Reference Track Loudness

I’m loading a song from Apple Music into a Cubase audio track, then clicking menu item Audio > Statistics.

I’m expecting to see an Integrated Loudness value that conforms to the Apple Music streaming loudness target of: -16 LUFS.

However, I’m seeing Integrated Loudness of: -7.3 LUFS. In other words, it’s much hotter, and the file doesn’t seem to conform to Apple Music requirements.

Does anyone know why?
Is it because it’s a downloaded file and not a streaming file?
Or is there some other reason?

Loudness normalization in streaming services is done on the fly in their playback engines and is a feature that can be turned on or off. Also, Apple music just last month switched from using “Sound Check” to LUFS and it only applies to the latest macOS versions.

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