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Background Music
Is it a good or bad feature
I_am_here

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 3:46 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have heard background music occasionally on websites, but my volume is muted most of the time anyway, so I don't know if it is a popular feature, or even if it is a good or bad feature. Is there any consensus on this?

 

adfree

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 8:51 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wanna have people visit and stick to your site in any situation - like while having a coffee in the shared office or in between phone calls and the boss is next door, so many other situations where people run into unwanted sound that alerts the surrounding: "hey, someone is surfing the net for fun" - don't do this to your users PLEASE.

Jens

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 9:15 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Try it and run it by more than one person to make sure it's at least as cool as *you* think it is

Nope. Sorry, but it's such a biggie that you just need to *know* that it works, without having to ask anyone.

That kind of skill and ability is the domain of the top webmasters (all of who can use music in an exceptionally hip way). If you're not one of them, then forget it, it will be a disaster. Look at the reaction on this thread - that's happened because most people have experienced the naff side of background music on web pages.

Very few sites have ever pulled it off.

TJ

Bronte

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 9:39 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's not a question of whether the music is 'naff' or not, it's a question of personal space. I never take seriously any site which is rude enough to inflict music, pop-ups or Flash on me without asking my permission first. If I go to the website of a pop band, then i will probably be looking to hear some tracks - but even then I expect the opportunity to choose and click, rather than having 'listen to this' as a default option.

Default 'music on' is simply annoying and unprofessional.

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 12:10 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's not a question of whether the music is 'naff' or not, it's a question of personal space.

I don't agree - it's about the experience that you want to offer the viewer - and that is very much based on context.

It isn't, of course, going to work on every site, and done badly it is extremely naff and unprofessional.

But let's not stifle people's creativity, or the internet will just turn into a web of sites that are built by accountants. It's all very well that we concentrate so strongly on SEO, but it is possible to do all manner of multimedia based and interesting designs on the web. I don't want to see everyone's sites turn into Amazon clones.

This is the web, not teletext.

I would say that 99% of sites that I've come across that have background music are just plain nasty - you can interpret that as either naff or unprofessional or both. But the 1% that have really pulled it off over the years have been exceptional sites - and ones I revisit often as a result.

What I'm trying to say is that it *can* work, in certain genres and with top level design and creative ability. The original poster clearly doesn't have that ability (with due respect to them) - if he/she did, they wouldn't have had to ask the question.

But to give a blanket "never do it" response is to encourage narrow-minded uncreative websites.

TJ

Iguana

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 1:05 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Background music is unprofessional, uncommercial, tacky...heh, sounds like what the Internet used to be all about.

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 1:28 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Background music is unprofessional, uncommercial, tacky...heh, sounds like what the Internet used to be all about.

Hmmm.... that post should probably be qualified by the site in your profile.

;-)

TJ

Iguana

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 1:30 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am recording the background music file even as we speak!

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 1:32 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

LOL

No, you really want to use a midi file there.

;-)

TJ

rise2it

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 2:35 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

What you are doing is FORCING you musical choice onto your prospect.

You may think 'Achy Breaky Heart' is cool, but I'm a headbanger that still wishes it was 1988 (yes, I'm pathetic). Being FORCED to listen to that song makes me angry, and will NOT put in the mood to buy from you.

Likewise, most of my prospects would not appreciate coming to my site and being blasted with AC/DC's Back In Black.

OR....

Imagine the poor prospect, wanting to buy a widget. They're cruising along on the information highway, relaxed, listening to some Bach on winamp....

they click on a link to my site....

and mixed in with their classical, they now have some Metallica

My bet is they can't hit the 'back' button fast enough.

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 2:41 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Imagine the poor prospect, wanting to buy a widget.

The perfect example of where not to use music/sound samples.

But you're still entirely missing the point.

TJ

chadmg

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 3:18 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

The funniest part of this thread is the amount of people who are complaining about the bg music because they are surfing the net at work when they shouldn't be. Long live midi! At least I can inject those around me with my phone midi tunes now.

Mardi_Gras

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 3:26 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't agree - it's about the experience that you want to offer the viewer - and that is very much based on context.

TJ - obviously you have a different view on this, and that's what makes the world go 'round.

But I don't think it is about the "experience you want to offer the viewer" - I think it is about the experience the viewer is expecting from you. Will people go to your site because it has music? Doubtful. Will they LEAVE because it has music - absolutely.

I work too hard for every visitor to send one - or more likely, hundreds - away because I have music on the site.

But I don't expect to change your mind ;)

ap_Rhys

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 3:36 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just came out of a travel site that boomed crashing waves at me.

AND it had that vile wobbling banner ad that says I've won this hour's prize.

I felt really sea-sick - back button fast.

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 5:08 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think it is about the experience the viewer is expecting from you.

Absolutely. And audio (which is not necessarily background music per se) is a very strong tool for creating an "experience".

That's why the context has to be correct. Clearly all of the examples of how not to do it (and where not to) have been well documented here (like the post above).

The only point that I'm making is that you can't rule something out altogether, just because in a particular context it clearly doesn't work.

TJ

bcolflesh

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 5:17 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

The only point that I'm making is that you can't rule something out altogether, just because in a particular context it clearly doesn't work.

I tell my wife this all the time!

HyperGeek

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 6:03 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I perpetually pipe a "Welcome to the Jungle" MIDI on my SEO site. All three users who've actually stayed on for more than a minute will agree... it rocks.

At least that's what my user tracking java applet tells me.

widget

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 6:08 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Understand all of the comments here, and have probably thought the same many times. I have never had music on a site. But I am aware of one site where the evidence was compelling - conversions doubled with music compared to without. Although it does seem music is more of a deterrent than a benefit on most sites, I suspect it *can* be done to ones advantage. After all, music is commonly used in point-of-sale venues such as restaurants, stores, car dealers, etc. Why? Nobody would rave about any of that music, but, in the end, maybe it affects sales?

dragonlady7

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 6:44 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have two situations when it comes to computers, and in neither of them would i welcome music being thrust upon me by a website.
1) I'm at home.
I am already listening to either Internet radio or a killer playlist in iTunes. I do not need your elevator music. In a shop, silence is awkward, but not at a home computer.
If it says "click here to listen", I will perhaps pause my iTunes and click there to listen. If it doesn't say it'll be making noise, I will think something is wrong and will start quitting programs one by one to figure out what the hell is going on. If I figure out it was a website, I'll be annoyed as all hell that they didn't tell me it would be making noise. Noise is all right -- maybe, if you choose it-- but not when it surprises you.

2) I'm at work.
I am already listening to my iPod with headphones. If my computer starts making noise I will close all browser windows immediately and then mentally go back and try to figure out what page was making that noise, whereupon I shall never visit that page again. It's quiet here, there are cubicles, there's a curious and always-prowling boss. If I'm reading some silly humor site and one of the ads starts making machine-gun noises, it's alt_f4 before it has time to make a second noise. I no longer read a certain well-known online humor site because of this. I cannot have any sound. Don't draw attention to the fact that I'm futzing around on the Internet. Thanks. Your mood music is not worth my job.

Natashka

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 11:56 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's not only about the annoyance of music. After all, if you are at work and are doing smth you are not supposed to, you can always turn your speakers off.

The problem is that it's significantly slowing down the page load! You have to take into consideration that most folks are not on DSL, but still on the old good dial-up, and all music, graphics over 30KB, etc... make the pages load sooooo damn slow! Especially if you are like me, and open 10 windows and surf 10 sites at the same time :)

That's the main reason why I hit the back button, NOT because of the music itself! I just don't have the patience to wait for all that crap to load! I am a fanatic of fast loading pages.

yintercept

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 4:34 am on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

It is okay on Halloween and game sites. If I were programming such as site, the main entry page would have an option to visit a sound page or a sound free page.

One super scary thing I came across: There was a jingle attached to an ad on a site I was viewing. Companies like Valueclick and Doubleclick have the ability to suddenly add voice ads to all the sites running their ads.

Speeeedy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 6:00 am on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Simple rule of thumb: do not have music enabled pages unless it can be controlled by the user in a friendly manner.

I don't want to have an out of body experience ever again through my headphones blasting the sound of Doogie Howser MD - theme song.wav OVER AND ABOVE MY Stratovarius - Black Diamond.mp3!

*rips hair out*

--Jim---

the_nerd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 10:58 am on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

@micahb37

Personally I love background music.
Especially when its added to blinking text and java storms.

Throw in a disabled back button and I am in hog heaven!

(although flash site for max payne 2 is really cool)

you forgot to open a new browser windows when the old one is closed, so the music won't be interrupted.

jesd

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 10:25 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

It depends on the basis of the site.

If it is "informational" in nature, music and sond effects are plain distracting and you fail to get your point accros. If I am reading a book or article on paper (imagine that!) it needs to be quiet, think library.

But there are always exceptions to every rule....

If your site is "entertainment" driven, the effects and music deff help...if they are somehow related to the basic theme of the site.

Otherwise if I am searching for something the last thing I want is more noises form my CPU. The "clicks" are annoying enough!

I do agree with everyone else though, you better well have a sense of "composition" because your site, music, and intention need to mesh. Other wise it is very unprofessional.....

bcolflesh

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 10:29 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

The "clicks" are annoying enough!

www.xtremepccentral.com/forums/archive/16/2001/10/4/44

pleeker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 11:48 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

85 messages devoted to the pros and cons of background music and we're in the late stages of 2003. Unbelievable. This is longer than some of the old Google Dance threads now, isn't it?

Nahhhhhhh! :)

kabouter

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 1:10 am on Oct 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

OK, so I am new, I'm NOT a webmaster and I like background music.
Have had so much fun playing, and have put a webpage together with background music. A Spanish song on the home page, totally unsuitable for my site, and the Austin Powers track on the 'links' page.
I am sure most people will RUN!
However, for the sake of argument, check it out and let me know how SLOW and tacky this really is, OK
Address may be found in my profile.
I promise to change it all back to 'boring' first thing in the morning.

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