Petition: Stop the loudness wars


I’m trying to start a petition to try and get record labels to stop the loudness wars and also to release High Definition music downloads (24 Bit) of popular mainstream music that people actually want to listen.

The loudness war is where record labels turn the volume of a recording up to grab the listener’s attention upon first hearing. They make both the loud and quiet passages loud, so that there is very little difference between them in terms of dynamic range – The music has become compressed and often distorted.

While this is fine for radio broadcasts, it also means that listening to such music can often become tiring and many people experience listeners fatigue. When music isn’t compressed it actually increases people’s enjoyment and they also hear the music the way the artist originally intended.

You only have to speak to a handful of people to quickly find out that many are not fussed with music and could quiet easily take it or leave it. This is a direct reflection on the quality of records available today, the high levels of compression used is making music unlistenable and unenjoyable.

It’s not realistic to expect this situation to change overnight but an increasing number of music lovers are getting fed up and want to access music that hasn’t been heavily compressed. If you are one of those persons, sign my petition!

While many would like to see a fundamental change within the industry so that no record is heavily compressed, this is not realistic as no doubt the record labels / retailers would argue that many people prefer the music “louder” (Even though we may fundamentally disagree). It’s also It’s not realistic to expect an uncompressed CD to be brought to market alongside the “normal” version.

Instead the petition focus is for record labels and retailers to offer uncompressed downloads alongside the “mainstream offering” in the download market in both 16 Bit & 24 Bit format. This would differentiate uncompressed music in the market place and would also attract many people as they seek the “best”. It would also have the benefit of reintroducing people to music the way it’s meant to sound.

16 Bit (CD) recordings have been available for 30 years now and instead of sound quality improving, it has at best stagnated and in terms of downloads has managed to go backwards. It’s about time the industry took a leap forward and offered quality 24 Bit recordings. The playback technology is readily available, even modestly priced equipment and portables such as the iPod can support 24 Bit playback, so there is no reason why it shouldn’t happen.

If you want change then please show your support and sign the petition:

Petition Link:

There is also a Facebook Group, intended to act as a focal point for anyone who shares the above views and wishes to get involved:

Facebook Group:
The loudness war is where record labels turn the volume of a recording up to grab the listener’s attention upon first hearing

That's not the only reason for compression. Music is targeted for average inexpensive system (or boombox) that wouldn't be able to reproduce full dynamic range of the recording without distorting. Even compressed piano recording makes my small speakers at work buzzing. Downloading is good solution only for the people who use computer for playback - still minority.
I agree with you on this, but since I have retreated to the superior format of vinyl records I don't have this problem, mostly that is.
Thanks for bringing our attention to this, I signed the pet. BTW, Xiekitchen, the OP is primarily bemoaning the RECORDING quality, and secondarily the bit-rate -- not the medium.
Compression shows just as well on vinyl, btw!
If you want to hear what compression does to a recording, get a CD copy of Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Californication," Audioslave's "Audioslave," or Metallica's "Death Magnetic." These are just three of the many examples of what compression does to a recording. These records are unlistenable to anyone who has any appreciation for good sound. (Please leave your musical tastes aside for this conversation.) Consistent audible distortion on peaks, ear bleeding loudness throughout the record, listening fatigue seconds into each song. I believe there was an internet petition to re-release "Californication" a few years ago uncompressed. Obviously it fell on deaf ears, no pun intended.

Interestingly, all three were produced by Rick Rubin who is one of the most famous and acclaimed record producers. It is very telling if such horridly sounding records were approved for release from famous bands and a famous producer. How did the final product get approved by the record companies? A hearing-impaired individual could tell the sound is distorted. It tells me record companies have absolutely no concern or care for the sound of the music they release. I'll sign any petition aiming to improve this sad state of affairs, but ultimately it is what the public consumes that drives the supply. I try to cheer myself up with the ongoing vinyl revival, but I can't shake off the dismal view on the horizon when the music becomes the background to people's lives rather than the focus and enjoyment in itself.
Good luck with that but its a bit like saying lets stop war.

The reasons for doing the kind of limiting and compression that way is because on normal small average systems, computers etc it sounds great. Unfortunately that is the market.
All - The petition letter has now been revised. Let me know what you think, ideally through the facebook group. Please try not to burn me at the stake if there are grammar errors! Thanks

P.S – 858 signatures now – carry on spreading the word. If you haven’t already signed, please do so.
instead or or along with petitions consider if existing groups can work together. example
has been around awhile.
I have emailed them, but got no response!
I filled out the petition and then got a follow up e-mail from Michael Green yesterday.

Check this out.

Hi everyone,

I need some input, opinion and advice - Please participate!

After getting burned alive in the Sound on Sound forum:

I've created a poll on the Facebook page, that asks the question:

Should the words "and release High Definition Music Downloads" be dropped from the petition to gain support of industry professionals? As they say its misleading and 24 bit offers no benefit over 16 Bit done correctly.

At the same time, they say its offers a lower noise floor, which I believe is the benefit I'm hearing.

I'm in two minds, on one hand we need as much support as possible and if it undermines the petition from professionals within the industry, then it should be dropped. On the other hand, I think that our standpoints are different. They are coming from a technical standpoint, and I'm coming from an audiophile standpoint, where any benefit, no matter how small is worth pursuing.

Let me know, what you think.