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Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Taken from https://twitter.com/kcimc/status/893855561590157312 and follow-up tweets.
Visualizes descriptive statistics over loudness, BPM and key per year released music. Someone made a pretty (or ugly, depending on point of view) graph here: 


I don't know how the pre-war releases are gathered, but the data source is the Million Song Dataset, https://labrosa.ee.columbia.edu/millionsong/

I post this in general audio, as I guess it is more for the visuals than for science.

Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #1
Hmm… so does it mean that the few metal albums in 2017-2018, which got crushed a bit less (DR7..DR9 instead of complete garbage which is DR6 and less), are just noise compared to everything else? Or they aren't included in the dataset?
It indeed looks pretty grim.

Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #2
if there's any good news there, it's that 'loudness' appears to have stabilized from 2000-2010

any newer data?


Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #3
if there's any good news there, it's that 'loudness' appears to have stabilized from 2000-2010
Aren't we at the stage where stuff gets brickwalled already? There's not much more one could do to make it worse than the worst possible. Any higher than that and it wouldn't be recognizable as music anymore...


Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #5
So where does the track Mote by Sonic Youth fall into that chart? I dare say the last 3 to 4 minutes of that track don't even count as music, being nothing but random guitar noises and bass growling and drumming.


Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #7
I wish so much that alums would be mastered to sit around DR12-13. Albums in this range are usually so much easier on the ears and more enjoyable to listen in my opinion. I am not against subtle compression on the master since that can make the mix "glue" but as soon as it is too much brickwalled or the compression start to pump then it is annoying to listen to. The worst I know, but I don't usually listen to it, is electronic music where all the tracks, except maybe the vocals, are sidechained from the kick drum and pump like crazy.

Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #8
In the analog age there was really a technical reason to record things as loud as possible, because of noise!

Even because of that old songs still have a higher dynamic range compared to the shitty quality of today's music.

Ever taken a look at waveforms from popular songs like those from Sia? There is just zero dynamics left. DR of 3-4 IIRC. Completely smashed flat.


Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #10
A quote from your link:

> DR values are of course not the end all and be all of dynamic range measurements (EBU R128, LUFS measurements are better for perceived loudness)

It ain't as simple. One cannot simply measure loudness because then it will be fooled by records where DR compression took place, but after that they were also reduced in level. (that is, when one gets the "worst of both": typical distorted and pumping sound, but without loudness increase).
The DR measurement method as used on http://dr.loudness-war.info (if we put it simply) compares 80% percentile of RMS levels with the peak levels, and is therefore not fooled by subsequent simple gain reduction.
Loudness metrics are great for measuring loudness but they don't really tell about DR — if a record is very loud, indeed, it had to be compressed to death, but if a record is quiet, this can't be used to make a conclusion. (And I've indeed seen a few records which were compressed like so, I could recall one example: http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/125043 )

Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #11
Sometimes I wish I could follow the production chain through all the hands and automatic processes that music might go through before it ends up all the way down stream..

Avenged Sevenfold has figured out how to make dynamic releases, for example. I wish I had more/better examples. Steven Wilson maybe?

Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #12
Latest Moonsorrow album has really okay dynamics too.
There are a lot more examples, they can be found on that database — the most popular records get scanned by someone pretty fast. (just ignore vinyl DR measurements, they are totally meaningless)


Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #14
Some people claimed that streaming services would result in the end of loudness wars, because the likes of YouTube, Spotify, etc, use limiters that make brickwalled albums sound worse than high-DR albums. Which is true, crushed songs sound like crap on both YouTube and Spotify when compared to songs that don't trigger the limiter, but so far it doesn't seem it had a big impact on how albums are produced. In the case of YouTube, the "VEVO" channels have recently started to upload songs with a higher DR because of this, but the albums themselves are still crushed and uploaded as-is to Spotify and the other music services.

The industry still considers CD as the main target?

Edit:
I wish the music services had the spine to attach a "dynamic range" score to the albums they offer, and present it in a way that looks like a quality score (say, from "F" to "A+" or "Bronze" to "Gold", or something like that.) That would certainly make record labels think twice about how to master the albums. I wish someone (or a group of people) with influence would push for something like this.

Re: Loudness (war) by decade, visualized

Reply #15
Honestly, I think it has gotten better, we're certainly nowhere near the levels of crush that we had in the early 2000s, and I think the loudness targets for streaming service are helping in that regard.

However, I listen mostly to genres that are noisy and loud by nature (metal, synthwave and so on), so my perspective may be skewed. I can certainly hear a difference between albums produced 2000s and recently produced albums. Some are still kind of shitty, but most of what I listen to is significantly better now than it used to be.

 
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