Streaming Loudness in 2022 is 95 Percent Normalized

As far as I can tell, 95% of the music you're hearing online is normalized, in 2022.

But what does that mean, and how did I come to that conclusion ? And most importantly, why should you care ?

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De-clipping Adele - was I wrong?

 
Adele recently shared an informal "laptop recording" of her song "To Be Loved" on her YouTube channel – and it's great. A raw, authentic "real life" recording with a beautiful performance.

Unfortunately, her voice was simply too powerful for the mic on her laptop and as a result the louder moments of the song are absolutely bathed in distortion, which I think is a real shame.

I shared this comment on Facebook, and despite many people agreeing with me, I also got several comments from people saying they didn't mind the distortion, they felt it was more real and authentic than a cleaned-up version.

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Does Adele really sound better on YouTube ? And if so, WHY?!?

 
Adele's latest single "Easy On Me" doesn't use a click track or autotune, but it is still mastered pretty loud. At least on CD, that is.

On YouTube that doesn't seem to be the case, though - and the loudness is just the beginning of the story. This video shows several ways that the YouTube version sounds different to other streaming platforms, and suggests some reasons why that might be.

Does the long quiet introduction give this video a secret "loudness advantage" after normalization? Is the difference in sound just a trick of the ear, because of the sound effects? What about the numbers? Are the differences just caused by different codecs? And most importantly, how loud is it? Does the loudness suit the material, and is it necessary to convey the artistic intention?

Take a listen, and see what you think!
 
 

Streaming Loudness - AES Recommendations 2021, and why you should care

The Audio Engineering Society just released an updated set of guidelines for streaming loudness, code-named TD1008.

But they're not for you!

They're not for artists, or producers, or recording, mixing & mastering engineers. They're not even for music aggregators like CD Baby or Distrokid. They're exclusively for online radio stations and streaming services like YouTube, Spotify and TIDAL - the services that distribute the audio to our devices and computers.

So, why am I bothering to tell you about them ?!?

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Dolby Atmos – Surround sound on headphones ? REALLY ?!?

Apple recently announced that they were adding Spatial Audio support to Apple Music, including the ability to stream and listen to Dolby Atmos surround mixes - even on headphones or earbuds.

The idea of listening to a full 7.1.4 surround mix on headphones might seem crazy - but we only have two ears after all, so maybe it can work !

In this video I describe the clever solution Dolby have implemented to make this possible, and offer a few examples using the Dolby Atmos Renderer so you can hear the tech in action for yourself, and decide if the results are successful or not.

This video is just a quick introduction to Dolby Atmos – there are many more interesting things to say about the format though, so I have more videos planned.

For example I'm going to be talking about why I'm especially excited by the dynamics of Dolby Atmos mixes, and what they might mean for the loudness war; and also take a look at the different way that Apple have chosen to implement Dolby Atmos support on their devices, and how it affects the way they sound when you're listening on headphones.

Stay tuned for more !