An anonymous reader notes an article up at IEEE Spectrum outlining the history and dangers of the accelerating tendency of music producers to increase the loudness and reduce the dynamic range
of CDs. "The loudness war, what many audiophiles refer to as an assault on music (and ears), has been an open secret of the recording industry for nearly the past two decades and has garnered more attention in recent years as CDs have pushed the limits of loudness thanks to advances in digital technology. The 'war' refers to the competition among record companies to make louder and louder albums by compressing the dynamic range. But the loudness war could be doing more than simply pumping up the volume and angering aficionados — it could be responsible for halting technological advances in sound quality for years to come... From the mid 1980s to now, the average loudness of CDs increased by a factor of 10, and the peaks of songs are now one-tenth of what they used to be."