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On the Audio and Music Meta, people are requesting the ability to embed audio into posts, this would be useful for the asker to let us hear audio he is having a problem with and good for us to easily give examples.

This lead to a embedded audio player request on the audio meta and music meta but we think that it might be the wrong place to ask it there, which leads to this question: Could an embedded audio player be provided?

I'm thinking of the following features:

  • Given a link to a supported format (wav, mp3, ogg, ...) you can play, pause and skip in the sample.
  • No automatic play, would be disturbing as there could be multiple on a page.
  • No preloading (don't deliver data the user doesn't want)
  • Perhaps caching the start so it start playing quick.
  • Either an in-line link which results in an audio player popping up in a convenient location,
    or a player that doesn't share any text on the same line and thus is in it's own paragraph.

The most convenient way to type this, is simply typing an auto-converting link just like YouTube embeds:

http://www.example.com/file.mp3

This might be useful for other sites too; and maybe allow video towards the future, perhaps a line that contains the title of the video and if you click it slides down an embedded video player.

If necessary, for hot-linking, a FAQ item with recommended hosting sites for audio files could be listed

PelletenCate's comment

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Sounds like a problem webmasters.stackexchange.com might be able to fix if the go-ahead is given. –  Mark Henderson Dec 15 '10 at 21:49
    
Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/66397/… –  Jon Seigel Dec 16 '10 at 1:25
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This will open up lots of problems with copy right! –  Ian Ringrose Dec 16 '10 at 9:12
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@IanRingrose: So does linking pictures at the moment, if we limit the audio to a fragment and to examples I'm pretty sure we can avoid copyright problems. If not, strict rules have to be enforced, it really would be a handy feature... –  Tom Wijsman Dec 16 '10 at 11:15
    
@TomWij, the problem is that there are lot of people that think all music should be free and will try to use any site to get there ends. Allso lots of people that make lots of money from selling music, Pictures just don't get as many problem in real life... –  Ian Ringrose Dec 17 '10 at 9:14
    
If the audio player is in flash (assuming it would be, what else is there), there may be problems getting it to stream content from another domain, due to cross domain restrictions. An .swf file from one domain cannot load content from another domain unless the domain with the content has a crossdomain.xml file permitting it to do so. If you have link to a clip already on the web, why not just post the link, and get people to load it in whichever native player they already have? –  Kibbee Jun 20 '11 at 2:15
    
@KevinMontrose: Thank you for planning this! :) –  Tom Wijsman Jun 22 '11 at 20:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

A generic "convert any link that ends in .mp3 to something playable" is not going to work; for purely technical reasons: To have a nice in-page player, you need one of two things:

  1. Use the HTML5 <audio> tag
  2. Use Flash.

Unfortunately, neither of these will work. Even if you say "okay, ignore people with browsers that don't support <audio>", you still have the problem that each browser supports a different range of formats. Some browsers support MP3, some support Ogg Vorbis, some support WAV files – but not a single format is common to all browsers. So point 1. is out.

Point 2 fails for security reasons: A flash applet is not allowed to download content from just any random domain, unless that domain explicitly allows this by hosting a cross-domain policy file. This can hardly be taken for granted for most of the files people would link to; but of course for a file to be played, it has to be downloaded first.

So for the sites that could benefit from having an in-page audio player (namely Audio-Video Production and Music), we're going with a solution similar to what we did with video: We're picking one hoster. In case of video, that's YouTube, in case of sound, it's SoundCloud.

Links to tracks hosted on SoundCloud will automatically turn into a player embedded into the page on SE sites that have this enabled.

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This request on Signal Processing hasn't gotten any love... any comment on it @balpha? –  Lorem Ipsum Oct 10 '11 at 22:36
    
Do SoundCloud support midi files? –  awe Mar 21 '12 at 10:31
    
@balpha: This meta post on Music.SE asks for possible to play MIDI files, and is tagged status-completed with a link to here. Do DoundCloud support MIDI files? –  awe Aug 13 '12 at 10:06

I think that it would be fine if we limited it to play only the first 5 seconds of the clip. It would therefore very clearly be only snippets for fair use.

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+1 Limiting to a small amount, long enough to hear the what's happening and short enough not to act as an advertisement sounds like a very good idea. Perhaps we could have the tool assist the user to cut the part he needs to show us, or perhaps link to a cross-platform tutorial. Now let's hope to come up with a working solution and implement it... –  Tom Wijsman Jan 19 '11 at 20:53
    
I think 10 seconds of the clip for the audio site would give someone a better opportunity to hear what is going on. 5 seconds seems a bit short if someone was trying to show an example of an effect or mixing technique. –  Friend Of George Jun 29 '11 at 13:54

You can record and/or upload a maximum of 5 minutes audio to http://audioboo.fm for free. You can then post the usual url link to a web page and use their built in audio player.

Development of an API is currently in progress. It's in early stages at the moment but they may provide the functionality to embed single audioboos.

You need to register but it is free.

Just my 2 pence....

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