Music on Your Website
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Sunday, October 25, 2009
Music on Your Website
by George Blair IV
According to social network site, the most popular musicians to listen to right now while online are Muse, Radiohead, the Beatles, Coldplay, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Jackson, and Green Day. Nearly all of those musicians have enjoyed years and years of success, whether from hitting #1 on charts, maintaining a cult following, or snatching residuals from their use in television and movies.

However, they all have this constant: they're all being played while the listeners are on the computer.'s sole purpose to record the statistics of what songs are being played from one's music software, whether it's Streisand or Jethro Tull. So that means, the music is being recorded because people listen to their songs while they surf.

Another thing that they have in common: if they are so popular, there's a distinct possibility your customers are already listening to them while using the web... and no number of instrumental keyboard sounds or store radio jingles will satisfy them into turning their own music off and playing what a website is demanding they listen to instead. You cannot win.

A frequent request made to web designers to have what is known as autoplay music. It's the sound that emanates from your speakers when you unknowingly click on someone's site and suddenly you are greeted with soft classical music or the chirp from a business' jingle better known from TV or radio. This is a bad idea.

Many years ago, it was the thing to do: a midi (keyboard) file of a popular jazz piece, or classical score would pop up on some Geocities or Homestead page. However, it became increasingly grating for return customers to hear the same song start and stop from page-to-page. While it seems neat and fun for you since it is your favorite song or you are very proud of your jingle, imagine hearing the same 30 second clip whenever you turned a page in a magazine.

Additionally, there is always the issue of public domain and rights: you may not be allowed to play the song you want on your website if it doesn't belong to you.

The absolute worst request from a customer I've heard is a demand that the music not be even accessible by the viewer to turn off... just play and play... This alone, I have to say, is used in torture experiments.

The world of music is a changing place. Weeks ago, the top artists on included Madonna and Mariah Carey because they had new albums just released. In November, expect new singles from Rihanna and a slew of American Idol contestants. And while the classics (Chopin, Bizet, Bach) may never die, I suggest you leave the music selection to the iTunes of your customers and not try to guess what music they want to listen to while viewing your products.

Music is evocative and personal--you don't want to risk it going down wrong. A soft Kenny G-esque version of "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" may be very pleasant on the ears to many, but a customer of yours may have had that as her wedding song for her first marriage, and may not want to be startled with that while peering at anniversary rings with her second husband.

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