The Loudness Wars Are Over

And just like that the loudness wars are over. Honestly, I only found out about it this weekend. I was having lunch with Jon Gagan and he informed me about this, apparently not so new, development. Yesterday I did some research and reached the conclusion that I will have to mix several different versions of the new album, one for streaming, one for CD, and perhaps a third one for HD files.

How did the loudness wars end? It was the logical result of so many millions of people subscribing to streaming services, like Apple Music or Spotify. Whether one listens to a personal playlist or a curated stream of music, it’s not fun to have the volume go up and down with each track. In fact sudden changes in loudness are the #1 source of user complaints. The same is true for watching a bunch of videos on YouTube. It would be annoying if some of the videos were much louder than others, right?

As a result the streaming services came up with guidelines and are turning down loud songs. Here is an article about loudness normalization across different platforms. This has been going on for a while now. Here is an article about YouTube normalizing volume since December 2015.

If you want to see what this means in practical terms, go to the website Loudness Penalty and drag and drop any mp3 file on it. It will show by how much that file will be turned down by streaming services.

Here are a few links to posts I made about this subject in the past:


Editorial Notebook; Life in the Information – New York Times
Commercials no longer sit still and beg to be looked at. Instead, they become fly-like robots that perch on the pillow and whisper sweet nothings while you sleep. The next morning you wake up craving foods you’ve never eaten. Mr. Dick’s characters defend themselves by keeping their windows closed — and making heavy use of fly swatters. The idea is to get them before they get to you.

I remember them from his books as gen-manipulated flies, that is bio flies (grown) rather than robotic flies (built).

They are still much bigger than flies, more like bats, but they are coming:

Inhabitat » The Solar Powered COM-BAT Spy Plane
In this season of specters and spooks, what could be scarier than a steel-winged robotic spy plane shaped like a bat? The aptly named COM-BATis a six-inch surveillance device that is powered by solar, wind, and vibrations. The concept was conceived by the US military as a means to gather real-time data for soldiers, and the Army has awarded the University of Michigan College of Engineering a five year $10-million dollar grant to develop it.

Geo-engineering is not the solution

Geoengineering is not the solution to global warming | Environment |
Tinkering with our entire planetary system is not a silver bullet. It’s an expression of political despair, writes Greenpeace’s Doug Parr

I don’t believe in silver bullets. They don’t work. Instead we have to get to work and make changes.

Without practicing one cannot be a good musician, without sitting not a zen-buddhist, changing one’s diet and exercising will always show more results than using diet-pills, enlightenment is a long haul, not a quick fix… ah, but how our brain WANTS to find the quick fix, the silver bullet. So, now some want to mess with a huge complex system (this planet) – in order to avoid making changes.

If you ask me, making fuel from food is a bad idea (((especially considering the size of the world’s population))), and so are nuclear power plants (((let a trillion small power-generators bloom… solar, wind, geo-thermal and stuff like this))) and geo-engineering. We are the ones who need changing, not the planet.

Money goes Mobile

BBC NEWS | The ‘future of money’ goes mobile
It could mean, for instance, that once a traveller has paid for a hotel room online the key to get in the room can be texted to them.

“In addition to the key itself the guest will also get a welcome receipt specifying the room he is staying at,” says Gard Gabrielsen from electronic lock maker Vingcard Elsafe that has developed a hotel booking system using NFC.

“He will also typically get the GPS coordinates to the hotel he is staying at,” he adds.

“But the key thing is that when the guest is then coming to the hotel he can totally bypass the reception desk and go straight to his room,” he says.

“The telephone itself will open the door by just presenting the phone in front of the card reader.”

Wikipedia entry RE NFC
Video of procedure
Product Page

Three Years Ago

From the book Color: A Natural History of the Palette:

Jean Renoir once told his son that without oil paint in tubes there would have been no Cezanne, no Monet, no Sisley or Pissarro.

Tin tubes containing oil paint were invented in 1842 and made it possible to take the canvas outside one’s studio. The medium of painting became portable and changed radically – Impressionism was born.

This reminds me of the Aboriginal idea that everything has to be dreamed to exist at all. Technology creates new possibilities for art, which in turn visualizes/creates a new dream, which in turn helps people look at the world in a different or new way. The centerpiece of that sentence is art. Art informs society. Art guides us to new ways of experiencing our world.