If you purchased Metallica's new album Death Magnetic, you may have noticed that it sounds like complete shit. But don't blame Metallica, producer Rick Rubin or mastering engineer Ted Jensen—the real culprit here is Apple and their damned iPod. While the "loudness wars" have been going on since the late 80's, the development of digital music and the iPod have heated things up.
Industry insiders claim that they feel the need to sacrifice dynamic range for increased volume because digital music makes it possible to squeeze all of the sound into a narrow, high-volume range. This temptation is pressed further when you try and optimise sound for the iPods crappy lo-fi earbuds. They are under the assumption that this drives sales. It is clear to me that the record industry needs to shift their focus from quantity and put it squarely back on quality. I mean—who are they trying to impress anyway? Do people really care who has the loudest album anymore? According to a recent WSJ article, even metal fans are complaining that things are getting out of hand. Do you agree? [Gawker via WSJ]