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Background Music in Joomla – Not so Simple

Background Music in Joomla – Not so Simple

Posted on 25.05.2009

Some flash sites have background music that plays while you navigate the “pages” with an option to turn the music off. Although I generally steer clear of background music because it causes serious performance issues and, quite frankly, not everyone wants to hear music from your website (especially if they’ve already got the own music playing on the home stereo or iPod). Still, I do get the occasional client asking me to get the background music from their old flash site running in Joomla. This, as it turns out, is no simple task and we Joomlaphiles are left with two less than satisfactory options.

The first option is to simply put an mp3 player on the page and let the users of the site press play themselves. I’ve used an extension called Simple mp3 Bar to do this as it allows you to use change the layout and colours in the back-end. Again, I like this because it’s fast and convenient. But if you want to have a play-list that users can select song from, then you may want to browse the list of audio extensions on the Joomla site.

Now this may not satisfy the client that has had a flash site with background music playing on autoplay. If you use Simple mp3 Bar or a similar extension, you can set the music to autoplay, but then it restarts every time users navigate to a new page. This is not only incredibly annoying, but it will require the mp3 file(s) to load every time the page changes which have a very negative impact on site performance. The solution then is to use one of the flash player extensions that loads the player in a pop-up window. This way, when the user navigates away, the background music does not stop and restart because the pop-up window remains open. The obvious downside here is that most pop-up windows are blocked by browsers these days (especially those that happen automatically without the user’s consent) so your users may never hear the background music that you so carefully selected.

So, there really isn’t an ideal solution for Joomla sites to play background music…so turn up the volume on those iPods and start navigating.

Comments (12)

    • Hi szente, if you can tell me how to code frames in a Joomla 1.5 site without messing up the core SEF and other functionality, I’m all ears. I’m sure it can be done and I read a post on Joomlashack that has some code that can be added.
      But most of Yardstick’s small business clients prefer to stay away from custom code which is important to mention as it gives the article above a bit more context.

  • i saw in a site a radio that open my player win windows and i can listen to the radio while i flip pages?
    do u know something about that?

  • You can put the joomla website in an iframe & put the player in the original page which loads the iframe.

  • I believe you missed one even more unsatisfactory solution: build the Joomla template in frames. Meaning, one frame for your Joomla site, and contained within another frame, the audio player. When a user navigates within the site’s frame it won’t reload the audio player’s frame. Again…a TERRIBLE solution but an option for those in really, really desperate need of the solution. I am personally stuck on this…it looks like the Flash popup option is my only option…ewww.

    • Hey Rocky,
      Yeah, the idea of frames has been tossed around in the comments. Because Yardstick builds sites by modifying templates from top providers like Rockettheme and Yootheme, we’re hesitant to (re)build the template with frames given the time/costs involved. Our clients are small businesses for the most part so we need to apply solutions that are fast and easy. A while back, I suggested on the Rockettheme forum that they build a background music template but I didn’t get a response.

  • It’s a module so why not assign it only on Home page so when people move to different pages they won’t hear the background music…

    • Hey Kyle,
      Not a bad idea. However, my client wanted it playing on all pages which is part of the problem. These challenges are really driven by client needs but I totally appreciate all of the input and interest in this article.

  • It’s a pity for Joomla creators that they’re not able to help their clients on this topic. I’m a composer and me and my friend is using Joomla for my website. Well, it’s really annoying that every time people navigate through the site my music starts again. So instead of liking my pieces, people will start to hate them, because of the fact that the first piece on the playlist keep on starting again and again throughout the navigation process. If today, there is a new solution created for this problem (other than the popup solution -which is useless if the person has a popup blocker) I would really appreciate if you guys share that new solution with me here. Other than that, it still is my only BIG problem at my website which is made with Joomla.

    • The two viable solutions that have been put forward are (1) to have the player appear in a pop-up Window or (2) to put your Joomla website and media player in separate frames. Both of these solutions have some cons. The pop-up will get blocked by the majority of users that have pop-up blockers enabled. While using frames can have a negative influence on your websites SEO. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast. Joomla, like so many other web technologies (including Wikipedia and Facebook) uses PHP. PHP runs by creating web pages on the fly using files, css formatting and database content on your server. So, when you click on a menu item in your site, you web browser actually loads and constructs the page each time. This is why background music can’t play continuously in a Joomla site. I know this is a huge topic because we get hundreds of hits to the blog article every month. But, inherently, if you’re wanting to play continuous background music, you’re actually adopting an out-of-date practice and possibly creating an undesirable user experience. Have you ever been to a website that loads the same auto-play video or music on the homepage…does it start to bug you after visiting the homepage a few times? Think about this in the context of your own website visitors and maybe you can create a less intrusive user experience.

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