Audio - Adding MP3s to your site

If you'd like to add audio files (e.g., filename.mp3, filename.wav, filename.aiff, etc.) to your website, we recommend the following options:

IN THIS ARTICLE:

1

Upload audio files to the File Manager

One way to add audio files to your website is to simply upload them to your File Manager and link to them as you would a PDF Document.

However, uploading audio files in this manner requires multiple steps for you as an administrator of your website. Also, the resulting audio player is not incredibly user friendly for the visitors of your website (i.e., it'll open up a new tab in the visitor's browser that will look something like this).

Uploading audio files via this option is free, as long as you don't exceed the file storage limit for your website. (If you have an  eCatholic website, you can view how many megabytes of storage space you have remaining in the top right corner of your File Manager). 

However, audio files can quickly eat up a lot of space on your website's server. So before uploading files via this method, be sure to compress your audio files if necessary. The bit rate determines how much an audio file is compressed; the lower the bit rate, the more the file is compressed (and the file will be smaller), but some quality may be sacrificed. 

While the quality can get a lot higher, most MP3 files use a bit rate of 128 Kbps. The vast majority of people cannot tell any difference if you were to increase the bit rate to 160 Kbps. We recommend not compressing MP3 music files lower than 128 Kbps.  

However, if you're uploading spoken presentations/talks, the audio quality probably isn't of the utmost importance (as long as the speaker's voice can be clearly understood). As a result, there is no need to have a bit rate higher than 96 Kbps for these types of files. (In most cases, these types of files can be safely compressed to an even lower bit rate.) 

Compressing Audio

Here are some recommended guidelines for compressing your audio files:

  • MUSIC: Compress your music (MP3 files) to a bit rate of 128 Kbps (or higher).
  • TALKS: Compress audio files of spoken presentations to a bit rate of 96 Kbps (or lower).

If your files are smaller, you'll obviously be able to store more files. In addition, your visitors will be able to download and listen to smaller files more quickly. (Whoever created the MP3s you are trying to upload to your website should have the software to make these types of bit rate changes.)

* If you want to embed your audio files manually, you can use the Tutorials over at W3Schools.com to aid you in that regard. Doing this would require some working knowledge of HTML.

2

Use the Custom Embed module

Instead of uploading files directly to your site's File Manager, many people opt to use third-party services created specifically for hosting audio files. Namely,  PodBeanLibsyn and Soundcloud are popular choices. 

These are paid services, but are relatively inexpensive. (For example, with Podbean you can upload up to 100MB of audio files each month for less than $5/month. Soundcloud currently offers a free publishing package with a 3 hour upload quota.) 

After you upload files, you can obtain an embed code from your podcasting service and  use the Custom Embed module to easily embed an audio player on your site. Then your audio files will play directly on your site. 

These services typically include lots of nifty features, including the ability to create playlists or customized players with images of your parish or choir. With this option, your visitors don't need to download your files in order to listen to them and will have greater control over the playback of the audio (i.e., they will be able to skip to different portions of the song if they'd like, etc.) and can easily share the files with others via social media if they wish.

Using this method, your audio files are stored externally, which ensures that they won't clog up the remaining space in your File Manager.

Want background music to automatically play on your website?

We strongly recommend you don't do this. 

Not only can auto-playing background music quickly become annoying to those who regularly visit your website...it can also startle or anger visitors that may be in a public location without headphones and are not expecting music to automatically play. 

Go for one of the options listed above instead!

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