Music leaves a great impression on every listener. But when it is not your own mix on your personal disc space, but when you create it via a streaming service, you only have so much control on how up-beat or quiet the compositions will be presented to you on your playlist.
How can you be sure that your track will still sound great after enduring the changes? How to make sure your loud master will still sound as loud as you intended it to? Every streaming platform will normalize and encode your song using the rules they choose.
The platform aims to create the best listener’s experience for its users. That’s why the most attention is devoted to loudness standardization. Spotify normalizes the volume of all songs you play to a similar level, so you will be less likely to reach out to your device to change the volume from one song to another. Mastering for Spotify takes this into account.
In normalizing music, Spotify uses a complex algorithm that measures integrated LUFS. It is currently the standard meter that accurately shows the level of perceived volume. So, regardless of what the level of your music is in dB compared to full scale, the LUFS meter shows the level perceived by the audience while listening to your song.
The main ideas LUFS meters use:
So we see that LUFS, which is the main normalization parameter used by Spotify, takes into account the dynamic range of the song, frequency spectrum, and other measurements. All this should be considered while mastering songs for Spotify.
The qualified sound engineer knows how to achieve the balance between these parameters and make the song sound perfect among other compositions on Spotify, while not sacrificing the dynamic range and frequency balance of the composition.
Mastering audio for Spotify, you can reach any loudness you like. The platform will normalize any track according to the same standards. However, the platform gives recommendations and insight into what will be done with your track once you have uploaded it. Here are the details:
Spotify’s suggestion is to target the track’s loudness at -14dB LUFS. This doesn’t mean that the track must have this exact level. What it means is that it will be most probably normalized to it if there is enough headroom to endure the encoding without distortion.
Regarding the headroom, Spotify advises keeping it at the level at least -1dBTP to endure the high sound quality. However, if your track is louder than -14dB LUFS, the preferred headroom will be at least -2dBTP because the louder the master is the more it is susceptible to distortion.
If you decide to master your track softer than -14dB LUFS, then you must keep in mind that it may not reach the targeted -14dB on Spotify if it doesn’t have enough True Peak headroom for lifting the volume up. Because the resulting music will have to maintain at least -1dBFS True Peak headroom.
For 10+ years we have been mastering music pieces for streaming on major services like Spotify, iTunes, and others. We know not only the direct platforms’ requirements but the mastering ideas one can know only by means of experience. We have learned what the platforms don’t say in their artist’s guides, but what tends to be true.
Mastering music for Spotify, we make your song and album sound great on this streaming platform. We value our customers and pay attention to every comment and description you send us, explaining how you want your song to sound.
If you have a song or album you’d like to master for Spotify, please, feel free to contact us. Also, our live chat is waiting for you if you have any questions, we’ll be happy to answer them.
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