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The audio info microformat creates a standard method of marking up metadata and information about one or more audio recordings discussed on a web page.


This section explores the terminology that should used to discuss an audio info microformat.

Common Terminology on Audio Websites


Discovered Elements

There were several elements that were identified during the discovery process as being good first-implementation candidates. They are listed below in order of popularity.


Frequency: 95%+ in 91 sites

The artist information was found on all pages related to audio recordings. This usually consisted of an artist name, band name, or orchestra name. This field could more loosely be described as the primary content creator.


It is recommended that artist name be wrapped in a vcard inside a 'collaborator' tag. For example:

<span class="collaborator fn">Green Day</span>


<span class="collaborator">
 <div class="vcard">
  <span class="fn">Green Day</span> (<span class="role">artist</span>)


Frequency: 94% in 91 sites

The title of the album, song, speech or podcast was almost as prevalent as the artist name. This was usually a simple text value.


It is recommended that the title be implemented as a simple span tag:

<span class="title">I Have A Dream</span>

tracks (track/song listing)

Frequency: 85% in 91 sites

Usually on a page listing an album or a podcast, a listing of tracks/songs available in the collection was detailed on the same page.


It is recommended that we not create a new collection Microformat and instead depend on nesting the same Microformat to denote collections of items. Perhaps by using a collection-item pattern. XOXO can be used for ordered lists.

Album example:

<div id="album-1" class="haudio">
 <span class="title">Audio Album Name</span> by
 <span class="collaborator fn">Artist Name</span>
 <ol class="xoxo">
   <div id="album-1.item.1" class="haudio">
    <span class="title">Track 1</span>
  <div id="album-1.item.2" class="haudio">
   <span class="title">Track 2</span>
  <div id="album-1.item.3" class="haudio">
   <span class="title">Track 3</span>

Podcast example:

<div id="podcast-1" class="haudio">
 <span class="title">January 2007 Podcast</span> by
 <span class="collaborator fn">Podcaster Name</span>
 <div id="podcast-1.item.a" class="haudio">
  <span class="collaborator fn">Artist Name 1</span>
  <span class="title">Track 1</span>
 <div id="podcast-1.item.b" class="haudio">
  <span class="collaborator fn">Artist Name 2</span>
  <span class="title">Track 2</span>

release date

Frequency: 75% on 91 sites

A release date is usually specified for the date that the album, song, track or podcast hit the streets. This is almost always in a standard date format.


The release date should probably use the already well established datetime-design-pattern. A date/time could look like the following:

<abbr class="release-date" title="20051010T10:10:10-0100">October 10th, 2005</abbr>


Frequency: 73% of 91 sites

Pages often provide a URL to a sample of the audio being described on the page. The URL usually specifies a sampling stream or download URL for the sample.


The sample/download should probably use the already well established rel-design-pattern. A sample link could look like the following:

<a href="" rel="sample">Sample URL</a>


Frequency: 67% of 85 sites

The label/publisher information was found on many of the pages related to audio recordings. This usually consisted of an small independent label name, large music publisher name, the same name as the artist, or other publishing/distributing entity. This field could more loosely be described as the primary content distributor.


It is recommended that artist name be wrapped in a vcard inside a 'publisher' tag. For example:

<span class="publisher org">Sub Pop</span>


<span class="publisher">
 <div class="vcard">
  <span class="org">Sub Pop</span> (<span class="role">publisher</span>)


Frequency: 62% of 91 sites

The acquire discovery pertains to legal acquisition of the audio material in it's entirety (not a sample). Most of these acquisitions methods are web-based purchases. Some of them are free downloads and a small number of them are online purchases for physical goods. A URL is almost always listed to begin the process (be it checkout, download site selection, format selection).


It is recommended that acquisition method use the already well established rel-design-pattern. An acquisition link could look like the following:

<a href="" rel="acquire">Purchase/Download URL</a>


Frequency: 59% of 85 sites

The image summary is a visual still-frame image summary of the content. In the case of an album, it is the album cover image. In the case of a speech, it can be an image of the speaker. In the case of an audio song - the album cover image would be adequate.


It is recommended that an image is used for the image summary.

 <span class="image-summary"><img src="album_cover.jpg" alt="Album Cover" /></span>


Frequency: 59% of 91 sites

The genre describes the type of music, be it blues, rock, motivational, spoken word, sound effect or any other musical, speech or audio style.


It is recommended that the class-design-pattern be used for identifying genres.

 <span class="genre">Blues</span>


Frequency: 54% of 85 sites

The length of a audio clip is important when considering if it is worth the download.


The abbr-design-pattern may be a good choice for this data format. The title is always the time in seconds with the human-readable portion of it described in the CDATA.

 <abbr class="length" title="125">2:05</abbr> seconds.


Frequency: 51% of 85 sites

Another strong differentiator when somebody is searching for something to purchase is the price. The price is prominently displayed on a variety of music service sites.


Perhaps currency-proposal would be the best method of describing this information:

<span class="money"><abbr class="currency" title="USD">$</abbr><span class="amount">7.99</span></span>

Additional Possibilities

Possible Uses

This section describes potential applications for an audio info microformat.

Transformational Uses

It may be desirable to process an audio blog using a transformational tool, such as XSLT, to produce a different representation that can be used elsewhere - such as in a REST invocation.

Archival Uses

Being able to scrape information from a web page and store it long term may be desirable for search companies.

Personal Database

Search Engines

Partial Text Blogs



This document was placed into the public domain on July, 25th, 2007. There are no restrictions of any kind on its use, modification or distribution.

Related Pages

audio-info-brainstorming was last modified: Saturday, December 20th, 2008