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Is this a watermark or actually part of the song?
July 29, 2011 4:50 AM   Subscribe

I think I bought a song off the iTunes Music Store that has a watermark on it.

I say "I think" because I'm not sure—I've searched a bit and all the instances of the song I can find on YouTube have it, too. However, some of those are leaks that predate the official release date (July 12) and it'd make some sense to have a watermark.

The song in question is "Before" by Washed Out, and the noise appears at 0:43 and recurs every so often.

That's not part of the song, right? It just doesn't sound like it's part of the song... It's annoying and pops up at all the good parts!
posted by autoclavicle to Media & Arts (15 answers total)
 
I don't know what you're hearing, dude. Everything I heard appears to be part of the song. (Disclaimer: I'm not familiar with the song or the artist.)
posted by phunniemee at 4:55 AM on July 29, 2011


I listened and thought the same thing as phunniemee - I'm not hearing anything that sounds out of place.
posted by brilliantine at 5:03 AM on July 29, 2011


It's the noise that sounds like a either a beep or a female/child voice, right before the male vocals start
posted by autoclavicle at 5:07 AM on July 29, 2011


We hear what you're hearing, it is part of the song. It's a sample that appears in measure.
posted by stachemaster at 5:13 AM on July 29, 2011


I hear what you're talking about - it's a very brief clip of what sounds like a vocal sample. But I doubt it's a watermark, as it occurs right on the beat at fairly logical intervals during the song. It's way up in the mix (too high for my liking), so it sounds out of place, but I think it's meant to be there.
posted by googly at 5:15 AM on July 29, 2011


iTunes songs are "watermarked" with text metadata though.
posted by devnull at 5:21 AM on July 29, 2011


If it really bothers you, I bet you can still get a refund from Apple.
posted by smackfu at 6:07 AM on July 29, 2011


Watermarks aren't generally audible.

The only time a label will put an audio watermark in a song is when they do a preview release for DJs or radio stations, etc, and it'll usually say something like "SO AND SO RECORDS 2011" or something like that...
posted by empath at 6:24 AM on July 29, 2011


Watermarks aren't generally audible.

Depends on where the audio is ripped from. Pre-release promos these days very often will have an audio blurb - sometimes it's just a sound to murk up the recording, sometimes it's as much as an actual vocal line saying "PROMOTIONAL REVIEW COPY" or the like a few times in each track to prevent it from being effectively broadcast.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:23 AM on July 29, 2011


Just to chime in, I'm pretty sure it's part of the song --- it's a spliced vocal sample. Everything else on the track is bathed in reverb, though, and that sample is totally dry so it cuts through the mix and sticks out like a sore thumb. I can totally see how you would think it didn't belong there.
posted by Tiresias at 12:01 PM on July 29, 2011


To clarify - modern digital audio watermarks are non-audible and will survive conversions (digital and analog) and broadcast conditions. Publishing houses watching for sync rights hire companies that embed these watermarks to ensure that all royalties are paid.
posted by shinynewnick at 12:08 PM on July 29, 2011


> It's annoying and pops up at all the good parts!

I think that's your proof that it's intentional. Either that or, according to you, the good parts are actually the bad parts.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 6:23 PM on July 29, 2011


empath: "Watermarks aren't generally audible.

The only time a label will put an audio watermark in a song is when they do a preview release for DJs or radio stations, etc, and it'll usually say something like "SO AND SO RECORDS 2011" or something like that...
"

Yeah I recently got a song that said "On air with Ryan Seacrest - World Premiere" twice in the song.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:32 PM on July 30, 2011


I just got around to listening to this. That's 100% part of the song.
posted by empath at 11:57 PM on July 30, 2011


A semi-related story, that doesn't really answer the question, but illustrates how non-subtle audio watermarks are when they're audible -- a producer friend of mine had pirated a soft synth while he was working on a song, and he didn't know it, but when you rendered the track as an mp3, it inserted a sound of a person saying -- "Such and Such Synth by Whatsit Software 2010" every two minutes. He didn't know that until he actually played the song at a DJ gig, anyway...
posted by empath at 12:03 AM on July 31, 2011


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