Audible watermarks degrading sound on Spotify premium

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Audible watermarks degrading sound on Spotify premium

kkh1114
Regular

I'm a Spotify premium subscriber.

 

I was listening to this track (in highest quality streaming):

 

https://open.spotify.com/track/4JO5eK1uiI6MvJIrtBrhI3

 

It's a beautiful recording rendered unlistenable due to the fluttering sound of the digital watermark Decca (Universal) is using.

 

I have removed the entire album from my music (a shame) and I realize there are other performances of the same work available, but can't understand why they would ruin a recording like this for the people who are paying for the premium service in order to hear high quality recordings!  How much do we have to pay to hear the original unaltered recording?  I am afraid to even buy the CD or download now because it may have the same watermark applied.

 

I would hope Spotify will refuse to stream recordings like this, at least for premium subscribers.

 

 

 

 

81 Replies

Hubo
Rock Star 16
Rock Star 16

Hey guys!

Alright, the folks at Spotify aren't able to replicate your issue. Could you guys try to turn off Local Files? That might be the issue here. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

 

Have a nice day!

HuboRock Star 16
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HenrikStevn
Gig Goer

I have never had Local Files enabled, and I'm still hearing the problem, especially on the Three Doors Down track Montag originally used as an example: https://www.mattmontag.com/music/universals-audible-watermark

 

The song on Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/track/6uMPJ3NmW8FfqqNwqjUHrB

 

Compare to the original sample on Montag's site, the version currently on Spotify definitely has the audible watermark.

Hubo
Rock Star 16
Rock Star 16

Hey @HenrikStevn!


Thanks for your answer! At what time do you hear the watermark exactly? Let me know!

Thanks for your patience! 🙂

HuboRock Star 16
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Note: I'm not a Spotify employee.

HenrikStevn
Gig Goer

Pretty much right from the start, it's rather obvious on the guitar, if you compare to the original sample posted on Montag's site.

Hubo
Rock Star 16
Rock Star 16

Hi all!

Spotify would like to get to the bottom of this. Could you guys send over the track URIs of the tracks you're having issues with? With those, Spotify can take a closer look.

 

Thanks, have a nice day! 🙂

HuboRock Star 16
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EvilCoincoin
Regular

So... did Spotify get to the bottom of this?

HenrikStevn
Gig Goer

As far as I can tell, the watermarks are still there.

 

Come on Spotify! The quality of your library is alpha and omega!

EvilCoincoin
Regular

@Huib

 

Here is the list I already sent to support:

spotify:album:4snlejzrAzKlcCdo13Ik3q
spotify:album:5TMOqpo8tmDcsBuvFMCZWJ
spotify:album:4PXtt0OB7BMdOBfaGuifgh
spotify:track:4X81yiZ5wbVFPC1yU0mDsk
spotify:album:6BI0aiY3IasHkTBwNWkNMh
spotify:album:0wyImoR5ykWjk9ySaavr1P
spotify:album:3ahfYNoPhb5aaJ8rtpElSr
spotify:album:6VKvELAackQ5QfVscXz7It
spotify:album:4vMOcaz4NfFfZ3plhpAEgx
spotify:album:4IzBbPCbp4Ina3B2GlZNFS
spotify:album:6MinQE3GG7Xb9GWrOoAWEz
spotify:album:4FVbMmMiHfYAisDhdLqV03
spotify:album:3lgT2CiZOJCoLRJx2BZwDZ
 
 

Hubo
Rock Star 16
Rock Star 16

Hey all!

 

Alright, thanks for your feedback! I'm not able to replicate your issue and can't hear any watermarks. Could you guys tell me a bit more about what's happening?

 

Thanks, take care!

HuboRock Star 16
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If you appreciate my answer, maybe give me a Like.
Note: I'm not a Spotify employee.

russellh1
Music Fan

For me, the fluttery sound was much more obvious with headphones and in a quiet room.

HenrikStevn
Gig Goer

There's a good example on this site: https://www.mattmontag.com/music/universals-audible-watermark concerning the song Three Doors Down - When You're Young.

 

If you listen to this song on Spotify, it sounds exactly like the watermarked version, clearly audible degradation.

EvilCoincoin
Regular

The first time I noticed the problem was several years ago while listening to The King's Speech sound track spotify:album:6VKvELAackQ5QfVscXz7It 

 

 

You can clearly hear the flutter. No, those strings are not supposed to have that aggressive vibrato or tremolo. There should be a tiny bit of bounce in the bass but that's it.

 

They still haven't fixed the problem. I finally managed to contact Spotify support with a long list of albums and tracks with the problem, from Mozart to Hans Zimmer. They escalated and basically told me they knew about the problem for several years (Montag was one of their employee after all) and didn't give me any information about whether they would fix the problem or not and closed the ticket. 

 

My totally speculative conclusions: Either 1) Spotify don't care, despite people paying premium for high quality streams, or 2) UMG hate Spotify (they actually do) and refuse to reupload the library on purpose.

EvilCoincoin
Regular

Yes, the horrendous UMG watermark flutter. 

 

Spotify have been aware of that problem for at least 4 years now and have simply ignored it. Granted, before 2013 there was simply no solution as UMG watermark was still broken. However, around mid 2013, UMG finally changed their WM technology and the solution is for Spotify to redownload the UMG library.

 

It is a shame that the most incredible classical recordings are plagued by that problem and that Spotify just stay complacent about it.

russellh1
Music Fan

I didn't realize Universal had changed watermarking technology in 2013.  Do you have links to any information on it?  I'd love to be able to subscribe to a music service where I could listen with inaudible or no watermarking.

EvilCoincoin
Regular

@russellh1

I don't remember where I read that. It might have been on a forum with people complaining about their lossless downloads being affected by it. I do remember they had a link to the 3rd party company responsible for that.

 

As for the timeline, 2013 is a total guess of mine simply because music released after 2013 doesn't seem to be affected.

 

russellh1
Music Fan

I've been noticing the same thing on many recordings from Universal.  It seems that Spotify needs to ask Universal to re-upload their entire catalog.  This isn't just on Spotify, but also Itunes and other services.  

 

Here is another terrible example.  Just listen to the first 30 seconds if this track:

https://open.spotify.com/album/5c9v5oU43Oo22MSG8EKFp2

 

This one is just awful.

 

Can't anything be done about this?

HenrikStevn
Gig Goer

I have to say, I can't hear any fluttering, certainly nothing even remotely the same as the examples posted by Matt Montag on his site.

 

Did Spotify redownload the affected music from UMG, with the new inaudible watermark (or none at all)?

russellh1
Music Fan

@HenrikStevn

 

Did you listen to the tracks I listed?  The watermark is still there and clearly audible (at least to me).

HenrikStevn
Gig Goer

I did, and I'm not sure I hear the watermark.

 

I can definitely hear it in the Three Doors Down song, however.

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