AES td1008 ends the loudness war in music

For many years, one of Eelco Grimm’s main focus points has been to fight loudness wars. His goal is artistic freedom for all music and film producers, and the loudness wars strongly limit their artistic possibilities. Eelco’s contribution to the new AES recommendation td1008 for Loudness of Internet Audio Streaming and On-Demand Distribution is probably his most important achievement so far.

In 2017 Eelco did a research project for music streaming service Tidal, analysing a database with 4.2 million albums. His recommendation was adopted by Tidal and later in 2019 he published an AES paper. Other streaming services showed interest but made clear that they would only adopt such a recommendation if it was an official AES standard. 

So in 2018 the working group that wrote the AES td1004 recommendation for online streaming started working on a major revision of their document. All the big stakeholders like Spotify, Apple and Youtube joined and from april 2020 the drafting group met twice a week to meticulously assemble a solid document. Eelco contributed as co-author, and the music distribution part of it is largely based on his work.

At the AES 151st convention in October, the td1008 recommendation will officially be introduced. But it is already available for download now. This document is a true milestone and the most serious chance ever to end the loudness war in music. If all streaming parties who are member of the working group adopt td1008, online delivery will become very predictable and music tracks of -14 LUFS will sound equally loud as hypercompressed tracks. 

The image shows ‘table 1’, which forms the backbone of the recommendation. Please read the full recommendation to gain deep insight in the future of audio distribution and production.

Update July 11th 2023: td1008 has been upgraded to an official AES Standard, AES77.

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