Watermark Level

I’m preparing to submit music for AJ and have questions about the level of the watermark:

  1. Are there guidelines as to how loud the watermark must be relative to the track?

  2. When preparing the (watermarked) preview file, do authors generally (a) simply add the watermark to the final, mastered track or (b) reduce the overall level of the mastered track to allow headroom for the watermark? (Obviously in the case of (b) the un-watermarked version of the file would remain at the full, mastered level; what I’m asking is whether authors typically reduce the level of the mastered file to accommodate the watermark for the purpose of bouncing the preview version.)

Thanks for any suggestions.

From what the staff have told me when I adjust things with the watermark that aren’t good enough, everything about the preview and the main file should be the same except for the watermark. Just adjust the volume of the watermark so that it is distinguishable.

Of course there are multiple ways to do it. What I do is make 2 final output runs from my DAW; each run I export a stereo WAV file with the same level of Mix Buss Mastering.

The files are:

  1. Preview Track - This file includes the watermark mixed in at a level that is audible but does not drive the Master levels.
  2. Main Track - This is the pristine track that eventually goes in the ZIP file.

The Preview Track is then converted to MP3 as required by AJ. In this way both Main and Preview Tracks are at identically Mastered levels.

I’m sure others have other techniques. This one works for me. I would be interested in hearing what other authors have to say as well.

Thanks. @PixelLoveLLC, that’s what I assumed and have done so far; just wanted to make sure there wasn’t some specific guideline I had overlooked.

Another question: do I understand correctly that if you are including, say, a :60 and :30 second version of a track you should include both in the preview? If so, are there any rules about how much spacing to leave between versions? Mightn’t the preview tracks get rather long if you have various durations, mix outs, etc?