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Audio Info


The web has been incorporating multimedia into its pages ever since the release of the Mosaic web browser around 1993. It was shortly thereafter that links to many types of audio started to appear on the web. Even today (April 2007), it is still difficult for a web browser to extract semantic information regarding audio recordings from a web page. Information such as artist, title, speaker, track listing, and publisher are readily available on the same web page that contains the links to the audio files. The Audio Info exploratory discussion is an attempt to create a standard method of marking up metadata and information about one or more audio recordings discussed on a web page.

The Problem

It is difficult for a browser to extract semantic information about an audio recording described on a web page. Metadata such as speaker, musician, publisher, label, title of the work, release date, acquisition link, related image artwork and tags provide relevant context for the audio recording.

Having such information marked up can provide a number of benefits to the viewer. If a web browser understands that a particular web page contains a song performed by an artist, it can produce richer interactions. For example, specific searches may be performed for artists and songs via general search services such as Google and Wikipedia. Specific search services may also be queried such as MusicBrainz, The Internet Archive, FreeDB, or Bitmunk. Additionally, classification by crawlers can become more accurate. If there are 20 tracks found on a page done by the same artist, and that content consumes a significant portion of the page, it can be assumed that the page is not only about music, but also about a particular artist.

The audio information need not be associated with a file. Note that audio content (The Payback by James Brown) is very different from the audio file format (192Kbps, stereo MP3). The goal of this discussion is to create a Microformat draft for marking up audio metadata and information.


Due to the large number of audio sites, tallying statistical information for this discussion is difficult. A small python script has been written to do the job, but for it to work, we need to be careful about how we mark up information.

Please use the following template when adding information about an audio collection description:

* [ Website Name]
** [ Album Example]
*** Information displayed: artist, title, tracks, release date, label, genre, web-based purchase, cover image, 
                           price, format, sample, length, summary, physical-based purchase, publisher, reviews 

Please use the following template when adding information about an audio song, track or sample description:

* [ Website Name]
** [ Song Example]
*** Information displayed: title, track number, sample, web-based purchase, artist, price, length, release date, album, genre, format, rating, label 

If you need to add more information that is displayed, please use a common term to describe the information. For example, if you need to mention that an artists hometown is mentioned, adding a term such as hometown would be acceptable.



Real-World Examples


Publication of audio speeches on blogs is often called "podcasting". In essence though, it is simply audio speech publishing. Quotes of audio files are beginning to appear, and publishers are putting up files with links to other audio files they've quoted from. Most audio appears to often have the same base elements as video and photos, with the exception of quotes.

Individual Publishing of Speech

Audio books



Individual Publishing of Music

Music Podcasting

Music podcasts are a totally different beast, but a very important one. They usually consist of one big file containg multiples songs, speech, audio advertising and prerecorded audio (such as voicemail or promos). Podcasts consists of multiple songs and therefore might need another microformat, one that makes a collection of multiple songs and only one file.


These properties are in alphabetical order and in no way represent the frequency of their use in the examples. The property names are also not final and probably will not be used when the Microformat vocabulary is decided. Deciding the vocabulary of the Microformat is not performed at this stage of examples collection and analysis. These property names and definitions are listed here in an attempt to keep the current and future example analysis teams using the same definitions for property names.


Mashups, remixes, cut-ups and audio-collages

Some music is in fact made from other samples of other music. The information on those tracks then must contain another audio information, on the original track. Some of those tracks are posted to sampling communities and therefore are remixed again, creating a fractal-like information. Most sites, thou, will only show the first layer: the music directly derivated

Top Lists

Top lists are lists of music or audio that are rated in order. Examples are a the "Billboard Top 100", "Top 100 Blue Grass hits of 2005", "Top Beatles Remixes of All Time", etc.

Service Publishing of Music

In-active Music Services


Pages about audio recordings, but not necessarily downloadable files or purchasable product:


Analysis of Music Podcasts

Podcast Statistics (8 sites analyzed)

Analysis of Music Services

Shown below is the most popular information listed for music albums and songs. This includes analysis of over 84 online music sites.

Album and Song Statistics (41 current sites analyzed, 84 total sites analyzed)

Microformalyze Data Files

You will need to use Microformalyze to read and analyze these data files:

Further Analysis Regarding Summaries

Martin McEvoy did a more concentrated analysis on album/podcast/track summaries and found that the initial analysis was too constrained when it came to identifying if an album/podcast had a summary or not. His findings are available below:


Podcasts: 100% or available sources

Individual Publishing of Music

Individual Publishing of Music: 100% of available sources

Music Podcasting

Music Podcasting: 80% of available sources

Mashups, remixes, cut-ups and audio-collages

Mashups: 50% of available sources

Service Publishing of Music

Service Publishing of Music: 54% of available sources

Existing Practices

Listed below is an overview of existing patterns and practices found in the wild for audio information and metadata.

Other schema

Summary of common patterns discovered

Other attempts to solve The Problem

Related Pages

audio-info-examples was last modified: Tuesday, December 16th, 2008