The loudness tactic by content makers is a fool’s game.

In my personal quest to make YouTube more enjoyable, here’s a tip to all of you content creators out there.

There is such a thing as acceptable audio levels.

Even among those that seem to understand the principles, there are many content publishers that believe it is ok to blast their cheesy intro music.

There seems to be an assumption that loudness is a valuable tactic; that we all have the same taste in cheesy music and want to hear an entire 15 seconds of yours, often accompanied by equally cheesy graphics. These intros are not that entertaining. If creators feel they are building their brand, think again. Annoying your potential audience is hardly a path to brand success.

Nobody needs or wants to get blasted by your intro.

Broadcast networks and streaming platforms adhere to and enforce guidelines.

YouTube continues to allow the abuse of decibels. It takes care on the part providers to make sure the decibel level is within compliance. YouTube, appears more interested in its own interest than it is in delivering a consistent quality experience to its users.

I will routinely and immediately stop watching content when the audio level is significantly higher than the preceding content. Tolerating bad behavior will not lead to change.

There are several sources that provide guidance. Here’s an example from Frameio:

Specification #1: Loudness

The U.S. Congress passed the CALM Act (H.R. 1084/S. 2847) in 2010. It requires the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to establish rules that govern television commercial loudness. And it states that commercials can’t be louder than the shows that precede them.  The FCC, along with a few television standards committees and organizations, established an algorithm called the ITU-R BS.1770-3, which measures the perceived loudness of program material.  This algorithm itself is applied to the technical standards known as EBU R128 (in Europe) and ATSC A/85 (in the United States) and you should check the standards of your particular market when delivering.

I’m doing a disservice to advertising suggesting that content is adverting. It’s clearly not advertising in the legitimate sense. But as part of the world of video communications, content creators need to be held accountable to the same guidelines as everyone else.

The loudness tactic by content makers is a fool’s game.