I’ve complained before about how loud music on the radio is getting. Part of it is the radio stations and part is the music itself being recorded at high levels of volume and compression, so the dynamic range of the recording is flattened out. No, I’m not going to rant about it now. But I will point to a couple of links.
ArtsJournal cited an article in the Chicago Tribune from January 1 about a new organization whose mission is to promote the idea that recorded music doesn’t have to be extremely loud with no quiet parts. The organization is called Turn Me Up!. Their website has links to many articles supporting their position that musicians should have the freedom to choose making a record that you might want to turn up the volume to hear. They make the note that if you have to turn down the volume of a CD that’s mastered at a uniformly high volume, it might sound like crap. Plus, there’s a definite benefit to the ears to have a little moment of relative calm so they’re not overstimulated and tired out.
Turn Me Up! isn’t against loud music when appropriate. They just want musicians to know they can make quieter music that doesn’t have to be blasted just to compete.
Edited to add (9:50 p.m. ET 1/3/08): Rolling Stone posted a huge article titled The Death of High Fidelity: In the age of MP3s, sound quality is worse than ever.