Both Bandcamp and Soundcloud, two popular audio streaming services, don't have very accessible means of controlling volume. Bandcamp doesn't have a control at all, while Soundcloud only provides one on their website; the embedded widget doesn't have one.

This decision causes a bit of annoyance for me, because to change the volume I need to either adjust my system volume or my external amplifier. This throws off the volume balance on every other audio application I use.

What's the reason behind not including a volume control? I know I'm just one user, but I don't think my problem is particularly obscure and I don't see any upsides for not including one. I wasn't able to find an answer from Bandcamp and Soundcloud, and I wasn't able to find any research on the subject.

  • 1
    Interesting I wan't aware bandcamp didn't have a volume control. At the bottom of this help page you can see it was intended by design. And here you can see speculation as to why. One post says its so people don't lower the volume and use it as background music to other apps. I personally just find them annoying.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 21:21
  • Because you want kill your users' ears? Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 15:59
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    I dug into the source code, can set parameter "volume" to a number between .01 and 1.00, example: bandcamp*whatever*?volume=0.2
    – user93340
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 4:54
  • To me this is the most infuriating design choice I've ever seen. It's a media player. It's job is to mix audio content and it doesn't have volume!? That is so utterly ridiculous I can't believe it. It's like having an oven with no temperature control, nothing but on or off. 500 degrees or nothing. Unbelievable. Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 5:52

3 Answers 3


The main reason is to simplify the UI so it's easier to navigate. The excuse ("reason") this works is because the hardware almost always supports hardware volume adjustment, whether it's your iPhone or a 5.1 speaker system.

Is that a good reason to remove it? No. However, even Apple has struggled with the right way to handle having both a volume adjustment bar and a song time navigation. Users get confused between the two, depending on the case few people ever do either, etc. The list goes on and on.

So while you're right to be annoyed, I've used both and haven't had an issue. I rarely use the display volume rocker, I almost always use the hardware buttons, whether on iPhone or Android or a PC or laptop or TV. That usability is device agnostic. I'd hypothesize that the decision to remove it is based on research, or at least the thought, that this is true: users adjust audio off-screen.

  • > However, even Apple has struggled with the right way to handle having both a volume adjustment bar and a song time navigation. ----- This statement begs the imagination. Apple, certainly a UI design powerhouse if there's every been one, could easily have declared the convention: "Volume adjustment sliders must appear orthogonal to playback sliders. Volume controls must associate North(+vol)/South(-vol) direction, and playback position controls must associate East(+time)/West(-time)."
    – Marc
    Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 21:40

I think the smart approach would be to include a volume control on desktop computers, but hide it on mobile.

The reason is most desktop users don't like to adjust their speaker volume, it's often inconvenient, and even adjusting the volume slider in Windows itself is less convenient than adjusting the player volume.

The other important reason is that a desktop user is often multitasking, so they will have other applications running which may be creating sounds too. By failing to include a volume slider on the player, they can't "mix" the sound volumes as needed. If their other applications are set to the right sound level, adjusting the hardware volume is not the appropriate solution.

  • A counter argument is that I want my 'phone's volume high-ish, so I can hear if someone rings, but I only want the music "in the background" (or I don't want to annoy people around me, or it's a particularly loud track, etc.) -- whatever the reason, it's useful to have the device's volume and an app's volume separate.
    – TripeHound
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 11:24
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    You should not have to adjust the system volume, because that affects everything. The computer is a sound mixer. Each sound source needs its own volume control. Even if I'm not listening to music or playing a game at the same time as a talk, for example (though I might be), I should still at least be able to change the volume of this particular thing without changing later sound levels for everything else. It's ridiculous. (I see this is basically what you have said in your third paragraph.) Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 5:56

Soundcloud has such an option after you register.
When you log in there's a pop-up that lets you change the volume.
This is very user-unfriendly.
Not only are you taking away an important feature.
You also keep that fact hidden from potential users.
Who will think there is no option to change the volume.

  • And how does this answer the question? Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 5:30
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    @BennySkogberg It says there is no answer because they don't support this option. Since this site is about user experience, I thought it was okay to say something about that.
    – MrFox
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 8:30

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