Musician Website Quick Fix #1: Turn off auto-start music

Music Player

Hey folks, we're going to write a series of quick posts to give simple, actionable tips and advice that can help you make your website a little better and more effective.

Turn off auto-start music

This first one is one that not everyone will agree with, and, even within the Bandzoogle team, folks have different opinions. Either way, here's what the CEO thinks ;)

Top 2 reasons why you should have music auto-start on your site:

1. It's your site, and you should have it the way you want (and we like it that way).

2. Chris argues that people know they're coming to a band website, so they should be expecting to hear music. (Restaurant sites however, please...).

Top 5 reasons why you should not have auto-start

1. Remember, your fans are music fans. There's an excellent chance, when they visit your site that they are already listening to some music (iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, their stereo, etc.). Forcing your best track to get mixed with the latest Gaga single isn't the experience you want them to have.

2. You have no idea what volume setting their speakers or headphones are on when they reach your site. Can make for very unpleasant surprises, especially if at work, or at the library. Especially if you're a screamo metal band.

3. Tabs. More and more people use multiple tabs when they're browsing, and they might "right-click-open-in-new-tab" your website. That's how I do it. I'll see a link in a blog post, for example, right-click it, finish reading the post, and then go to the new tab to check out the site. So sometimes I will have music startle me out of nowhere and I'm not sure which tab it's from. Spooky, and a bad first impression.

4. The music that auto-plays competes with your own content. You have a cool new video ? Folks are then forced to pause or stop the player (if they can find it) and then start the video, or the one song they're curious about. Can be annoying. Give them control.

5. Waste. Often people will have their speakers muted or mute them when music auto-starts. That can mean a lot of wasted bandwidth for that fan, potentially slowing down your site for them.

So there it is. Clearly I'm not a fan of auto-start music. In the Bandzoogle control panel, to toggle it on and off for your site-wide music player, go to "Edit Pages", click on the "Site-wide Music Player" and then "Options". Let us know in the comments what you think, both as a website owner and as a fan...and I promise the next Quick Fix post will be even quicker and shorter!

Posted by David Dufresne on 10/21/2011 | 43 comments

Comments

gabegibitz.com
Posted by gabegibitz.com on Oct 22 2011 2:49 AM
I'm always torn about that option (for the exact reasons you listed). I find it a little annoying when I have to turn off music I never turned on in the first place. But how do you encourage people to turn on the player if they're interested. I know the generations before me (my parents and older) usually totally miss the player at the bottom.
SpiritN3D
Posted by SpiritN3D on Oct 22 2011 7:45 AM
Hey David, great post regarding the music player. I have struggled as well deciding play or no-play when people visit the site but I have kept it on simply because of the traffic history and knowing that the primary reason why people visit the site is...to hear your music especially if you are in a specific genre like our band. If the history shows a lot of "skips" or "partial plays" it's probably a good indication that they are shutting the player down immediately and this could be a good guage in making that play-no play decision. Just my thoughts:)
Sean Wright
Posted by Sean Wright on Oct 22 2011 8:15 AM
I'm with David on this one. It doesn't take long to click the play button anyway.
Adam B Harris
Posted by Adam B Harris on Oct 22 2011 9:01 AM
hate hate hate auto start when i visit somewhere, would never inflict it on someone else. nobody is going to get annoyed if they have to click on a play icon to get something to happen. they will get annoyed however if they have to turn something off.
SUPASTARBEATZ
Posted by SUPASTARBEATZ on Oct 22 2011 10:30 AM
I HONESTLY CAN'T STAND THE SITE-WIDE PLAYER....(I'm not yelling, I'm old....I always type in all caps...hahahahaha).....BUT, I DO PLACE AUTO-PLAY PLAYERS ON CERTAIN PAGES THAT HAVE NOTHING TO LISTEN FOR....PAGES WITH MUSIC OR VIDZ TO HEAR, USUALLY DON'T HAVE AUTO PLAY....ALL OTHERS, DO.....ALSO, MY INTRO & HOME PAGES HAVE AUTO-PLAY MUSIC....FOR THEM TO LISTEN, AS THEY READ OR BROWSE THE PAGE......ALTHOUGH, DAVID MAKES SOME VALID POINTS.....I MAY EVEN RCONSIDER.....AND PLACE THE PLAYERS AT OR NEAR THE TOP, OR MIDDLE OF THE PAGES....GIVING THE VISITORS AN OPTION TO LISTEN OR NOT!!!!!!!!!
Mayan Fox
Posted by Mayan Fox on Oct 22 2011 9:01 PM
I might be in the minority but I love the auto-start. It's been successful for us. We've got a really tiny amount of skips or partial plays so I'm guessing our fans are cool with it. With that said however, until we get a bit more popular I assume most of the visitors are direct traffic via our other sites like Facebook so they're going there expecting to hear something and are already favourable towards us. If it is an annoyance I'm sure it's not too hard to press the pause button or turn down the volume.
Richard O'Brien Music
Posted by Richard O'Brien Music on Oct 23 2011 1:43 AM
How do you see whether people have been skipping your auto-play or not? Rich O'Brien
MeatMonsterkills
Posted by MeatMonsterkills on Oct 23 2011 1:44 AM
Mabye its odd but I expect to hear audio when entering a site.A band or musician "plays music". If your going to hear it anyway why not let them welcome you in with what mabye they want you to hear. Whats the big deal ? If somone is stupid enough to have the headphones or speakers up high and not be aware of it ? That says to me they do not mind they're surroundings in other areas of life also. I would rather hear whether or not I like them early on so I dont have to keep reading about them. You can leave and get on with your day. HATE ! as somone said is a strong word. yikes.
Sindy Sinn
Posted by Sindy Sinn on Oct 23 2011 10:59 PM
I feel very strongly about this. Auto-play is horrible. Terrible. The worst. And when bands auto-play me... I don't care where the pause button is, I close the site. If I want to hear music, I will find a way of playing it when I'm ready for it. Besides, a (potential) fan is ALREADY on your website checking you out... you don't need to trick them into listening to your music. Just let them enjoy your website. Put the player there. Let your fans play it if they want to. It's a greater compliment to have someone WANT to hear your music, than to TOLERATE it.
MeatMonsterkills
Posted by MeatMonsterkills on Oct 24 2011 2:54 AM
SindySinn you are an artist as in "pictures" .. why would you care ? Ive been on your site, great work but I would have stayed longer if I had somthing to tap my foot to. What passion this topic has brought out, Cute stuff.
Andrea Wolper
Posted by Andrea Wolper on Oct 24 2011 3:03 AM
I'm in the turn-it-off camp. Here's one reason, from the original post: "4. The music that auto-plays competes with your own content. You have a cool new video ? Folks are then forced to pause or stop the player (if they can find it) and then start the video, or the one song they're curious about. Can be annoying. Give them control." The other reason is that I may be listening to music when I go to your site. Now two things are playing at once, and that drives me nuts. I don't even have a music player on my welcome page; you can only listen to tracks on the CDs page. Opinions? Should I add a (non-autoplay) player on my home page? Is that even an option on Bandzoogle - a site-wide audio player that the visitor can turn on if they choose?
Psycho-A-Go-Go
Posted by Psycho-A-Go-Go on Oct 24 2011 3:10 AM
I say leave it on, just don't Hide it so that your visitors feel more interaction and control over what they see as they navigate around...It's up to us to layout our site so that we don't have conflicting media. Cheers! Sly www.psychoagogorecords.com I'd appreciate any feedback you guys have! Thanks!
SpiritN3D
Posted by SpiritN3D on Oct 24 2011 8:20 AM
I decided to see what the traffic play history would be if I turned off the auto play for a couple of days and even though the site visits were roughly the same, the play count was cut in half but none of the tunes were either skipped or partial plays so that tells me that those activating the player truly wanted to listen. I'm undecided on the issue but leaning toward having the visitor decide to turn it on. Now it's my job to give them a compelling reason to turn it on.;)Dan
Half Heroes
Posted by Half Heroes on Oct 24 2011 10:16 AM
I keep putting it on and taking it out. The last time I decided to put it in I did it but not as auto-play Personally I hate when other sites do that specially when I am at work or other quiet place and I'm just browsing. Including my own website. Usually I'll either close the site straight away or click stop. I don't even pay attention to the music and I'm sure the majority own. If then I like what I see, I might turn the music on when appropriate.
Mount Fabric
Posted by Mount Fabric on Oct 24 2011 10:43 AM
Off all the way. You know why you don't see skips or partial play on autoplay? Because the people who hate it close your site there and then and don't come back. As someone already said, it's better to have someone actively play your tracks than have them forced down their throat. And, I don't know why, but autoplay just makes me think the band I'm checking out are behind the times. It smacks of myspace, flash banners and all the other crud that bands think is cool.
Andrea Wolper
Posted by Andrea Wolper on Oct 24 2011 4:05 PM
Thanks, Melanie. I'll check that out.
Alex Terrier
Posted by Alex Terrier on Oct 24 2011 7:31 PM
I did a poll once about that issue (thx BZ for that cool feature!) and it turned out that 60% of my visitors were against the auto-play.
Sindy Sinn
Posted by Sindy Sinn on Oct 25 2011 1:08 AM
[quote="MeatMonsterkills"] SindySinn you are an artist as in "pictures" .. why would you care ?[/quote] I play drums in Sydney rock band L.U.S.T. - which has used Bandzoogle for over a year now. L.U.S.T. Website: www.thebandLUST.com
Revenant
Posted by Revenant on Oct 25 2011 3:20 AM
Personally I like autostart. I'm no computer expert but I know how to turn it off if I'd rather listen to something else. The whole point of going to a band website is to hear music! JMHO
Days
Posted by Days on Oct 26 2011 1:47 PM
Ok, I just turned auto-start off two days ago, after reading this. Now our plays are up (more than 40 plays for each of the last two days)! First post, btw. Thanks for the tip!
Leon  & The Reckless Allstars
Posted by Leon & The Reckless Allstars on Oct 27 2011 1:27 PM
I keep mine off -most of the Pro's do as well... (But we are all Pros's right??? lol ) I think it gives your traffic more control and the feeling of being a part of the experience ..
Leon  & The Reckless Allstars
Posted by Leon & The Reckless Allstars on Oct 27 2011 1:30 PM
@ Days Music how do you keep track of your plays?????????? I can see the traffic and on which page-- but have no idea who is playing what?????
KhalidRivera
Posted by KhalidRivera on Oct 27 2011 4:33 PM
I disagree. The music sets the feel for the site and not everyone who is a music fan is looking at your site... Can't blame some people's disorganization with tabs for not having auto start music on. People wanna hear the music right away instead of having to click several time to on/off, they have just the option to skip the track or pause. It's very simple to do. People are much smarter than what you think. I look at my plays and its rare that people skip my songs...
Days
Posted by Days on Oct 27 2011 5:42 PM
[quote="LeonandRecklessAllstars"]@ Days Music how do you keep track of your plays?????????? I can see the traffic and on which page-- but have no idea who is playing what?????[/quote] In the "Site Traffic" tab just at the top of this page! Then click "Plays". Voilà!
Dave Cool
Posted by Dave Cool on Oct 27 2011 6:26 PM
Great debate on here, thanks for all of your comments, but @Ultimate Supastar, I think yours is my favourite blog comment EVER. I literally laughed out loud at my computer when I read it! Thanks for reading the blog everyone, nice to have an active community of artists to exchange ideas with. Cheers, Dave
thegreentrees
Posted by thegreentrees on Oct 29 2011 12:17 AM
[quote="Melanie"]@RichardOBrienMusic If you click the Plays tab in your Site Traffic, you can see the number of skips or partial plays, per song (so you can keep an eye out on the songs you are using in your Site Wide player). @AndreaWolper: You can add the sitewide player, or an audio player to a page, and set it to not auto-start! Just click the Options tab once you’ve added the player, and choose Options – start automatically: No. Some good comments and opinions here![/quote] i'm still a little confused. Is it possible to turn off the site wide audio player on some pages, and keep it on automatically on other pages? thanks everyone!
Mount Fabric
Posted by Mount Fabric on Oct 31 2011 9:46 AM
[quote="MeatMonsterkills"]So for us the auto sitewide works or why would somone at one time have thought it was a good idea?[/quote] People used to think Flash banners were a good idea, ClipArt used to be a good idea... to me, autoplay is a relic, and I don't want to be seen as a band that are out of date.
Mayan Fox
Posted by Mayan Fox on Nov 1 2011 2:12 AM
[quote="DaysMusic"]Ok, I just turned auto-start off two days ago, after reading this. Now our plays are up (more than 40 plays for each of the last two days)! First post, btw. Thanks for the tip![/quote] Forgive me for sounding a little questioning but how can the plays go UP by 40 a day when the auto-play is turned off? Wouldn't the increase only be relatable to the 'no auto-play' if suddenly people swarmed to your site BECAUSE they knew there was no auto-play and therefore decided that visiting your page was now suddenly a more attractive option than before? Did you advertise that fact? Sorry Days, to me that just doesn't add up. I could understand if you said that there were less skips or partial plays.
MeatMonsterkills
Posted by MeatMonsterkills on Nov 1 2011 5:24 AM
Well now im just gonna keep it on for spite. lol. We have a very young site aug 2011...when we started we had around 20 plays a day now we are in the hundreds per day. When i turned it off i noticed it dropped big, also literally 99% of our plays are full on green. I dont care if anyone has it on or off and as said I think it varies from band to band. Death metal band ? yeah perhaps I would not want that right outta the gate. Jazz band ? lay it on me. IT WORKS FOR US ! GEE WIZ ! what the big FN deal. And Mount Fabric ? I would have enjoyed lightning fork to welcome me in. Great song. It seems alot of bandzoogleZ rely on they're music to pay the rent etc. Mabye thats the differance. Also I built our site for my band and if others visit ? thats really cool. I love to visit all you guys sites and at least pick one song to listen to.ALL the way through.
Mount Fabric
Posted by Mount Fabric on Nov 1 2011 2:24 PM
Wasn't a personal attack on your site MM - just dislike it in general. As someone already pointed out, go to any major artist's website and see how many have autoplay enabled - I bet you'll be at it a while before you find one.
Days
Posted by Days on Nov 1 2011 4:35 PM
[quote="mayanfox"] [quote="DaysMusic"]Ok, I just turned auto-start off two days ago, after reading this. Now our plays are up (more than 40 plays for each of the last two days)! First post, btw. Thanks for the tip![/quote] Forgive me for sounding a little questioning but how can the plays go UP by 40 a day when the auto-play is turned off? Wouldn't the increase only be relatable to the 'no auto-play' if suddenly people swarmed to your site BECAUSE they knew there was no auto-play and therefore decided that visiting your page was now suddenly a more attractive option than before? Did you advertise that fact? Sorry Days, to me that just doesn't add up. I could understand if you said that there were less skips or partial plays. [/quote] Ha, I take back what I said! Now that a couple of days have passed, and now the stats say that we do have ZERO play since I turned off auto-play. There are still three days of no-autoplay with an increase, though. Now that's a mystery...
Mayan Fox
Posted by Mayan Fox on Nov 2 2011 12:44 AM
[quote="MountFabric"]Wasn't a personal attack on your site MM - just dislike it in general. As someone already pointed out, go to any major artist's website and see how many have autoplay enabled - I bet you'll be at it a while before you find one.[/quote] That's generally true but if you're a major artist than it's likely that the people visiting your site already have heard your music. I still think autoplay is great for us 'unknowns'.
Mayan Fox
Posted by Mayan Fox on Nov 2 2011 12:47 AM
Forgive me for sounding a little questioning but how can the plays go UP by 40 a day when the auto-play is turned off? Wouldn't the increase only be relatable to the 'no auto-play' if suddenly people swarmed to your site BECAUSE they knew there was no auto-play and therefore decided that visiting your page was now suddenly a more attractive option than before? Did you advertise that fact? Sorry Days, to me that just doesn't add up. I could understand if you said that there were less skips or partial plays. [/quote] Ha, I take back what I said! Now that a couple of days have passed, and now the stats say that we do have ZERO play since I turned off auto-play. There are still three days of no-autoplay with an increase, though. Now that's a mystery...[/quote] haha - cheers to you! I'm digging your music Days. The fact that your music is right there in peoples faces to click on when they open is good. If we ever turn off auto-play we'll probably do the same thing.
MeatMonsterkills
Posted by MeatMonsterkills on Nov 2 2011 4:00 AM
Mount Fabric, I in no way thought you made any attack ...? I just stated "our" experiance RE this issue. You flatter yourself. ;)
Days
Posted by Days on Nov 2 2011 2:42 PM
[quote="mayanfox"] haha - cheers to you! I'm digging your music Days. The fact that your music is right there in peoples faces to click on when they open is good. If we ever turn off auto-play we'll probably do the same thing.[/quote] Thanks for paying attention! Your site looks sweet, very simple and effective. Can't hear the music right now, but I will certainly go back for a listen soon! Cheers to you too!
Jason Cordingley
Posted by Jason Cordingley on Nov 10 2011 8:27 AM
I think all this debate about auto-play is a bit strange really: if you go on a music site you expect to hear music! Go on any of the big music sites in the UK and something auto-plays, either the radio or a video or a track, it always happens! If I don't want to hear music I don't go on a music site, it's that simple! Anyone visiting my site isn't there to look at a picture of me, or read something about me, they are there for music. Once they've heard the music they MAY then want to read about me or look at me, and they obviously have that option! Auto-play is good, full stop.
MeatMonsterkills
Posted by MeatMonsterkills on Nov 11 2011 5:00 AM
YUP. :agree:
The Rhythmics Institute
Posted by The Rhythmics Institute on Nov 11 2011 11:03 AM
All my fans love the auto player! Perhaps you do not have to start with your loudest music ... that would offend anyone if they aren't ready for it ... can you adjust the auto-level to control this? Also, I had to download the latest JAVA or other player software to make mine work. This took me a long time to figure out .... do our visitors have to know this? Well - if you want to be heard - leave it on!
Paskey
Posted by Paskey on Nov 11 2011 7:30 PM
While I generally lean toward auto-start off, if you want to do it I feel it depends on (1) who you are and (2) who your audience is. Who you are, as in what style of music. Although it might be a mild nuisance, a soft, building jazz song auto-starting wouldn't be as big a deal to me as something that is loud and immediate and unwelcome. But that's just me. Which brings me to... Who your audience is. Someone did allude to this already, but if your music is targeting an age group or general audience that is typically not as tech savvy, then auto-start it rather than have someone write and say "I went to your site and couldn't figure out how to play the music, so I left to use my Victrola." You probably won't have many senior-aged screamo fans, so probably not bad to get the music started for this audience. But if you're an indie type of band and your audience skews to the young or hip crowd (or worse—the young AND hip :), they can probably tweet you under the table, so they probably can find their way to a website play button.
Justin
Posted by Justin on Nov 14 2011 7:29 PM
@TheRhythmicsInstitute- You can choose which track starts with Autoplay by heading to your Site Wide Player, clicking "Options", and then setting "Shuffle Tracks" to Off. Now, in your "Playlist" tab, you can reorder the tracks as you would like them to play. For your second question, most browsers will alert your user if there is a java plugin not working on a page they visit (For example, in Chrome, a yellow box will appear that says the page requires a plug-in- download now?)
Timeless Trio
Posted by Timeless Trio on Nov 15 2011 4:00 PM
Maybe I'm missing something but I thought the reason folks visited our music sites was to check our bands out- including (and especially) the MUSIC? Also I tested my promo video with the auto player and the auto-player stops automatically when my youtube promo video is played. Love the technology! If someone is already a fan the music would be welcome. Most people pleasure-surfing at work these days know better than to have their speakers on! ;)
MeatMonsterkills
Posted by MeatMonsterkills on Nov 16 2011 4:25 AM
THANK YOU !!! Timeless Trio. your not missing anything, Hell I wish I could have the auto start LOUDER, just for spite. This topic is still going ? Mabye there is no real answer? Each to your own I say.
Kenny Parks
Posted by Kenny Parks on Nov 28 2011 2:43 PM
[quote="gabegibitz3"]I'm always torn about that option (for the exact reasons you listed). I find it a little annoying when I have to turn off music I never turned on in the first place. But how do you encourage people to turn on the player if they're interested. I know the generations before me (my parents and older) usually totally miss the player at the bottom.[/quote] I think the aauto music is annoying for all of the reasons that were listed...I haven't added audio yet because my site is still under construction, However, to get people to turn on the music, simply put a noticeable music player or some similar "sound box" on your intro page inviting visitor to select and play a track.