Apple Music versus Spotify – who are the REAL bad guys ?

evil apple

I recently wrote a post called Apple Music – will indie artists get their share, which prompted some interesting discussion. But the same questions can and should also be asked of Spotify.

Taylor Swift made this point recently in a Vanity Fair interview, and as a result Spotify​’s VP of Content and Distribution Sachin Doshi, got asked some tough questions in a new post on the Music Business Worldwide site.

He answered some of those questions, and carefully avoided answering some of the others directly. You can read the full post here:

Taylor Swift thinks Spotify is a “corporate machine”. You be the judge.

But here are a couple of quotes that jumped out at me:
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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 Apple Music 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…]

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

youtube loudness
So, yesterday was the big headline:

YouTube has started using playback loudness normalisation

So from now on you’ll hear more consistent playback volume from videos on YouTube, regardless of how “loud” they were when they were uploaded. To read more about what this means, and why it’s important, click here.

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

But there’s a problem, as I mentioned in my original post.

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

This is HUGE.

It may not look like much, but if you’re involved in music production, recording, mixing or mastering, this image could be the most important thing you’ll see all year.

What is it ?

It’s the loudness output of a YouTube playlist, as measured by the MeterPlugs LCast loudness meter.

So what ?

First – it’s quiet. The loudness levels are all quite low, especially by modern “loudness war” standards.

Second – it’s very consistent. More importantly than the low loudness, they’re almost all playing at the same loudness.
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