The terms “Loudness War“, “Level War“ and “Loudness Race” describe the phenomenon of a constantly growing loudness of CDs containing popular music in the last two decades. The expression “war” indicates that these terms not only describe the phenomenon itself, but also the negative side effects of increasing loudness. The terms have their origin in web forums, professional journals and books concerning mastering and audio technology, where the topic is heavily discussed since approximately 1999. Those threads and articles show that there is awareness for the issue both in the professional audio industry and among “ordinary music listeners”.
Read more in the following paper by Arne v. Ruschkowsky: