Audio File MIME Types

Embed sound in your web pages with the correct MIME type

Audio website
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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 support native playing of audio, just the embedding of the file. You'll need to use a plugin actually 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'll kick back an error message. Using "audio" allows the browser itself to play back supported sound files without the need for a plugin.

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, with the first term indicating the broad class of what it is — for example, audio or video — and the second term indicating the subtype. An audio type might support dozens of subtypes, including MPEG, WAV and RealAudio specifications.

If the MIME type has been supported by an official Internet standard, the standard will be 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 of the most common audio-specific MIME types:

Audio File 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