Spotify left Replay Gain and started to use ITU 1770, or LUFS, as most people know it. So far, their limiter remains, but at the beginning of next year, they say it will be removed for their ‘Normal’ and ‘Quiet’ normalization. Below you have Spotify’s answers to my questions that I sent as soon as I was aware that something had changed:
We’re making four changes:
1. We’ve switched all new loudness calculations from ReplayGain to ITU 1770. The new calculation is used for values stored inside the files, as used by current clients. This is what your testers see, for new tracks.
2. We’ve calculated the loudness and max True Peak of all catalog tracks using ITU 1770, and stored the values in a database.
3. We’re switching new clients to start using the database values instead of what’s encoded inside the files.
4. We’re changing new clients so that our Quiet and Normal level settings never apply a limiter (they will only raise the volume as far as the max TP value allows).
1 and 2 are done, meaning all new tracks use -14 LUFS (or -11 or -23) as normalization, even in old clients, on iOS, Android, and Desktop.
(Behaviour on other clients is not changed, they’re still not normalizing the audio.)
3 and 4 will happen fairly soon, but probably not until mid/end January.
By then, the change will apply to all tracks (not just new ones) and also the limiter will be gone on the Quiet and Normal settings.
It will be interesting to see the penalty for not using True Peak limiting while mastering as these changes are introduced in early 2021. Wondering what will be played the loudest, John Cage 4´33 or Metallica’s Black Death Magic?!