where did Spotify’s ‘set the same volume level for all tracks’ option go? How to get it back, and why it matters

Volume normalisation is everywhere, it’s here to stay, and will ultimately make the Loudness Wars a regrettable footnote in music history – I hope.

Spotify does it, iTunes Radio does it, and now YouTube does it.

So far, so familiar. But recently, more and more people have been asking

Where did Spotify’s ‘set the same volume level for all tracks’ option go ?

This was the option in Spotify’s preferences that allowed you to decide if you wanted volume normalisation on or not.

And now, it’s gone.

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FACEPALM: “It sounds great! Now can you make it louder ?” – My simple four-step solution

louder facepalm


It’s the question we all dread.

You finished the master, everyone is really happy, and then they hit you with it:

Can you just make it a bit louder ?

Because even though we know that loudness is pointless, even though we know that if you want to sound louder on YouTube, or iTunes Radio or Spotify or anywhere, the answer is to master with balanced dynamics – no-one else believes it yet.

The artists don’t believe it

The labels don’t believe it

The producers don’t believe it

The A&R people don’t believe it

And plenty of mastering engineers still don’t believe it, either !

Even though we know that:

No-one believes us.

They’ve bought into the myth, they’re feeling the FUD.

Don’t Panic

Luckily, they don’t have to believe us, because now we can show them. Quickly, and easily.

This strategy is free, non-techy and simple to implement.

Here it is: [Read more…]

So Taylor Swift is louder than Motorhead, AC/DC and The Sex Pistols… – wait, WHAT?

Loudness War - Taylor Swift versus AC/DC
(Click on the image for a larger version)

This is a 2015 re-boot of one of the first, and most popular memes I created for Dynamic Range Daynot a “Top 10″ as some sites have reported, it’s actually the “selected high (and low) -lights” of recorded music levels over the last few decades.

And the information it gives is just as crazy as it ever was.

As a result of the so-called loudness wars, mainstream pop releases are being pushed onto CD and into mp3 files at such high levels they’re technically much ‘hotter’ than some of the loudest acts in history, in an attempt to make them stand out from the competition.

Why is it crazy ? Because it doesn’t work.

None of these “loudness” differences will be audible in any of most popular places we listen to music.

Not on Spotify.

Not on iTunes Radio.

Not even on Youtube, any more !

And certainly not on radio or TV.

Replay volume is ‘normalised’ in all of these places, to improve the listener experience, because the number one source of complaints about audio is always big variations in loudness – we hate to have to keep adjusting the volume control.

So if you’re wondering – “why do people still bother?” – you’ve got a point!

It’s not all bad news

Take another look at that infographic, though.

There are some interesting features.

Look at the 2015 releases.

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YouTube loudness normalisation – The Good, The Questions and The Problem

youtube loudness
So, yesterday was the big headline:

YouTube just put the final nail in the Loudness War’s coffin

And the news has had a fantastic, positive response from almost everyone.

But there’s a problem, as I mentioned.

And I’ll get to that in a minute.

Before we start

First, I should be clear that everything here is based on research and speculation. As far as I know, there has been no official word from YouTube about normalisation at all. Which means…

This is a moving (dynamic ?) target

Some of what I say here will probably be wrong, or go out of date really fast. But for now, here’s what (I think) we know.

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