How to Embed MP3 Audio Files In Web Pages With Google or Yahoo! Flash Player

Question: How do you embed an MP3 file (like a podcast, song or background music) into a web page or an RSS feed so that visitors can listen to the audio in the browser itself without requiring an external player like QuickTime or Windows Media Player.
Answer: We earlier recommended the Google MP3 Player for embedding MP3 songs and audio podcasts in web pages but for some reason, the Google Flash player has stopped working on external websites other than listening to voicemail messages on Gmail.com.
 
So here we explore some new Flash MP3 players from Google and Yahoo! that are again light-weight, easy to implement and extremely efficient.
1. Google Reader MP3 Player
Google Reader has an inbuilt MP3 player that is pretty much the same as Gmail player but it also works on non-Google websites. This player has volume controls, no Google branding and it auto-detects the duration of the music file so your readers know how long the song will last. Here’s a live example followed by the HTML embed code:

To use this MP3 player on your website or blog, copy-paste the following code and replace the MP3_FILE_URL with the link to your MP3 file.


<object classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ width=”400″ height=”27″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0″><param name=”bgcolor” value=”#ffffff” /><param name=”flashvars” value=”playerMode=embedded” /><param name=”src” value=”http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3247397568-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=MP3_FILE_URL” /><param name=”wmode” value=”window” /><embed type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”400″ height=”27″ src=”http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3247397568-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=MP3_FILE_URL” wmode=”window” flashvars=”playerMode=embedded” bgcolor=”#ffffff”></embed></object>

If you think normal is boring, check this out. Yahoo! offer a code generator (Easy Listener) to help you create a Flash based MP3 player that matches your website color theme and layout. See example:

Though this Easy Listener MP3 player requires you to pass the address of the web page that contains the MP3 file(s), you can directly pass the MP3 link and it will work just fine. Supports auto play and you can decide where the meta data associated with the MP3 file should be displayed.

<embed src=”http://webjay.org/flash/dark_player&#8221; width=”400″ height=”40″ wmode=”transparent” flashVars=”playlist_url=MP3_FILE_URL&amp;skin_color_1=-145,-89,-4,5&skin_color_2=-141,20,0,0″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” />
 

3. Yahoo! Media Player
If you maintain an MP3 blog or run a podcast and regularly link to MP3 files, it makes little sense to embed a separate Flash player with every MP3 file. I would therefore recommend using the Yahoo! Media Player that auto-detects links to MP3 files in your web pages and creates an embedded player for each link.
All you have to do is insert the following link in your blog template and all MP3 hyperlinks will be converted into inline MP3 players. This also has the shuffle feature and visitors can easily skip to any song in the playlist. Excellent stuff.

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://mediaplayer.yahoo.com/js”></script&gt;

4. Odeo MP3 Player
Odeo offers a pretty impressive MP3 player (see example) that works perfect in web pages as well as RSS readers but a small issue is that Odeo Player requires you to type the exact duration of the song in the embed code. You can skip this step but then the progress bar won’t reflect the true status when you play the song. And there are no volume controls.

To use Odeo MP3 player in your website, add the following code replacing MP3_FILE_URL and DURATION with relevant values.

<embed type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” src=”http://www.odeo.com/flash/audio_player_standard_gray.swf&#8221; width=”400″ height=”52″ allowScriptAccess=”always” wmode=”transparent” flashvars=”audio_duration=DURATION&amp;external_url=MP3_FILE_URL” />
 

Summary: With so many choices, how do you pick the right MP3 player for your website ?
As a minimalist, I prefer the Google Reader MP3 player since it offers volume control and minimal branding. But if you are regularly linking to MP3 files, this will prove cumbersome and I suggest integrated the Yahoo! Media Player on your website.