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Josh Woodward: Creative Commons Music

Are My Songs Too Quiet?

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Are My Songs Too Quiet?

Posted on Thu, Nov 8, 2007

I have a question for those of you who have my songs on your iPod, and dare to have songs from other artists on them as well (as if you need music other than mine? hrumph). You might have noticed that when you put your player on shuffle that my songs seem quieter than most other commercial music. Does this ever bother you?

Without getting super-technical or ranty, this is by design - I am a fighter against the loudness war. Basically, modern music is in an arms war to be the loudest, but after a certain point you need to trade sound quality and dynamics for volume. I avoid that, because to me it's important that drums keep their punch and a loud chorus can really jump out after a quiet verse. Volume is relative - if everything is always turned up to 10, there's nowhere to go: nothing can feel louder than anything else.

I've always figured it didn't matter - if you pop in one of my CDs, you can always turn the volume knob up yourself, and the few radio stations who play me seem to adjust the volume on their end as needed. But the more I think about it, I'm guessing the vast majority of people listening to my music are doing it on MP3 players, mixed in with loud commercial bands. Do you think I should give in, and at least start splitting the difference?

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