Music and Your Website
We’ve had many clients/potential clients inquire about whether their website could include music. While the obvious answer is yes, of course websites can include music. The not so obvious answer pertains to whether your website should include music.
Adding music to your website can be very entertaining, however, there are a number of potential problems that come along with adding music to your websites. When clients approach us about the issue of whether or not to put music on their website, the following is our professional advisement:
1. Downloading a full song (normally between 2-5 minutes and anywhere between 4-8 MB) can take up a lot of time and use up a lot of resources. If your website already has numerous images or flash, you may want to stay away from adding music to the mix.
2. The alternative to downloading a full song is to use a 20-30 second clip of background music that plays on repeat. In my opinion, this type of audio presentation is redundant, boring, or just plain annoying for the website visitor. When I approach sites that have music like this, I either turn my sound off or leave the website altogether.
3. So what if your website isn’t flash and you have multiple pages? Someone might be jamming to your music, go to change to the about us page, and then automatically prompt the music to restart? Again, to me this is something that can be an irritating experience for visitors.
4. If your concerns are legal… This is a touchy area with music. Many people assume or don’t even realize that legal issues could be a problem when it comes to music because their website is small and relatively unnoticeable. Little does the public know, however, that there actually have been numerous cases where people have been fined for using other people’s music without the appropriate permission or license.
5. Another issue to consider is perception. People tend to be very judgmental when it comes to basically everything in life. Adding something like music to your website, that might not be suitable to someone else’s taste, gives your visitors another thing to judge you on. Lets use a hair dresser’s website for instance. Say someone likes to get their hair done to nice smooth music but because the hair dresser likes upbeat Spanish music, they put that on their website instead of soothing spa music. The visitor may get the wrong idea about this person’s hair salon based on their choice of music. For this reason, the hair dresser has now just lost a potential client. The more vague and interesting you keep your website the more people will be motivated to actually go to your shop or take action to learn or see more about what you have to offer.
I could go on about other potential pitfalls of putting music on websites, but I think you get the picture. Just a few others are public computers, browser compatibility, offending clients, playing over music that’s already playing on the clients computer, etc.
Obviously, there are exceptions to my suggestions about using music on your website. One exception of course, is if you are a musician or a band trying to showcase your music using your website. That’s a given!
Please feel free to comment!