“Music for websites” refers to the use of music on a website to enhance your visitor experience. The music can be embedded into your site and automatically play or can be hosted externally thought a platform such as YouTube.
How you use and host music on a website is an import factor to consider as it will have a direct impact on your visitor experience.
Background music on websites can be a great tool to enhance your website visitors’ experience, set a mood, encourage them to purchase or just get them fired up for your product or service.
Music on a website can help establish your brand and help your visitor identify with your company message.
Some great examples of music being used effectively on websites to enhance the user experience are:
- Travel websites with Mediterranean or cultural music to attract you to a destination.
- Meditation websites playing relaxing and calm music.
- Video game websites, playing high octane game music.
How to use background music for a website?
It can be very distracting to land on a website and instantly have loud music playing. If your website visitors are checking your site in a public place and your website suddenly starts playing loud music, it can be very embarrassing and inconvenient for your visitor and they will probably click away instantly.
When choosing background music for your website, I recommend:
#1 – Choose non-intrusive background music that does not dominate
Like all good background music, it should stay in the background and contribute to the mood and atmosphere of your website without your website visitor noticing.
#2 – Pick the right genre of background music for your product or service
Every product and service online will have a genre of background music that works best for that product or service.
For example, if your website is a Yoga or wellness site, choose music that is meditation music or if your website promotes Celtic heritage or travel to Ireland, consider some Celtic and Irish music.
#3 – Choose background music that is uniform and does not vary too much in tone, dynamics or loudness
In order for background music to be effective, it should stay in the background and not distract your website visitor. To do this successfully, the music should be uniform in tone, with no dramatic changes in volume.
Consider a venue such as a health spa or health farm retreat. Often these venues will have very low, calming background music playing all day. The venue wants you to stay in a calm and steady-state and the relaxing background music is essential to this.
This music will be uniform in tone and will not change volume dramatically to keep the customers in a hypnotic and calm state.
This use of spa and relaxation music is a great example of choosing background music that is uniform and does not vary too much in loudness or dynamics.
#3 – Avoid short loops
When choosing music for your website, ensure you use music that is long enough to cover the average time a visitor stays on your site without repeating
Hearing music on repeat can be very annoying and distracting for website visitors,
For example, if a visitor stays on your website for 3 minutes and you are using background music that is just a short 30-second loop, after 3 minutes that website visitor will have heard that piece of music 6 times!
This will not enhance the user experience as hoped but only detract from it.
#4 – Give Your Visitor Control
When embedding music on your website, ensure you place the music volume control in clear view so that your visitor can turn off the music if they wish.
They may be at work, in a quiet space or at home. Either way, you don’t know what environment they are in and it may not be suitable to have music playing.
In addition, some visitors will only want to focus on reading your website text. For a lot of people, they want to give their attention to the words and therefore like the option to turn the background music off.
#5 – Test Your Background Music
Just like using different text on your website to test how well website visitors engage with your content, testing your background music can be very effective.
Major and successful brands will refine and test their music to ensure that it gives the best response from their customers.
Where to find free music for websites?
Free Music Websites, Free Stock Music & Free Background Music
When choosing music for a website, ensure that you pick royalty free music.
The top three places to find free royalty free music for your website are:
Between these three sites, you will have covered most genres of royalty free music and will have hundreds of royalty free music tracks available to you for free for your websiite.
Do I need a music licence to play music on my website?
To ensure the smooth and legal running of your website, you will need to ensure your background music is properly licensed for use.
So many people ask, what type of music license do I need to ensure I can use music legally on my website?
The simple answer is royalty free music. When looking for music for your website, be it free or paid for, ensure it is licensed as royalty free music.
Royalty free music is the simplest music licence as there are no further fees involved. Even better, if you can find free royalty free music, you pay nothing!
If you do not choose music that is licenced as royalty free music, then you will need to check with the PPL / PRS to see what type of license your chosen music requires.
PPL / PRS is based in the United Kingdom. If you are licensing music in the United states the ASCAP body can be contacted, however, all these collection bodies are partners and all work together to govern music license and royalty collection around the world. If you contact one, they should connect you with the right agency for your area.
Once you start looking at these agencies and the fees involved, you can see why royalty free music has become so popular as it by-passes these royalty collection societies.
Royalty Free Music
Royalty free music is music on which no future royalties are charged if they are performed in public.
Let me give you an example to help explain.
Ed Sheeran is a world-wide famous musician so I am going to take him as an example.
He released his best selling hit “Shape of You” which was played globally on radio stations, TV, advertising, broadcasting, shopping centres, gyms and every other place where music can be heard.
Every time his song “Shape of You” is performed in a public space, Ed Sheeran gets paid a music royalty.
This royalty is paid to Ed Sheeran through collection societies called Performance Collection Societies. Each country has its own music royalty collection society. In the UK it is called the PRS.
If you own a restaurant for example and want to play “music from the radio”, i.e. Ed Sheeran’s music, you must purchase a performance licence from the collection societies to legally play this NON royalty free music.
Music is being publicly performed in your restaurant through the radio and to use it, you must sign up to your local collection society and pay the fees.
This money collected by the collection societies goes into one great big pot and Ed Sheeran is paid accordingly.
These are music royalties.
But I own a website, not a restaurant – why should I care about paying these public performance music royalties?
If you are using music online and are “hosting” it through your own website you need a music license.
By “hosting” a website, you become a broadcaster.
Once you become a broadcaster, you are responsible for putting that music out into the ether in a public space (just like the restaurant owner) therefore you need a music licence if that music is not royalty free.
However, if you use music that is licenced as royalty free music, you do not need to concern yourself with these performance fees and collection societies. This is what makes royalty free music such an attractive option for millions of website owners.
What about the promotional videos I have on my website? Do I need a PRS licence for them?
It depends if the videos are hosted by your own website or if they are embedded from YouTube.
If the videos are hosted by your own website, then yes, you become the broadcaster of music and need to ensure that your music is either royalty-free or is covered.
If you “host” your videos through YouTube, for example, post your videos on YouTube and embed them in your website, you do not need a license.
In this case, YouTube is “hosting” the video with music and they are the broadcaster.
Therefore, they are responsible for public performance royalty fees. YouTube is communicating the music to the public.
According to the PRS, “you will only need a licence if you wish to make content available on your own service.”
The best music license to choose when selecting music to host on your website is royalty free music.
This is the simplest music licence available.
With this music licence, you will not be liable to pay public performance fees that must be paid if you are “hosting” music on your website and broadcasting it to the world.
If embedding music on your website, ensure that it is non-intrusive and sits in the background to add ambience and enhance your website visitor experience.
If possible, always give your website visitor control over the music volume on your website. Ensure that the option to turn the music off is always visibble.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as a guide only for educational and informational purposes. It is not legal advice. The content contained in this article is not legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific matter or matters.