last update: 10 August 2010
January 15, 2009:
Pleasurize Music Foundation Launch during the Namm Show in Los Angeles.
Until March 31, 2009:
Preparatory phase including press and information activity within the music industry. Search for sponsors to help create a wide-reaching PR campaign.
From April 1, 2009 to June 30, 2012: Phase 1
Record companies begin to label CDs with the DR logo along with the appropriate DR value. CDs will also include a booklet-insert in order to inform listeners about the specifics of the standard. Our goal is to have the DR logo on 95% of all new releases by the end of Phase 1.
Starting from July 1, 2012: Phase 2
All record companies which have agreed to Commitment 2 will release music with a minimum value of DR14. Discs with lower dynamic range will be released with appropriate headroom, so that all releases are roughly equally loud. The film industry already proved in the 1970s that a loudness standard is possible. The economic and sound-aesthetic advantage for all involved – from listeners to record companies – will certainly lead to a binding standard.
How do we plan to reach our goals?
The problem of gradual but ongoing dynamic reduction in contemporary popular music has very subtle effects on listeners, while it affects at the same time so many areas of a multi-layered audio industry. Therefore, the solution to this problem can only come about through a holistic approach.
The PMF has developed a strategy that goes beyond mere technical trouble shooting.
The phenomenon of Loudness Wars impacts technological, economical, psychoacoustic and thus psychological, as well as artistic, and cultural-historical aspects, all of which have been considered in creating our strategy.
Ø Dynamic Range Standard
With its DR Standard the PMF has pioneered a practical and technological metering solution that incorporates the degree of dynamic reduction of recordings into a whole-number system. Active Member record-labels equip their publications with the DR logo (booklet and online).
Ø The DR-value is a an important tool for master engineers to convince customers to commit for more dynamics.
Ø In the medium term the DR-values of most sound recordings released so far are being entered into public databases, so that music buyers have the ability to find out any given recording's DR value, even if their sound carrier has not been labeled yet.
Ø We are also planning on embedding the DR-value into the ID3 Tag and into the databases of online stores.
Ø The use of DR-identification in CD reviews in audio and music-culture magazines is an important support to convince big record companies. As soon as the commercial advantage is felt, the major record labels — who have thus far been resistant to consultation — will join in as well. Independent labels have always been the innovative forces of the industry and are able to use this new sound-trend for commercial success.
Ø The wide-ranging DR-identification of CD releases necessitates a worldwide PR-campaign with a circa 15-member PR-Team. Our goal is to make a minimum of 200 million press contacts per year, in order to inform those listeners in the most relevant language areas.
Ø Translation of the Website into all relevant languages.
Ø Presence of the PMF at trade fairs, conferences, and trend-setting events.
Ø Production of information-videos that present the subject matter in a concise and interactive manner.
Ø The numbing process which follows exposure to the currently-produced sound-pulp has had degenerative effects on human hearing. For this reason the development of a School Education Program is essential providing children with qualified listening education and putting an end to the degenerative process!!! This development is planned to take place in collaboration with leading universities, and is already partially in progress. Aside from the unquantifiable damage inflicted on human health, which in the long run is to be expected to result from this trend, it is children – the music listeners of tomorrow – who also represent the future of the entire audio industry.
Ø Project "Sound Sculpture": Customers at POS (Point Of Sale) experience sound versus reality first-hand. An appealing sculpture that is equipped with a good set of headphones allows the music listener to experience (at the point of sale) exactly what meaning sound can have as dynamic and well-sounding recordings are juxtaposed with current releases at the same listening volume.
Ø Promotion and dissemination of technological solutions for automatic normalization. As soon as a broadly-available technology comes about that is able to adjust a given recording to the hearing level predefined by its user, louder masters will become exposed as being pressure-less. Every A&R office should be equipped with this tool. (These are the people in record companies who decide what will become a hit and what not. Due to lack of better knowledge the opinion that only over-compressed songs are suitable for becoming hits is unfortunately very widespread.)
Ø Promotion and dissemination of technology that enables automatic and psycho-acoustic normalization of listening samples in download-shops. This possibility is relatively cost-effective these days and undermines the psychological advantage of louder preview samples. Due to psycho-acoustic circumstances a louder 15-second sound sample listened to on a laptop appears more attractive than its quieter competitor. Once purchased, and as soon as one then hears the entire track, this former source of attraction is quickly transformed into one of belligerence and irritation. This deception is one of the driving forces of the Loudness War, but one which can easily be disempowered through appropriate normalization.
Ø Training and education of radio personnel.
Ø Law amendments towards the improvement of radio sound. The commission of the European Union and several governments has already begun pressuring radio stations to find regulations for this problem, and to rework the existing but ineffective legal guidelines for radio levels.
Ø Creation of an interdisciplinary research center (Audio Engineering & Medicine) for well-grounded psycho-acoustic research. In many areas there exists a vacuum of knowledge which urgently needs to be filled. A university network already exists, and a corresponding knowledge database is emerging. The PMF will establish its own research center, in which 10 entirely identical listening labs will provide normalized conditions for representative studies with 2,000 test listeners. With the aid of cardiograms (ECGs) that monitor heart rate variations, electroencephalography, the measuring of breathing frequencies and depth, as well as concentration tests, the interaction between music, the psyche, and the body will be investigated.
Ø The implementation of the DR14-Standard in Phase 2 of this project leaves artistic leeway for productions with a low DR. In this phase a DR8-production is equipped with 6dB of headroom, which furthermore has positive effects on subsequent processing to mp3 format. The listener therefore has the advantage of a practical pre-adjustment of the listening volume, so that there is no excessive fluctuation between musical genres and sound carriers.
Yet two much more important factors to consider are that
a) a motivation for increased dynamics is created (why not use something that is valuable, when it is already available) and with it
b) the precondition for sensible use of a Blu-Ray-based audio format.
Ø Introduction of a Blu-Ray Audio Format that is resistant against the phenomenon of Loudness War.
Ø Introduction of a quality identification label for true surround-sound.
Ø Provision of a grabbing-software that reads CDs inserted into a PC or MAC drive, determines its DR-value and automatically feeds this information into a public database akin to CDDB.
Ø Establishment of a music award concerns itself solely with sound quality.