Audio File MIME Types

Embed sound in your web pages with the correct MIME type

Audio files must be recognized by a web browser so that the browser knows how to handle it. The standard for identifying file types—Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME)—stipulates the nature of non-text files transmitted by email. MIME, however, is also used by web browsers. To embed audio into a web page, you'll need to verify that the browser understands the file's MIME type.

Embedding Audio

Use MIME types to embed sound files in your web pages using the HTML4 standard. Include the MIME type value in the type attribute of the embed element. For example:

<embed src="sunshine.mp3" type="audio/mpeg">

HTML4 doesn't have built-in support to play audio, only the embedding of the file. You'll need to use a plug-in to play the file on a page.

In HTML5, the ​audio element supports the MP3, WAV, and OGG formats. If the browser doesn't support the element or the file type, it returns an error message. Using audio allows the browser to playback supported sound files without the need for a plug-in.

Audio website
Talaj / Getty Images

Understanding Mime Types

MIME types associate with common file extensions. The content-type indicator identifies the extension in greater detail. Content-type tags appear as slashed pairs. The first term indicates the broad class of what it is, for example, audio or video. The second term indicates the subtype. An audio type might support dozens of subtypes, including MPEG, WAV, and RealAudio specifications.

If the MIME type is supported by an official Internet standard, the standard is indicated through a numbered Request for Comments that, when the comment period closes, defines the type or subtype officially. For example, RFC 3003 defines the audio/MPEG MIME type. Not all RFCs are officially approved. Some, like RFC 3003, exist in a state of semi-permanent proposed status.

Common Audio MIME Types

The following table identifies some common audio-specific MIME types:

File Extension MIME Type RFC
au audio/basic RFC 2046
snd audio/basic  
Linear PCM auido/L24 RFC 3190
mid audio/mid  
rmi audio/mid  
mp3 audio/mpeg RFC 3003
mp4 audio audio/mp4  
aif audio/x-aiff  
aifc audio/x-aiff  
aiff audio/x-aiff  
m3u audio/x-mpegurl  
ra audio/vnd.rn-realaudio  
ram audio/vnd.rn-realaudio  
Ogg Vorbis audio/ogg RFC 5334
Vorbis audio/vorbis RFC 5215
wav audio/vnd.wav RFC 2361
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