Formats and Browser Support

Even more so than with video, audio should always be offered in multiple formats.

Audio Formats

Best included self-hosted audio formats:

  • MP3: Good quality for file size, but proprietary.
  • OGG Audio: Open-sourced.
  • Wav*: Lossless, but larger files.

There are many file formats that audio files can be rendered to. The most popular and well known is likely .mp3.

This is because the compression achieved creates smaller file sizes without comprising audio quality too greatly. However, .mp3 is technically a proprietary format, and as such, some people are hesitant to use it.

If you find yourself working for an audio-based client, they may also have strong opinions about what file types they want prioritized. For example, they may want to use .ogg as this is an open-source based audio format.

*Your clients may also insist that you include lossless or uncompressed audio file formats such as .wav, .aiff, or .flac.

“Not Supported!”

Notice that the <audio> element is not an “empty element” and requires both an opening and closing tag. This serves a number of purposes, but the most important is that the developer can include content between the tags that will be displayed or called in the case that an end-user’s browser does not support the <audio> element or audio file format.

You should always include extra markup inside the tags for this potential case.

<audio src="#" preload controls>
  <p>A quick description of the song...</p>
  <p>Sorry, your browser does not support our audio format.</p>