Background music on websites never really trended, but it was at one time more popular than it currently is. One of the main problems with autoplay music that starts when the page has loaded, is the situation some people are in, ie at work, where perhaps they shouldn't be looking at such sites and are just sneaking a peek in a spare moment.
It is also true that if a visitor doesn't like the music you have on your landing page, they may navigate straight away from your site rather than locating the mute icon. However, there are still some sites that use background music, and these are mainly in the hospitality industry. Here are some of those sites – don't go visiting if you don't want to have your senses bombarded with different genres of music, or if you have many colleagues around you and no headphones!
Schlosshotel Im Grunwald
This site promoting the German Schlosshotel in Grunwald has a slideshow of images of the hotel's interior on the landing page. The accompanying music is a classical piece that starts off very soft and soothing and gains momentum as it goes on. It is very typically German and a good accompaniment for this hotel.
Hotel de L'Horloge
This French hotel uses soothing piano music on its landing page, however, you have to start the music if you wish to have the accompaniment – this is one solution to some of the problems associated with autoplay music.
This German hotel that is part of the Berlin Hotels group has very ambient music playing in the background – almost sounds rather than music, but there is a musical beat there. There is the option of turning the music off.
This site promoting the Emporium Hotel Brisbane uses a slideshow of both interior and exterior shots of the hotel, the accompanying music is soothing and relaxing if a bit repetitive.
This Paris hotel has a static front page image and the music is relatively upbeat compared to others, and that reflects the modern/retro interior you see in the image.
This hotel on the Greek island of Kos promotes itself as a 'wellness and business' hotel. The landing page has a series of video clips of the hotel, the ocean, attractions and activities. The music, which can be paused or turned off, is ambient and soothing.
This hotel, as the one above, uses video clips on its home page, but here it is much more upbeat and the accompanying music is very jazzy. Their tagline is 'This is how we play in the Hamptons'. When the video has ended, the music ends and you have to reload the page if you want to see the video or hear the music again.
Grand Hotel et de Milan
Another site that uses video clips, the unusual thing about this site is that it has music with lyrics, and I am really not quite sure what the lyrics have to do with the hotel, however, although the music is quite grungy, the female voice is very smooth.
This restaurant uses similar music to many of the establishments in this round up – very ambient, soothing music. The problem this site has is that although it has the .cz (Czechoslovakia) extension, I had to visit Trip Advisor to find out the exact location of it... it is in Prague.
Fete de la Biere
This is a promotional site for a beer festival – and that is about all I can figure out from this site! Very nicely presented, you drag the screen around with your mouse, or use the arrow keys to get around, and you find information links that give snippets of trivia about beer, and you also unlock menus that are, for example: Menu Estival – Melon et Jambon de Parme (Melon and Parma Ham). It is quite a confusing site that seems to have no real direction, but nevertheless, a fun site to spend a couple of minutes on, with some jazzy musical accompaniment.
This site promotes the Ritz Carlton, Paris and unsurprisingly has very ritzy music in the background. If you want to turn off the music you have to hover the mouse cursor over the video to access the control.
This hotel is situated in Courchevel in the French Alps. The music it uses in the background is relatively dark and spooky for such a site – it certainly isn't smooth and relaxing!
Wynn Las Vegas
This hotel uses just a short clip of audio, preceeded by Steve Wynn welcoming you to the site.
Charles Group Hotels
Charles Group Hotels are located at Miami Beach, and the audio on this site starts off as the sound of the ocean. This is followed by some quite upbeat Caribbean-style music. It gives the feeling of more of an activity break than a relaxing one.
Riad 11 Zitoune
This Marrakech hotel site has some typically Arabian-style music playing in the background, with video clips of the streets of Marrakech.
Berry Amour Villas
When you land on this site, there is a YouTube video autoplaying – you can turn off the music with the sound control that appears when you hover the mouse cursor over the video area, or simply close the video if you don't wish to watch it. The site is all about love and romance, and the accompanying music is very romantic saxophone music.
This hotel located in Cairo, Egypt has an accompanying song with Egyptian lyrics – it is very expressive of the ambience of the country. There is no control to turn off the music on this site.
Club Hotel Sera
Club Hotel Sera is a resort hotel in Antalya, Turkey. The site opens with a YouTube video playing some romantic, ambient music, which you can turn off with the video controls or by clicking anywhere outside of the video screen to close it down.
This New Delhi 'urban resort' hotel uses what I can only describe as 'modern Indian' music that is fairly ambient, but very repetitive.
Mom Tri's Villa Royale
This Thai hotel, located in Phuket uses a slideshow of some beautifully exotic images, with accompanying ambient music with the occasional sound of lapping water and a female voice-over of a few words in Thai.
Four on Drupadi
To explain what this site is promoting, I have used the first paragraph of their About page: 'Four On Drupadi is a stylish residence estate for Romance- perfect for travellers seeking intimate and lovable moments to bond with their loved ones.' The background music is very ambient, relaxing and romantic, and accompanies this site perfectly to achieve the feelings of romance.
This is a pool spa resort in Koh Samui, Thailand. The intro that greets you when you land on this site has what I can only describe as 'heavily' romantic music – almost heartbreak in style. However, it accompanies some beautiful images featured in the slideshow. The only way to stop the music on this page is to skip the intro.
The Marion on Nicol
This boutique hotel is situated in Hurlington, South Africa. There are some very pleasant images in the slideshow that is accompanied by some upbeat, jazzy music, however, there is no control to turn the music off on this site, and it accompanies every page of the site.
Although there are reasons not to use background music on websites, the hospitality industry is one of the few that can still get away with doing so. In fact, whilst sourcing the featured sites for this list, I came across many sites that, in my opinion, would benefit greatly from the addition of ambient music in the background. There are ways to not make the music intrusive – the easiest of which is a stand-out mute control. Another solution is to not autoplay the music, but offer it if required, which one of the listed sites here have done.
Do you agree that some sites benefit from background music, or do you simply hate the idea altogether? Please share your opinion with us.