17 Jun 2011
While this article is a few weeks old, it does talk about a conversation in the music industry that's been going on over the last few years, usually referred to as "the loudness war." The part that really struck me was the bit about Metallica:
with the release of Death Magnetic by pioneering thrash metal band Metallica, more than 20,000 fans signed a petition asking the band to remix or remaster the album. Failing to get this, many created their own version of the album using the Guitar Hero 3 video game, which did not feature the same heavy compression and limiting of the commercial CD release.
In short, record execs (and some artists) want records to sound as loud as humanly possible, at the detriment of dynamics. Those against that sort of treatment say that a lot of contemporary music you hear today sounds like it's been "stepped on," to use a Finch expression.
Is this something you notice? Care about?