Stop playing music when I enter your web site!

You’re at work, or at home. You get a link sent to you, do a Google search or just follow some random link. It doesn’t matter. But there it is: the horror.

You know what I’m talking about. You’ve been there. The never-ending flow of web sites who insist on start playing music (or video) as soon as you load a page. You might listen to your own music at the time, or perhaps just having the volume turned on on your computer, and then it suddenly just breaks through your calm and comfortable state of mind with some terrible music in poor quality bursting through your speakers.

Stop! I mean it: STOP! It’s f**king terrible and highly annoying! Let me be the judge of if I want some media start playing. If I want music from a web site I will make the deliberate choice of clicking a play button symbol.

If you choose to be the master of when music starts playing in your web page I will leave. Right away. And I’m sure many others will do that too. Do you want that? No?

Then stop messing with the audio in my computer! Let me choose if or when I want music, ok?


  • Scott Powers says:

    Preach on brother!

    What's terrible is the fact the people putting music on their sites set to autostart… are the same people that bitched about midi's on websites back in the day… ironic innit!

  • Phil says:

    I love MySpace too! Insults to the ears and the eyes!

  • Right on, it is not just this but a lot of things that hacks/ people (we cannot really call them web designers can we??) do and try and 'make' the user do something. Let the user decide, number one rule in web design, usability etc

  • Greg says:

    In a perfect world every web designer would read this blog post and think to themselves:

    "Wait a minute … I am totally inconsiderate to my readers, perhaps I should not have that midi version of Sexy Back playing on my page"

    Or perhaps:

    "My livelihood depends on advertising dollars, and ad creators know that people are drawn to flashing images, shifting words, colors, and yes music."

    And so on. My point is that the web is an unruly jungle cat. Don't expect a puddy-cat to emerge. Just get adblock, flashblock and tame the beast. I for one love the anarchy of the really bad (other side of the tracks) parts of the web. See 99.99% of myspace for points of reference. Thanks for reading my comment.

    …Sexy Back starts playing in the background… (embed music in comments, that would be sweet)

  • Worst case scenario in my experience: Listening to some good music. You flick open 3-4 sites in the background from a Google result page and keep on reading. Then, all of a sudden, Morcheebas vocalist start to sound like an overtoning castrated cat and some moron decied to invite an additional 20 band members who don't know what song they are playing. So it turns out that 3 out of those 4 sites decided that some annoying f**ked up music was the best way to get the visitors attention. At this point, I'm seriously considering organizing a DDoS-attack on the bastard that came up with the concept!

  • Steven Clark says:

    oh its just so perfectly horrible when you open that web page in an office cubicle or the library – or you still have the volume turned up in your office from a presentation you DID want to watch… or something else.

    Like one of those pitifully disgusting avatars in your own likeness – I wont' link to the site in protest – to read out your homepage or faq sheet! Businesses who buy that crap amaze me.

    I'm with you on this one brother Robert. Damn heathens. The absolute worst is speech!!! Some american twang telling me I need a marketing something… grrr. (I have had a bad day lol)

  • Martin says:

    Yeah I know, the terror!

  • Alex Leonard says:

    Oh I can't agree more. I've got a nice little studio set up which I work from as well, so I've got speakers with some clout.

    The amount of times I've gotten the fright of my life with music auto-starting or worse yet, some awful speaking voice ranting about a product (agreeing with Steven here).


  • Who visits myspace anyway?

    And yes, can we please advise all our clients to never, fooking, ever put anything on autostart on their websites … I might not actually be looking at the site while it's loading, so I might also miss that important message in the autostarting flash video, quicktime, whatever … or I might not be paying attention to the music, that the person is trying to get my attention to.

  • I have to disagree slightly..

    web sites who insist on start playing music (or video) as soon as you load a page.

    With the video example I do think it is perfectly valid to have it autoplay under certain circumstances. For example if we look at the biggest player in that field youtube when I click through to a video page its starts to play without any further action.

    In my mind this is the right action. It is a video site, I know the purpose of this site is to play me videos. I have already clicked a link to go to one of the video pages (could be a thumbnail in youtube's search or wherever) this should be enough confirmation that I do indeed want to watch a video.

    I should not then have to click play on the video when I get to the page itself.

  • RobertDM says:

    That's the main reason I generally surf with the sound turned off.

    Only last week I managed to talk a client out of the idea: so that's one site less with audio pollution πŸ™‚

  • Andy says:

    That's spot on, my friend.

  • Chris says:

    Who are you talking to?

    I think most of the readers are web developers. Neither we want to hear music on a website nor we want to play it. (I imagine endless humiliation while entering a website with background sound at work: "Welcome to youPorn audio edition" ;-))

    The Problem are our customers. You can tell them that automatic background music is annoying. You can tell them why it is annoying. But if they insist — than we need the money and we do the job.

  • Ryan says:

    Absolutely. This has got to be the #1 most unattractive thing when visiting a website. This, among 10,000 other things, is why I despise myspace.

    Unfortunately, my wedding photographer's site has music that plays. I feel obligated to tell him that it nearly made me choose someone else, and it's completely repulsive. They're were very classy and did a very, very good job. It's too bad their site turns people away with auto-play music.

  • myf says:

    FlashMute (windows only :[ application).
    Saved me a lot of nerves.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Not that surprised that I'm not the only onw with this opinion…


    It is an interesting perspective. I guess that if it's such a well-known web site and everyone expects it to, for instance, play video, it's more ok. But still, with YouTube, I'd find it fair if I had to click a play button to start the video.

    However, if someone sends me a link to a YouTube video, I might want to go in there, to watch it later or maybe just read comments and information about before I watch it.

  • However, if someone sends me a link to a YouTube video, I might want to go in there, to watch it later or maybe just read comments and information about before I watch it.

    I don't believe that for a second, why would you want to lose IQ points by reading the comments on youtube πŸ˜‰

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Ha ha, good point! πŸ™‚

  • Mhmm… let me put this in another perspective: Why does our software/browser/plugin start all this annoyance without our consent?

    In general I totally agree with you. I don't remember a single web site I've seen with video/music starting right away that is not annoying and I do include youtube on this category.

    Sometimes surfing through youtube I open several tabs with videos and it totally annoys me that they start all at the same time (this doesn't make one lose IQ points, does it? lol)

    But ultimately, the user should be in control of their browser and the site should respond to that. I'd like the flash plugin not to start a video by itself unless, maybe, that the tab or window is focused….

    ….and you know what, maybe there is such a choice, maybe I should check that before I say something silly.

    With that kind of option, designers could put any annoying music their clients want with the same restrictions we have to Javascript/Images/CSS, which is fair, once the user is in control and the arguments not to do it so would be on the same line of those not to generate content with Js and so forth.

  • Owen says:

    Uhh, not encouraging the behavior, but if you're listening to music that's mp3 or wav, just open your Sound Settings and click to mute SW Synth or Midi… you won't have to pause your music so that it doesn't clash with the crap, and you can still browse the site.

  • HAHA says:

    well as for MYSPACE, a personal space where people decorate with pictures, media, sounds, etc… it is expected that music will start playing automatically. So you cant complain about that.

    but with other Sites/Blogs, when it suprises you with music, its usually not a good thing.

  • Ian says:

    I use my pc to watch dts movies and listen to quadraphonic music. If my pc is outputting PCM to my amp and I go to a website with music, its fine. If I'm watching anything with dolby, dts, or anything other than PCM, it instantly crashes. Not a normal kind of glitch, an awful sort of shutdown/restart.

    Fuck these websites who think I want to hear their lame jingle.

  • Pid says:

    It is the same people that drive in the left lane holding up traffic. Either clueless or intentionally ticking you off on their power trip. The only power their sad little existence ever knows.

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