Using the Bandzoogle music features, you can sell or stream your tracks. If you aren’t sure whether you should add tracks in MP3, WAV, or FLAC format, this article will help explain some of the differences. You can use any of these audio file types in your ‘Music’ features.
This help article includes:
- Information about different music files you can use on your website
- When to use MP3 files
- When to use WAV files
- When to use FLAC files
- How your music files will be downloaded
- How to adjust the playback quality of your files
Music files you can use on your website
You can sell your music digitally in a variety of formats. To learn more about how to add music to your website in music player, please see Selling Music.
In order to determine which type of music files you should add to your music players, you’ll need to decide on the purpose for each music file or album. The compression rate and whether or not you’d like ID3 tags to appear in an offline music player will determine the type of music file you opt to upload to your website.
You can add MP3, WAV, or FLAC files to any of your music players. You can add a mix of these files, offering versions of a track with each format if you choose.
When to use MP3 files
The MP3 audio file format is one of the most popular formats for audio files. MP3 offers small file sizes, portability across just about every device, great audio quality, and supports ID3 data.
The average MP3 audio file is compressed to 192kbps. To improve on sound quality, compress your MP3 up to 320kbps. This still accounts for significant reduction in overall file size, making it easier to download, but the file is close to an uncompressed version.
Pros to using MP3 files: Almost every media player and device supports MP3 files. It includes ID3 data, which means your track and artist information will appear in your customer’s music player. MP3 also lets you adjust the compression bitrate for better quality or faster downloading and/or streaming.
Cons to using MP3 files: Audio quality of the file is affected when compressing the file to make it smaller.
Ideal for: Any music website feature where you are selling or streaming tracks. MP3 is a great choice if you’re selling your music online to your fans directly.
Where and when to use WAV files
WAV audio format offers a ‘lossless codec’ for your music. No compression is applied to the audio, so you can provide ‘as recorded’ quality to your customers with this file. This means superior audio fidelity and detail.
However, because they’re not compressed, WAV files are a much larger size than the other formats. WAV format does not support ID3 tags - this means finding your files in their media players can be a lot more difficult for your customers.
Pros to using WAV files: The best sound and fidelity you can offer for your downloads. Cons to using WAV files: Larger file size means longer download times; no ‘meta’ tagging. Ideal for: Selling beats, selling samples, licensing music to film and TV, or sending stems for mixing.
When to use FLAC files
FLAC stands for ‘Free Lossless Audio Codec.’ To make the file smaller, FLAC uses ‘lossless’ compression algorithms, designed specifically for audio, that don’t permanently alter the file to reduce its size. However, FLAC is an open source algorithm, so not all audio players support it.
Pros to using FLAC files: Great quality audio in a medium file size without losing quality to compression. Includes meta tagging for audio files. Cons to using FLAC files: Lossless audio compression isn’t supported across all media players, devices, and platforms. Ideal for: Artists and bands who want to provide an alternate format to make sure their fans get the best listening experience, without waiting long to download an audio file.
How your music files will be downloaded
Streaming from a website is different than listening to a downloaded file. Playback can potentially be delayed on slower internet connections.
To help ensure that your listeners hear music right away when they click play on your site, files in your online players are rendered in the MP3 format. The music should play almost immediately from your website.
When someone buys a track or an album, your music files will be delivered in the exact format they are uploaded. For example, if you add a 44.1 kHz WAV file, your customers will get a 44.1 kHz file on purchase.
How to adjust the playback quality of your files
If your tracks are already in the MP3 format, you can adjust the ‘playback’ quality in your music feature settings to either ‘high quality’, which streams your music at 128kbps, or ‘uncompressed,’ which will use the MP3 bitrate you set in your source audio file.
If you’re using either WAV or FLAC, when setting ‘uncompressed’ in your music feature playback settings, your audio will play as an MP3 at 192kbps.
To adjust the playback settings:
- Choose any music feature
- Click ‘Playback settings’ from the list on the left
- Choose one of the options from the drop-down menu:
- Full tracks: high quality (128kbps)
- Full tracks: uncompressed
- Preview clips only
- No playback
If you are still wondering about what audio format you should use for your website’s music files, decide what you’ll be using the files for primarily.
If you’re selling samples, licensing, or sending your stems to be mixed/remixed, add WAV files.
If your main focus is selling music to your fans, sharing your demo, or sending tracks to radio stations, MP3 or FLAC is a better bet.
If you’d like to read more on this subject, please see this article on audio formats.
For more information on how to add music to your website, please see: Adding Music. For more details on how to sell music, including MP3, WAV and FLAC files from your website, please see: Selling Music.