Ambient Music Garden has launched a new category to present the most popular music for royalty free use in commercial uses.
“We’ve had some interesting success so far even though we have not publicised our commercial licensing business”, said Guy Lewis, founder of Ambient Music Garden. “Businesses are finding our music catalogue perfect for online browsing and downloading for their own business projects. We have businesses using music for PowerPoint presentation background music, Flash embedded music projects, web sites, background music for retail outlets and also for DVD & CD projects. There are many other uses for music and Ambient Music Garden has geared up for them with the new category.”
“However you don’t have to choose music within the Royalty-free category only, that only presents our most popular music for commercial use. Check out all the categories of Ambient Music Garden as almost all our music is available for commercial licensing as well.”
Ambient Music Garden:
Using our Royalty-Free Production Music License you can use our music as background music in powerpoint presentations, in retail, galleries and restaurants, on-hold music, Flash & website music, music for commercials, music for video games, film music, and music for video / dvd production.
Why Flash Is Infinitely Better At Delivering Music Across The Web Than MP3.
“…it is Flash that arranges the audio and adds functionality that enables the music file to go further than an Mp3 can ever do”
Flash has been around now for quite a while. And whilst innovative Flash artists have primarily focused on designing and engineering some jaw dropping animated creations Flash has for many, slipped into first place as the technology of choice for delivering audio alongside web site content.
Why is this? Why doesn’t everyone know about Flash’s ability to create a better user experience? Well, within this document I explain why it really is better and why your next website refresh should include Flash embedded music at minimal overhead to your customers.
I won’t go into the history of Flash here (you might well loose interest) so lets just say it had humble beginnings yet was seen by a few far seeing individuals who took it to the next stage from where it captured the imaginations of zillions of web developers, web artists & animators.
I can remember in 1999 being excited by MP3000 produced by CleverMedia which is an online tool for creating your own mix of a range of beats, melodies and sound effects. It is still a fun interactive music tool that holds its weight many years after it was first created. This shows clearly that given good design Flash has an astonishing ability to last even while technology continues to change around it. Dont forget, this little app is nearly 10 years old and still is pretty cool.
As Flash developed over the years there were a number of technical improvements that enabled even better delivery of sound along side the animated creations. Once such advance was Flash’s ability to deliver more control of audio and multi-track playback.
So Why Is Flash Better than MP3s?
Whilst many gain competitive edge by adding music with Flash technology to their sites, those outside the Flash community with little awareness continue to use mp3s. So why is Flash as a proprietary technology standard still so compelling?
Well for a start, perhaps I should clarify one thing. This argument focuses on why you should deliver your music using Flash that has compressed (for example) a WAV file into mp3 and delivered via a Flash file. The Flash file would have the suffix ‘.swf’. So Mp3 technology is still in there compressing the audio yet it is Flash that arranges the audio and adds functionality that enables the music file to go further than an Mp3 can ever do.
The following is a list of the key benefits for you the website owner.
Quicker Than The Equivalent mp3 at being downloaded:
This is where Flash saves the day. Imagine having three instruments that were the equivalent size of three loops. Instead of playing three loops one after the other, with Flash a professional Flash developer & composer will be able to construct a piece of music that mixes these three different parts of the same music and multiply the variants of the same tune to as many as twice that amount. So instead of getting three 10 second loops you will have a total of a whole minute of music for the same time it takes to download 30 seconds of mp3 based loops.
So, with that in mind you can consider using an intro that allows your customers to view your welcome page for 30 seconds. Then you might feel you would like to draw them further in to view product pages for example. So, you could consider turning off the repetitive loop, implying to the customer that they have seen all that there is to see and its it time to move on. Once in the product area you may want to consider using a full one minute (for example) music track that loops gently in the background with a quieter volume.
You can create a control interface specifically tuned to your customer’s tastes as part of the object that has the audio embedded or linked to it. You don’t need to be restricted to the audio players on the market such as RealPlayer ®, Windows Media Player ®, Winamp ® or QuickTime ®. What if you choose to deliver your audio via one of the player specific formats and many of your customers don’t have the ability to play them? Simply create your own player in Flash knowing that 97% of the world’s connected browser users can then view and listen to your audio. In terms of design and appearance, literally, if you can imagine it, you can create it and it will work in all the known browsers to the modern world (and perhaps some others on other planets too). There are many Flash Players for sale if you wish to purchase one instead. There are lots of fun designs out there to meet all needs.
As mentioned above, you can even get your customers to choose the mix of the audio file they are listening to, lift the base, lower the snare for example, remove a loop or make a choice over a number of loops. Give your customers this sort of control and they will be back for more and more.
You can create a flash player to control your music; you can create controls for pan, volume, play, rewind, stop and forward. You can create a list of audio files to play; you can even create animations and buttons that trigger the audio files if you want to create an interactive experience between music and animation for your customers.
Flash compresses the audio files and provides options for streaming and downloading that provide the designer with choices that match the needs of the content and end user. Additionally, because with all Flash content, once it is downloaded it can be replayed again and again, designers and engineers are creating cleaver long play musical and audio pieces that are a fraction of the original WAV, AIFF or MP3 (or other!) file size. These Flash designers compress files according to the dynamics of the audio and create highly accurately synced loops that work with each other to create layers of music much like how each musical track would be arranged within a modern computerised Digital Audio Workstation.
Even thought Flash is owned by Adobe and is not open source 97% of all browsers connected to the Internet have the Flash Player plug-in installed. The player comes as standard within many browsers and is quick and easy to upgrade to the latest version of Flash. So, whilst still proprietary as a standard (it isnt an ‘open standard’ in the same way as mpeg is for example) it hits all of the user base of Internet connected surfers that you will want to turn into customers. The 3% that don’t use Flash aren’t interested in seeing graphics or listening to music.
Flash provides many digital designers and artists with an incredible creative tool that they use to blow the minds of web users. They have been achieving this for many years and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Summary And The Future
What does Adobe need to do now to develop Flash’s audio capabilities? Whilst the features of today make Flash compelling for audio delivery many of the Flash audio community are frustrated by the lack of audio features within Flash. Here are a number of features that would greatly enhance Flash’s ability to deliver audio more successfully:
1) Make mp3’s loop seamlessly. Currently if you add an MP3 into Flash and publish it, Flash will create a small gap before replaying the mp3 file thus destroying any loop’s effect. The only way around this today is to avoid importing mp3s, import WAVs (for example) and have them compressed down to mp3 format for publishing. Bizarre but true. Adobe get features like that into Flash when Flash needs this functionality to achieve perfectly synchronised loops.
3) Audio Plug-Ins: Link with the music community so that Flash is opened up to the plug ins available to add more richness to those who do not have access to more complex Digital Audio Workstations such as Bias Peak and other Adobe products.
4) Make synchronising easier: some developers find some sound files (mp3 or WAV format) go out of sync over time when there is no reason. This feels like a bug.
5) Making Movie Clips within movies playable within the stage whilst being developed would avoid developers having to work blind on a lot of audio / visual synchronising. There are some Flash components for sale that achieve this but are not part of Flash as standard.
How To Use Ambient Music Garden Music in your Therapy
First Things First: Royalty Free Use
Ambient Music Garden music is royalty free so you are able to play the music as part of your professional therapy sessions and group meetings. It also means you are able to play the music in shops and galleries if you are connected to one as part of your therapy environment. Normal CD music requires you to pay the royalty collection agency of your country a fee that can be the cost of 10 to 15 Cds per year for this privilege.
Playing Ambient Music Garden music via your computer
If you have a low noise computer such as a laptop you can simply play the music via your computer using your chosen music player such as Real, iTunes or Windows Media Player. We would recommend in this case using some reasonable external speakers that plug into your headphone socket. There is usually a choice for sale at computer stores. The better ones will power themselves and so give off a better sound. The better the speakers the more effective the music will be to your client. Normally computer speakers are weak at playing the lower sounds in a song so please bear this in mind.
Alternatively some more modern Hi-fi’s will have an input socket that allows you to connect your computer headphone socket to your hi-fi so that you can play your music via a better amplifier and speaker combination.
The complications with this method will tend to focus on sourcing the right stereo cables and plugs along with finding (possibly) the AUX button on your player.
Playing Ambient Music Garden music using a CD
Perhaps the less complicated method is to burn a CD of the tracks you have purchased in the order you choose and use a home or portable hi-fi / CD player.
Burning software is available online or at your local computer store. Ahead Nero and Roxio Toast are two that are popular. You may already have something on your computer that burns CDs for you so check before you purchase something new.
How you burn your music onto a CD depends on what type of Cds your player can play. For instance, older CD players will not be able to listen to mp3 formatted Cds. So, when you burn your music you will need to choose another format and clearly the only format suitable for older players will be the standard CD-Audio format that is the format that Cds from the shops come in.
Ambient Music Garden provides the above information to help you get started with integrating Ambient Music Garden music into your therapy sessions. We can not support your technical issues as these sort of queries can be varied and can we are not set up or have the time. Ambient Music Garden provides music as mp3s because it is a universally standard format that will work across the world. If you do have any queries about this information of any other questions before you start then please use the Contact Us page to send us a note.
The Holistic Approach To Including Music Within Website Design
Choosing the right music for your web site should be an essential part of choosing and designing the site’s look and feel. Indeed missing out on sound misses out on a key body sense that you are not interacting with, with your customers. In fact, perhaps a holistic approach to web site design should be approached by considering the ‘look, feel and sound’ of the site.
However, implemented badly and you will be inspiring your customers to scream and get rid of your site from their desktop as soon as their mouse can shoot your page dead!
So how should you approach music in your next site redesign I hear you ask. What considerations must be kept in mind whilst implementing a new sensual connection with your customers?
The Problem With Sound & Music Within A Website
Enhancing a web site with sound is perhaps the hardest part of designing a web site. It is seen by many as an uncontrollable medium and an unnecessary overhead. Music on web sites must be delivered considering the following challenges:
1. Technical & Presentation: Too large a file and it doesn’t download in time. Additionally music delivered badly can leave a customer confused and out of control of the sound, instantly inspiring them to reach for the ‘kill page’ option!
2. Create The Right Ambience, Flow & Freshness For Your Site: What feeling do you want the music to create within your customers? How does this change throughout your site? And what about New Year celebrations?
3. Loops or Tracks? Why use a longer track when a loop will do nicely? Why use a loop when the customer will get bored with the repetition and want to move on before they go slowly mad.
4. Choosing the right music format, mp3? mp4? WAV? AIFF? FLAC?, hell even MIDI !!!: Your music producer may suggest a high quality format yet your web designer tells you that your bandwidth and costs will be hit hard.
5. Playback Format: will you choose WMA, Real or mp3? will you link to them on your site? This will mean your customers will have to open a new application such as Windows media player, Quicktime, Real Player or iTunes to play the music. It breaks up the customer experience and can frighten some into moving on quickly because of the automated opening of applications on their computer.
These points may bring a slither of fright to your senses. But have no fear; all these considerations are answered below.
Technical & Presentation Considerations
Site music must sound good, or the quality of the sound will reflect on your site. Using MIDI files instead of real sound means that you pass the sound generation over to your customer’s own sound card which may create horrendous creations of the composition. Additionally there will be little option for creating space and capturing the benefits of naturals sounds within musical compositions this way.
Downloadable quickly or in the background if not required to be there at the exact launch of a web page (for example if the sound gently raises volume, which is useful for longer more complex pieces. But don’t forget that a long track maybe worthless if you plan that your customer will not be on a particular page for long. You may wish to embed a long track on a part of your web site that doesn’t change throughout the whole of your website experience.
Don’t embed a track on a heading that doesn’t change throughout a web site only to embed music in a page that is opened within a frame, leaving the customer to hear two tracks at once and need to make a choice as to which track to look for the stop button. Maybe this is enough to frighten customers away. A tricky one but this is simply about working through your site’s customer experience for yourself making sure that you understand completely how the site will work.
Consider the quality of the music against the time it takes a customer to download it. Is your web host located in the same country as the majority of your customers? Ask your customers what they think of the music? You might find some keep the music playing in the background whilst browsing other sites, meaning that your site is always in their mind. This could be a reason why they come back to your site regularly.
Are all your customers broadband users? Maybe they are, maybe those customers who are broadband are the more serious Internet users that spend money on their Internet usage and so are more your target than those who don’t or cant have broadband. MP3 formats (which is the format used for publishing music within Flash) comes in numerous sizes of quality.
Typically, today a site will present its music at around 32kb/s which is much less than the quality of a CD. However with a professional Flash developer and composer a track can be compressed at different amounts depending on each track’s sonic qualities and thus reduce the overall effect of compression leaving higher sounds crisp whilst the lower bass beats still intact.
All music must be created without too hard a beginning note that may make your customers jump out of their skin (when they realise the previous user of the computer was playing a load PC game for example). Another reason for a customer to jump for the ‘kill page’ option.
The music must be controllable and have the ability to at least stop the music. Preferably it would have Play and Pause buttons too. Controls for these actions must be clear and compatible with all common browsers. If you don’t provide buttons for controlling sound your customers will use the only control they have. You’ve guessed it, the ‘kill page’ option.
Ambience & Flow: Creating Ambience
Imagine your favourite film. How much did the music play a part in capturing and enhancing the mood? Possibly more than the consciousness will allow us to be aware of. It is easy to underestimate the effect that sound has on any consumer experience.
Consider the different music that you will find between differing retail outlets. For example, a fast food chain’s music is quick paced to get you in and out again (without of course intending to emphasise the ‘out’ bit too much). Whereas a resturant with dim-lit corners would aim to sooth you with ambient and romantic music so that you feel relaxed and looked after.
So, for example, a mystic charms shop would be enhanced with ambient music that created visions of spirits and earthy connections (such as bird sounds and water flowing).
You may want to take time to consider what feelings you would want to present to your customer. For example, welcoming soothing sounds to relax them, draw them in and feel looked after. Or empathetic sounds for charitable organisations where customer’s donations are essential for the development of the needs that the charity supports.
Ambience & Flow: Creating Flow
What you can do that retail outlets can not do so well is create music for each part of the customer experience. For example, the different between a welcome page and the thank you page once a customer has purchased. Indeed a checkout process may require silence to enable a customer to concentrate, or perhaps you might like to experiment with quieter soothing music if you feel that many or your customers feel agitated going through a cart process. Maybe.
So, for example, an introduction track would have you wondering what else to expect inside, promising intrigue and a positive experience. Once inside product categories would have their own flavour of the overall track, taking slants depending on the delicateness of the product for example, or using technology sounds for electronic products for instance.
Alternatively, you may also want to consider the benefits of having a single Flash music Player that is embedded in a part of your site that does not change whilst a customer browses throughout the site. In addition to this, Flash Players have the ability to become online jukeboxes where they play a choice of music for customers if you feel you want to give customers a sense of being unique to you.
By using technology such as XML, Flash is also able to provide you the web owner a simple way to load up new songs that match seasonal changes to your site, or creating a refresh to your site with new music as regular as you choose.
Ambience & Flow: Considering Freshness
Consider changing the music regularly and taking into consideration seasonal changes, cultural holidays and on occasions, particular world events that may occur that you might want to create empathy for, such as a natural disaster. Don’t leave it there with negative thoughts though! Consider fun things such as sporting events and other more positive happenings. You may even want to draw the attention of certain happenings to your customers, for example, mystic music to catch the mood at full moon.
Loops or Tracks?
Loops are great because they are fast to download and, if produced correctly are seamless. However, after about the forth or fifth time the loop loops it may become necessary to move on to another sound.
This is where Adobe Flash saves the day. Imagine having three instruments that were the equivalent size of three loops. Instead of playing three loops one after the other, with Flash a professional Flash developer & composer will be able to construct a piece of music that mixes these three different parts of the same music and multiply the variants of the same tune to as many as twice that amount. So instead of getting three 10 second loops you will have a total of a whole minute of music for the same time it takes to download 30 seconds of mp3 based loops.
So, with that in mind you can consider using an intro that allows your customers to view your welcome page for 30 seconds. Then you might feel you would like to draw them further in to view product pages for example. So, you could consider turning off the repetitive loop, implying to the customer that they have seen all that there is to see and its it time to move on. Once in the product area you may want to consider using a full one minute (for example) music track that loops gently in the background with a quieter volume. Flash Soundtracks provides ambient music in Flash, MP3, WAV and AIFF formats to enrich your customer’s web experience.
Flashsoundtracks.com supplies Ambient Music Garden with all the ambient music to back the animations sold here. Flashsoundtracks will be making available full songs in Flash and WAV/AIFF formats soon so that you can create your own mixes of these tracks to suit your specific needs for your customers. Commission work to create a track list for the whole of your web site based on a full track is also available at Ambient Music Garden. Please see the Commissioning Work product category.
Choosing The Right Music Format.
Choosing the right format is pretty simple today for the average website visitor. Its not so much a question about the technology either. Mp3 is widely known and accepted. Most people have heard of the term ‘mp3′ whereas it is far from common for the average website visitor to understand what a FLAC format is. Although it depends on your business and your markets I would recommend you stick to what your customers will feel comfortable with, that being the mp3 format. It is going to be the easiest to get your visitors to listen to with their varied technological combinations of computers and it is a high compression format which reduces the time it takes to download to listen. Additionally to this, if you have the technical ability, available skills and budget you should consider delivering an mp3 via Flash.
The easiest way to deliver an mp3 is to have it set to automatically play in the background. If you have however a range of pieces of music that you want the customer to click to listen to, then if you only use the hyper text to link to the mp3 version the visitor will have to open up a separate application on their computer to listen to them, which is very messy and means you loose the eyeball and attention of the customer as he/she is drawn away from your site and brand.
Alternatively, using a flash player which are available free or for a small fee can enable your visitors to click on each piece of music to play whilst still being immersed into your branding. All professional web designers know how to add a flash player to your site so there are no excuses to get the job done right .
There is no doubt that now is the right time to move into providing a multimedia experience for your customers. With the almost ubiquitous use of broadband to the most Internet savy markets of the world you can create a better more successful customer experience at your website that provides you with increased customer loyalty and competitive edge. Considering the above steps within your next website makeover will enable you to provide a fresh new experience for your customers and grow your market, increase conversions and have customers coming back for more.
Written by Guy Lewis.
Copyright Kesseny ltd. Strictly no reproduction without authority.