Mike Thornton from Production Expert shows in this 3 part series of free short videos how the growth of music streaming services and how they deliver music to the consumer is changing the way we need to mix and master content, especially for music streaming services. But first we can announce that the results of the Nugen Audio Music Streaming Survey are in.
Results Of The Nugen Audio Music Streaming Survey
Back in 2014 in any given week across America, 67% of music fans tap into streaming music. In 2015 demand increased by 83% for online audio streaming services. Like it or not, streaming is huge and it's here to stay. Are you able to ensure your music is heard the way you want it?
Nugen Audio asked five questions in this survey...
Does music streaming signal the end of the loudness wars?
59% think that the end may be in sight
Could loudness normalisation affect how your music is heard? (Apple SoundCheck, Spotify, YouTube, DAB loudness normalised radio, Music TV broadcast etc.)
86% think yes.
Are you concerned that playout services may degrade your audio with codec compression?
Over 80% of respondents concerned about maintaining quality
through playout services’ codec compression.
Are you confident that the music you deliver will make it through to the listener as you intended?
Given the informed nature of the respondents, however (see below), there is some
understanding of the impacts that loudness normalization and codec conversion has on
How good is your understanding of loudness normalisation?
30%, however, are still in a learning curve.
With responses from 50 different countries, it's clear there is an active, world-wide interest in these issues.
Survey respondents were a self-selected group, reached through online audio production
communities. They were clearly highly informed, with 68% claiming a reasonable working
knowledge of loudness matters, rising to 99% finding that it 'mostly makes sense' or better and so the results should be interpreted in the light of this.
You can read the full details of the results here and download a report from Nugen Audio.
In that context this series of 3 video tutorials fit very well into the process to further increase people's understanding of loudness and the impacts that come with an increased use of music streaming services to deliver music to the consumer.
In part 1 Mike gives an introduction and takes a look at the history and how average loudness normalisation is changing the way we master music tracks.
A Bit Of History
Since the introduction of CDs, mastering and delivery has been about getting the audio levels as close to digital headroom as possible. First using level normalization to get the peaks as close to digital headroom and then when that wasn’t enough the loudness wars broke out and compression techniques were adapted to try and make my CD louder than anyone else’s CD. Music radio adopted a number of solutions from manually adjusting the levels of each track so as the listener didn’t have to adjust their volume. But the introduction of even more compression techniques as part of the inter station loudness wars ruined the dynamic range even more.
Early Days Of Music Streaming
When streaming service first came along and they were building playlists of CD tracks they quickly found out that the perceived volume was going up and down from track to track and so the consumer was having to adjust the volume at their end and they complained.
Music Stream Services Now Use Loudness Normalisation
More and more streaming services now normalize the tracks to a loudness figure, which is an average for the whole track, rather than normalizing up to a peak level. This means we need to change the way we mix and master music especially when delivering to streaming services like iTunes Radio, YouTube and Spotify.
Normalising to loudness doesn’t mean the whole track comes out at the same volume, so that there is no light and shade. Far from it, because we no longer need to compress the tracks to make them sound louder, we can reintroduce dynamic range to our tracks and get back that lost light and shade.
In the next 2 videos we are going to show you in more detail how you can work with tools from Nugen Audio to get great sounding mixes that will translate to streaming services.