Should I use music on my website?

Not unless you like making enemies.

Embedding music that automatically plays in your website is a fast way to irritate a huge chunk of your visitors, making them click the back button faster than you can say Arctic Monkeys.

Reason number one - lots of people surf the Internet at work, and the last thing they need is your music blaring out their speakers unexpectedly while the boss is chatting at the next desk. It's embarrasing and makes them look unprofessional.

Reason number two - many people are already listening to music while surfing the Net. So if your music starts playing over theirs, both sound awful.

Reason number three - what makes you think they like your music? Do you know your visitors that well, that you can be sure they have the same taste as you? And are in the mood for that choice at the time?

'But I give them a pause button!'
Even if there's a pause option, you'd better be sure your site really is special enough for them to take the time to search for an often fiddly cryptic little button, instead of just hitting the back button, which after all is huge and they already know where it is. Why bother when there's a million other sites out there?

The exception - if you're a band, you may have the closest thing to an excuse to having music playing automatically when someone hits your site, but in my opinion, it would still be better to confront them with a big play button, and give them the choice.

Arbitrary surveys of the individuals in my circles who use the Internet the most overwhelmingly suggest that they find automatically playing music intrusive, offensive and most will leave the site instantly on principle.

So, the negative effects far ourweigh the questionable benefits. You embed music in your website at your own risk.


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