MeterPlugs has announced a new plugin based on the popular Loudness Penalty website.

The Loudness Penalty Plugin provides an accurate estimate of how much your music will be turned down (or up) by YouTube, Spotify, TIDAL, Pandora and iTunes (with Sound Check), and allows you to preview this loudness normalization, without having to leave your DAW.

Online streaming services turn down loud music to create a more consistent listening experience for end-users. Before Loudness Penalty, it was difficult to know exactly how your music would be affected by each services’ loudness management, and how it would stand up to the competition. Loudness Penalty removes the guesswork, and gives you insight as to whether there are opportunities to ease up on your dynamics processing, or raise the volume of your music without incurring a “penalty” (a feature not available on the website).

Simply insert Loudness Penalty after the final limiter on your DAW output, and press play. Within seconds, it will display results and then refine them as you feed more audio through the plugin. You can easily spot “loudness pain points” that trigger the biggest penalty, and adjust your audio if you wish. Then, click Preview to hear how your music’s playback level will be adjusted by a given streaming service, and compare it “live” to a reference track playing in that service.

Mastering engineer Ian Shepherd, who worked with MeterPlugs developing the plugin, says that Loudness Penalty is much more accurate than simple LUFS estimates of streaming loudness.

“Most streaming services don’t use LUFS to measure loudness. Some people say you can just aim for -14, for example, but we’ve seen LUFS estimates to be up to 3 dB off, whereas Loudness Penalty’s results are typically within half a dB of the real-world values.”

The plugin is on sale for an introductory price of only $29 USD (regular $49 USD) from MeterPlugs and distributor Plugin Boutique.

Loudness Penalty Plugin comes in VST, AU and AAX formats for both Windows and macOS.