There was a fad in the early days of the Internet where many sites would play cheerful music as soon as the homepage loaded. But, much like fashion trends, over time this has changed. Unfortunately, not all websites have adapted, and those that still automatically blast tunes look out of date. But why is playing music on your site a negative design trait? There are several reasons, including:
It can be off-putting to a visitor
If a person is in a quiet office and suddenly your website starts blasting music, they’re more likely to hit “x” instead of trying to find the button that shuts the sound off. This means you’ve lost that visitor for good, and probably will have caused them some embarrassment.
People have different definitions of “good” music
While you may love hip hop, classical, or country, people visiting your site may beg to differ. Rather than hear music that they find unappealing, they’re going to avoid going to your site altogether. Even if you think the song you’ve selected isn’t polarizing, to some members of your audience, it may be.
It slows your site down
When your site is trying to play a track while also loading all of the copy and photos displayed on it, it’s going to take up a lot of bandwith. This can create a slow experience for someone navigating the pages, particularly if they’re using an older computer.
It can get you into legal trouble
Sure, you love “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, but do you own the rights to the song? Probably not. In that case, playing it on your site puts you at risk for legal issues in the event that the rights holder realizes that you’re essentially using the song as your own.
It’s not a common design strategy anymore
If you look at the websites you visit daily, you’ll probably notice that they don’t play music automatically. From Amazon to Google or Huffington Post, these places have the budget to do research about what users prefer, and they’ve cleared discovered that music that plays automatically isn’t it. While you should always strive to be original, taking a few cues from the bigger guys from time to time can be wise too.
Even if you think that playing music on your site can positively impact your business (if you’re in a band, for example), consider a less invasive option for incorporating sound into your site. Adding an audio player to the site allows people to listen to your music when they’re ready for it, which makes it an ideal choice. It puts visitors in contact with your music, without doing so in an invasive way.