Last Night a D.J. Saved My… Website.

27 Jul

Music is often overlooked as a means to generate engagement on a website. That’s because it has been a technical hurdle to effectively weave music into a web experience. The lack of continuity between web pages means the music gets abruptly interupted when the user clicks to another page. Which tends to kill the grooving mojo… In addition, music generally needs more time to load, thus not always playing on “cue”. These challenges and other technical limitations have meant that music is more often reserved for musical beds and backgrounds on rich media microsites and other brand immersion websites.

hands-on music

Beyond the technical hurdle, there is also a rights acquisition issue that is a disparager for a more widespread use of quality music. For sure, you can get “royalty-free music” on one of these canned libraries, but the quality is akin to elevator music and at that stage, you probably are better off with no music at all. On the other hand, there are some high quality production music libraries but their prices are high and their licensing terms often require a PHD in cryptography to decipher.

It is an unfortunate situation as I believe music is one of the strongest emotional vehicles. What if, when visiting an online retailer, I approach an “add to cart” or “checkout” button with my cursor, and an evocative sound or music comes on to softly validate or even persuade me to carry on with the intended action. Or what if each color change on a product selector came with its own sonic mood, thus adding another emotional dimension to my color choice…

If you think this is far-fetched, all you need to do is to think of one of those memorable dates and what role the musical background played that day or night? Music can give us wings when we would otherwise just walk, it’s what conjures up the deepest emotions and our connectedness with everything that lives and vibrates. So why not use music as an additional persuasive element of the experience?

There is an experiential quality question as well. As mentioned above music has been very much part of many brand immersion rich media and video websites (and TV/radio commercials of course) for some time now, as a means to enhance the targeted brand communication objective. But what about the more mundane (yet brand holistic) experience of shopping online? Think of the world of brick-and-mortar retailers and the musical ambiances they use in their stores. Only this time, it would be interactive and tailored to the user’s experience, providing numerous benefits that would translate into longer times spent on websites, more engagement and ultimately more conversions. And with websites that encapsulate more content within the same page, thanks to new page coding technology (i.e. Ajax), the music would not get interrupted so often.

There is a production music library out there that offers quality, easy to license, royalty-free music especially well suited for interactive use. There aren’t many of those. The loops are surprisingly un-repetitive. Actually it is so good, it sounds like custom scored music, and because they have created thematic collections (called theme suites), you can dress up an entire production with music that sounds consistent across multiple moods, just as if it had been custom composed for your user experience.

The site is: manchestermusic.com

Next time you’re considering adding a soundtrack to your experience, check it out. You can preview CDs and tracks in their entirety right on the website (albeit at a lower sound resolution). The royalty-free (buyout) model makes it very cost effective for smaller web projects as you can purchase and download the music you need one track at a time.

… there’s not a problem that I can’t fix, cause I can do it in the mix… dub time.

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