Another thing you need to think about if you are going to have music is licensing. Adding music without a licensing agreement could lead problems if the copyright holder objects to you using their material.
I tend to open lots of pages at once using my middle mouse button. I find it very annoying when I have clicked 5 or 6 links, and they are all opening at different rated in different tabs in my browser, when all of a sudden music starts playing. I have no idea which tab it is associated with, so I quickly go through them and shut down the offending tab.
That said, I have also encountered wonderfully constructed web pages with very appropriate music. But, even those situations, it would be good to wait until the window has focus before playing the music or starting a video or filmstrip.
And I would always recommend providing a very visible, easily recognized control for pausing or turning off the music.
(technical note: a "window (having) focus" means the window is brought to the foreground and is the top-most page on your screen.)
If done right, music is okay (i.e., selection versus what gallery content is - Led Zep with a high-end wedding portfolio is obviously not passing grade. ).
I actually would prefer an option whereby the default action is to load the page with the music *muted*. This speeds up loading times, especially on Flash-heavy sites which predominate these days. Then the viewer can choose to enable it depending upon their time and interest.
Music is great when it's a website about music! If it's a website for photography, I'd much rather the images speak for themselves.
If, however, an artist composes music and photographs and wants to share both then it might be appropriate.
If it's simply a photographer choosing songs someone else wrote to play in the background while their images fade in and out on the screen......no thanks. It almost works for wedding photographer sites when the music is weddingish (should be a word!), but even then I don't care for it.
NO MUSIC!!!! Can I say it any louder. I maybe listening to something and don't want someone else's unsolicited sounds interfering with what I am doing. I will click out of a site immediately and close it if there are sound effects, as I don't have the patience to look for the widget to shut off the noise.
Do you want people to judge your photos or judge the music you listen to. Don't crowd your website with too much peripheral nonsense including sound effects....
Like many others: music or video starts => I'm off the site as quick as my mouse can click on the tab's "x". If I want to hear something, I want it to be my choice by being able to press Play, and I have no patience for looking for the mute, pause or stop button (sometimes I'll open a bunch of pages on different tabs, letting them load in the background, and it's a real pain trying to find which site is playing sound, and even worse when there are a bunch at once!). Plus more often than not, I already have something playing on iTunes, etc.
Am often browsing while on conference calls, etc. and music is a huge annoyance. I almost always just immediately close the page. And as others mentioned, I frequently open a bunch of tabs that look interesting, planning to look as I finish at one site -- if they start playing music (and I can't even tell which tab) it is extremely annoying.
I almost fired a web programmer at my office when he changed our main company home page to play music, and all through the office you would hear it popping up in people's cubes. Dumb, really dumb in that kind of environment. But keep in mind you never know the environment someone will be viewing your page in.
It is infuriating when you close your browser and choose to preserve your tabs. When the browser comes up, one of the tabs will start playing music -- even if you turned it off before. Then you have to click through all the tabs in all the possible windows hoping you find the tab with the almost hidden flash control that is playing the music.
All music does is make people really angry. If you have to have music, have it off by default and an option for people to turn it ON rather than the other way around.
Additionally, music is a deeply personal thing. I don't like most Jazz for example even though there are many people who do. The same can be said for rock or classical for that matter. So even if people like your photographs, you may turn them off not just by having music but by your selection. Why play so risky?
The problem with music (as video) is that it goes at it's own pace, while I "browse" ! I read fast (text) and even if I'm looking at a picture site, I want to go through it at my speed, sometimes very quickly, then to come back on some pictures that got my attention...
So, I seldom go on video sites and usually sound is off on my computer (I often work at 2 AM )! Even on my iPad I prefer text and pictures sites then true "multimedia" ones, unless it's a movie or something like that, that I know beforehand how it's going to be ! Web sites can be very different in design, and I tend to prefer the simplest ones (white or black or gray) with a clean typo, versus those very colored ones. If you add to that music that can range from Doc Watson to Mozart, it's quite difficult (happily most stopped using those animated GIFs)...
If I can't click off the music easily and immediately, I click off the page. It's a distracting element and may not appeal to the viewer, which you can't know anyway given the wide array of people's taste.
I do not expect music sites to auto play, ever. So I certainly do not expect any sounds from a non music site. Unless I specifically and overtly request it, NO THANKS! Some folks say it is okay when done right. I cannot agree. To be very honest, I think it is rude. I often listen to my own choice of music or spoken words while web surfing - late at night while SWMBO and the critters are comfortably asleep. If something obviously not on the program starts blaring from my computer, the critters wake up and protest instantly, which wakes up SWMBO and well, you can guess the rest.
Never say never and all that, but seriously, if I happen upon a site that squawks my speakers, I leave it instantly and I pretty much never go back. What can I say, I was an engineer at one of the first ISPs and I developed some rather firm opinions about what was good and not good about the Internet. Sadly, I am used to disappointment.
But hey, it is your site and your money. Do what makes you happy.
I can't stand websites that automatically play music or video. Give me the option to play if I want to. If I come across a website that plays music automatically I don't waste my time trying to find the stop button on the site, I just move on to another. And if it's a business site they just lost a potential customer because of it. Just my 1/2 cent.
When your mouth drops open, click the shutter. -- Harold Feinstein
In the most recent Kelby TV edition of The Grid, they discuss photographer's website design including the use of music. They begin to discuss music at about the 6 minute mark. They all agree with the majority of posters on this thread that they hate music on websites and will usually navigate away from the site if music is included.
I like music but I like to to start very low just a background ambience with the option clearly present to toggle it on or off and adjust volume. Or just have the vole so low you can't hear it unless you turn it up on the website.
I think it depends really, if you are a wedding photographer it I get work to put the couple or the bride into the mood you want to convey, one of the most recognised wedding photographers has music on his website and I'm sure his brides don't mind.
>I think it depends really, if you are a wedding photographer >it I get work to put the couple or the bride into the mood you >want to convey, one of the most recognised wedding >photographers has music on his website and I'm sure his brides >don't mind.
Being a "no music" supporter, I would have to agree wedding photography is a fully justifiable exception.