The loudness war


Of the many pertinent parallels between wine and music, this is a favourite of mine. Over the last two decades or so, producers have found themselves competing increasingly fiercely for the attention of buyers and consumers. They have exploited advances in technology to boost the intensity of their products, so as to stand out from the crowd. As these techniques became more widely adopted, producers had to resort to ever more extreme treatments to retain their advantage. The products have become fatiguing, consumers are turning away from them, and a move to more 'natural', expressive alternatives is underway.

In music...