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Virtual Tour Background Music: Cheezy or Cheez-a-licous?

Real Estate Technology

Ok, this question is going out to agents, home buyers, and home sellers...

When you open a virtual tour and the cheezy music starts playing, do you:

  • Think it adds "panache" to the listing and makes you feel better about it


  • Immediately reach for the mute button

We got a lot of requests to add background music capabilities to our TourBuzz virtual tour platform, and I resisted for a long time. But so many people asked for it I finally gave in and added the feature -- click here for a demo tour.

But I still want to get feedback from the community:

Agents - do you always use music on your listings? Do the sellers like it? Do buyers?

Buyers - you look at dozens of tours a day, does the music drive you crazy or make you love the house?


Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA


I use VisualTour and they are adding more music choices. I actually do like having music (mostly jazz, piano, easy listening, latin) instead of having someone narrate what I'm seeing. Since I can add my comments on the caption, that's sufficient information to describe to the viewer what he/she is seeing and what makes the room specials.

Let's put it this way, if I am put on hold, I prefer music to dead silence....or endless prattle about the company. If the plug is short, that's fine...but lord have mercy on us who are on hold too long.

As they say, KISS. And music tames the savage beast. Just don't make that "music" loud rock and roll or gansta rap.

Apr 12, 2008 11:11 AM
Alan Pinstein
Decatur, GA
Pacita- Thanks for the comment! This is just the kind of info I'm looking for.
Apr 12, 2008 11:23 AM
Patrick Lambert
ALLY Real Estate - Waikoloa, HI
Hawaii Real Estate Expert


Check out my link above. It's one of my virtual tours ... I make my own and I do have music. I guess for me it's easy because of where I am and the song I chose. I get several positive remarks and some emails from people just looking that took the time to compliment me on the page and the song.  My sellers love it. So far I have only done 2, just started a few weeks ago and only positive feedback so far. But I am working on more due to the positive reception.


Apr 12, 2008 11:31 AM
Brian Luce
HomeStarr Realty Inc. - New Hope, PA
Associate Broker

I've heard some pretty Wacky music on some virtual tours that's for sure...


Apr 12, 2008 11:32 AM
Fred Light
| Nashua Video Tours - Nashua, NH
Real Estate Video Tours for MA and NH

Music is a very personal thing...  one person loves it... and it's like fingernails on a blackboard to the next person -you definitely have to be careful.

I do think music is OK as long as it's very neutral, and MOST importantly, an OPTION.  Either the option of starting the tour by pressing a button, knowing there is sound, or the option of turning ON the sound (not turning it OFF).

Most people surf the web at work. Most people these days are in cubicles.  Without exception, most are NOT supposed to be casually surfing the web at work.  Therefore (1) most have their sound turned off so as not to call attention to their loafing or (2) if their sound is turned on, the second blaring music comes from their speakers, they will shut you down FAST.  And most likely never return.  

Another problem is if I'm working and speaking with someone on the phone, and I'm surfing at the same time and come across a site with blaring music that comes out of nowhere, I'm going to shut it down as fast as I can.  Not to mention that I'm probably NOT thrilled with you OR your website for doing that in the ears of my client/ conversation.

Sound, music, or video should NEVER start automatically on ANY website for any reason.  Ever.  It should always be an option to turn it on. Otherwise you run the risk of alienating customers right from the get go... probably not the intention!


Apr 12, 2008 01:17 PM
Debbie Summers
Charles Rutenberg Realty - New Smyrna Beach, FL
I use OBEO tours and I use music sometimes.  I took music off my website because it drove me crazy.
Apr 12, 2008 02:29 PM
Mike Saunders
Retired - Athens, GA

Alan & Patrick

I like the music selection you both have, however, I found both of them distracting.

Personally, I would not use music on a virtual tour, unless it was something that was so inocuous that it disappeared, like elevator muzak.

I would especially not use music with lyrics.

If I ever do use music, I will try for some very light background music with a spoken message describing what is being displayed.





Apr 29, 2008 04:20 AM
Ben Nunes ~ Photography & Virtual Tours
New Tour Era, Inc - Atlanta, GA

In my experience, I've found Seller's love, Buyer's....not so much. Almost a catch 22. Same thing goes for voice overs, I have yet to find a buyer who says "I really didn't know about the (insert feature here) until I heard it on the voice over..."

Maybe it's my market, who knows.

Apr 29, 2008 05:18 AM
Alan Pinstein
Decatur, GA
Ben: That's a great observation. I had never thought of it like that, even though the evidence for it is all around.

Yes, I think it's a "demanded feature" because the sellers like it, but they don't realize that it annoys buyers.

What I try to tell people is, remember that your virtual tour is only 1 of 20+ that a person is probably looking at that day. They don't want to hear cheezy music from every tour. It gets old.
Apr 29, 2008 05:41 AM
Fred Light
| Nashua Video Tours - Nashua, NH
Real Estate Video Tours for MA and NH

I think a bigger issue to worry about is not the music, but the tours themselves.

What I find the vast majority of realtors doing is taking the exact same photos that are on the MLS, uploading them in to a RealEstateShows or VisualTour slideshow program, and calling that a 'virtual tour'.  THAT'S the problem these days. That is NOT a virtual tour, that is purely a regurgitation of the exact same photos we just saw!  Who benefits from that?

I think it's insulting to buyers when they look at the photos on the MLS, then take the time to download a tour (assuming they will be getting MORE information), and what they receive is exactly the same thing they just saw.  This time though, we're zooming in and out of [usually] the same bad photos we JUST SAW!

The music isn't nearly as annoying as the fact that you're seeing EXACTLY THE SAME THING!  Why bother?  What's the point?  It's a complete waste of time.  Music and zooming isn't going to give a buyer anything different in the way of a perspective on the house.

Either don't bother with a tour at all, or give the customer MORE.  More photos, different angles, different perspectives, neighborhood information, bigger photos - something different.  I think that should be more of a concern than music, which you generally can turn off. 


Apr 29, 2008 07:48 AM
Tony Flora
Tony Flora Photography - Jacksonville Beach, FL

Music is personal and you run the risk of turning buyers off. You can't please everyone but you will definitely turn off someone with audio in your tours.  Easy listening, while enjoyable for some, is torture for me.  Trying to find the off button on a tour is sometimes frustrating if it is not easily visible.  



May 08, 2008 12:27 PM

I love using good music - if someone doesn't like it, have a button to turn the sound off. I don't like short loops that repeat over and over again. Good music can establish an emotional connection between the viewer and the property. The wrong music is a turnoff, agreed, but music used properly is an asset - and my feedback on over 350 tours is that most people prefer it.

Jun 20, 2008 05:17 AM
Northern Virginia Real Estate Photography - Bryant Payden
B. Payden Photography, LLC - Manassas, VA
Northern Virginia Real Estate Photography

Alan-When I first set-up a tour for a client I enable the music function and choosy a soft classical selection and let the agent know that in their user interface on my website they can sign in and change any of their preferences, including music. I personally think some of the music is cheesy but to each his own. Most of my clients leave the music enabled, by the way.

Jul 18, 2008 02:47 AM
Michael Cole
CPG Tours - Corona, CA

When we first launched, we debated this very issue. But with our service, agents create their own tours and can include music or not. But even if they include it, there’s still the option for the viewer to shut it off.


Jul 18, 2008 02:58 AM
Laurie Price Sitetraffic.com

I've been shooting virtual tours for over 10 years now and low, soft and pleasant music with the option to turn it off is the best way to present your tour. However an even better option is the voice over. This is another way to deliver more information to your captured audience. They will also retain the information and remember the property better than any others viewed.
On another note, I think it is hysterical when virtual tour providers get upset that slide shows are displayed as virtual tours and are the same as the images that were just viewed.  So what. It's a different format, perhaps a podcast. If you're viewing the still photos on another web site and you've just viewed them in the mls, then bravo. That was a successful distribution.  Don't go into real estate web 2.0 kicking and screaming but learn about the new tools that are exciting and very powerful in todays market.

Jul 30, 2008 07:59 PM
Barry Baskin
SC 360 Tour - Greenville, SC
Vice President

On our virtual tours we obviously leave it up to the client to make the decision. I think one of the challenges is trying to find something that doesn't draw attention away from the message, which is the tour. We are exploring options that can change the persisitent music without having the dead air.

Dec 19, 2009 03:58 AM