MeterPlugs has announced a new "Loudness Penalty" website, www.loudnesspenalty.com, which lets you find out if your music will be turned down by YouTube, Spotify, TIDAL, Pandora and iTunes Sound Check, all of which use loudness normalization to control the playback level of different songs.
Sudden changes in loudness are the number one source of user complaints. To avoid this and save us from being "blasted" unexpectedly, online streaming services measure loudness, and turn down music recorded at higher levels. MeterPlugs has named this reduction the "Loudness Penalty" - the higher the level your music is mastered at, the bigger the penalty could be. But all the streaming services achieve this in different ways, and give different values, which makes it really hard to know how big the Loudness Penalty will be for your music.
The Loudness Penalty website solves this by calculating the Loudness Penalty of your music for each service. Simply select any WAV, MP3 or AAC file, and within seconds the website will tell you by how many decibels your music will be turned down (or up).
"Your file will not be uploaded, " says Ian Kerr of MeterPlugs. "The process is secure and anonymous." Mastering engineer Ian Shepherd, who developed the Loudness Penalty site with MeterPlugs, says the site gives real-world values that are much more accurate than simple LUFS guidelines.
The website is free to use, with no sign-up required, but also allows you to opt-in for a free email course that goes into more detail about how each service controls your music's playback, and how to optimize your music for online streaming.