Following the ITU’s recommendations, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) released its Loudness Recommendation EBU R128 in August of 2010. Acting to rectify the problem on the broadcast side of the issue, many European and Asian broadcasters are adopting loudness standards that are based on the criteria first introduced by the ITU.
Here in the U.S., the federal government has also been proactive to improve the quality of broadcast television. By the end of 2012, the broadcast community will have to follow the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act that requires commercials to be played at the same volume as broadcast television.
In terms of music and recording, these broadcast standards do not apply. But Shepherd theorizes the measurement standards will be applied to the production of music.
“Measuring loudness, in general, isn’t easy. Now the ITU has agreed on a new ‘loudness unit:’ the LU. You can measure short- and longer-term loudness over a whole song. They’ve also agreed on guidelines for broadcast; what the average loudness should be and how much you can vary it. The recommendation has been made law in the U.S. for advertisements and is also being adopted in the U.K. and all over the world. All the major broadcasters here — Sky, the BBC, ITV — have agreed to follow the standard."
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