What is the ‘Loudness War’?
At some point it became evident to record labels that music that was played louder, sounded better. From that point onwards every label wanted their releases to be louder, or at least equally loud, as the competition. This resulted in a dramatic increase in loudness, and therefore in a dramatic decrease in the dynamics of music. This has gotten to the point that commercial music often sounds flat and lifeless, and sometimes distorted even. Luckily for music lovers in general, online music services like Spotify and ITunes are changing the loudness game. They have introduced ‘equal loudness’ functionality, which adjust the volume of the tracks in their playlist to sound equally loud. This actually makes conservatively mastered tracks often sound better than commercially mastered tracks.