How to master your track for Spotify?


Hey! I want to share some useful information with you about Mastering for Spotify!

Spotify uses Replay Gain for normalizing every audio that uploads on its platform.
It helps to keep every audio at the same loudness level.

For example, every audio from 1924 to 1995 years has 60 dB of Dynamic Range.
Now average audio has 12 dB of Dynamic Range. It’s 4 x less dynamic range and 60x more distortion. So if you will listen to these two songs on the same speaker level – your ears will literally explode with new audio.

So Spotify normalizes both these files with a target of equivalent to -14 dB LUFS, according to the ITU 1770 standard.

So it basically levels the playing field between soft and loud masters. Louder tracks have often been cited as sounding better to listeners, so Loudness Normalization removes an unfair advantage.

So now you can stop heavily compressing your audio file to be louder.

However, it still may have some issues. Some of the Spotify users admit that some of the tracks are louder than others. It happens because Spotify uses its own algorithm (not ITU 1770 from the International Telecommunication Union)

So you will have problems if

  1. You have inaudible high-frequency content in your mix. Loudness algorithms (both ReplayGain and ITU 1770) do not have a lowpass cut-off filter, meaning any high-frequency content will add up to the energy measured by the algorithms and your track will be measured as louder by the algorithms than is actually perceived.
  2. You have a really loud master (true peaks well above -2 dB) which makes the encoding add some distortion, adding to the overall energy of the track. That’s the energy as perceived by the algorithm, which might be inaudible to you but adds to the loudness from the algorithm’s perspective.
  3. You’re not listening to a linear playback system. The ReplayGain algorithm (just like the ITU 1770 algorithm) can’t guess what audio playback system you’re using, so it can’t compensate for non-linearity in your system. Meaning, tracks that have more energy in the frequencies your system lifts up will sound much louder on your system.
  4. A track that is very dynamic but mastered to -14 dB LUFS will have its peak levels preserved when played on Spotify. If you compare that to a loudly mastered track, at – 6 dB LUFS for example, its peaks get lowered to – 8 dB LUFS. The two tracks will playback at the same perceived loudness level, but the loud or “peak” parts of the more dynamic track will be much louder.

I know, it’s a lot of words and technical text. The main point is that a master track should be professionally mixed and mastered well, without super limiting and compression. It also works for any other streaming service (YouTube, Tidal, Google Music, Deezer).

You can find that a lot of award-nominated music these days has a nice dynamic range. We will help you to produce industry-quality sounding songs properly for Spotify and any other music platform.

I hope you found this useful, and if you want, you may check my other articles on https://www.majormixing.com/

I’ve posted a new topic about Mastering for Spotify above, but I have some updates on it.

Many of you have a questions:

  • What is Spotify LUFS?
  • What is Spotify Replay Gain?
  • How to meet the Spotify quality levels?
  • And how to make Spotify release louder?

The main feature Spotify has is audio normalization. Everyone knows that Spotify normalizes audio to -14 LUFS and -2 dB True Peak. And most of the mastering engineers try to follow this target. They create great prepared master tracks with Spotify LUFS and peak levels, but after release, most of the artists find that their songs sound much quieter than the rest of the market.

Why does this happen?

The first mistake is to use Spotify LUFS as a target for the master. We did a lot of research and found that Spotify has a pretty huge dynamic range and different songs have different volumes.

But you told us that Spotify uses normalization and Replay Gain??

Yes, it’s true, but they’re not normalizing every track to target.

Spotify Replay Gain works in a different way. We found that if we record a 30 minutes stream, it will have -14 LUFS and -2 dB True Peak values. So basically it works for the whole stream, not each track.

What do we need to do and how to create a master for Spotify?

You still don’t need to create extremely loud masters. It will not help you sound great and loud on Spotify. Also, you don’t need to follow Spotify Streaming loudness.

Basically, you should create a well-balanced, not heavy compressed and limited master.
It’s not about following targets or checking numbers on your measurement tools.

Usually, everyone speaks about – Don’t use a limiter, or Use this RMS/LUFS target, don’t compress your song, etc.

But each song or genre has its own rules and targets.

For example – EDM track can have -5dB of Gain Reduction on Limiter. It will sound great. This genre should have heavy compression in most cases. This is one of the main features of this genre. Your EDM song will sound weak without this heavy compression.
Now try to do the same thing with a piano ballad or soft live sound. It will sound awful and heavily distorted.
That’s why you can’t use any target to create a master for Spotify.

In this case, is the main advice – use your ears and avoid distortion on your master. Usually, it’s just a question of a couple of dB. Just create a great-sounding master. You can compare your master to great-sounding releases from Spotify. You will find a target for each genre or song.
Also, you can check your song in an amazing service – Loudness Penalty. Upload your song and the service will tell you how much dB you need to decrease. It’s the simplest way to prepare your master for Spotify.

But before using this service and releasing songs on Spotify you still need to be sure that your master is great and ready to release. It should have the right Dynamic Range, Frequency response, Crest Factor and it should follow all industry standards.
By the years of working in the music industry, we found that you can create a great master only in a great studio environment. You should have the perfect acoustic treatment and a great experienced engineer.

Contact us for the Mastering for Spotify service!
Our engineers will create an industry quality master which will meet all industry and Spotify standards.

Your song will sound great and competitive in Spotify playlists!

As for me, to master my Spotify songs, the Spotify Downloader Mac is the answer, which can remove all limitations from Spotify files and edit the bit rate, sample rate, audio channel, etc. of Spotify tracks for better music playback.

Take full control of Spotify files by downloading Spotify on Mac, and listen to them anywhere.

As for mastering Spotify music, I used to choose a Spotify song converter free. I use it to remove the limitations on Spotify songs, change the format of Spotify (such as convert Spotify playlist to MP3), and edit the sample rate, bit rate, and the like.
Then I will put all these songs into a folder for listening. That makes my listening more comfortable.

Thanks for sharing. I usually download my preferred Spotify playlists to my computer with Spotify Ripper because it can help me manage the ID3 Tags and move them to my other mobile devices. Especially transferring them to my MP3 player, there’s now almost no way to download free music online now due to the DRM limitation.