MP3 - using music files

Many of our products allow for the upload of music files. Depending on the product, there may be many different ways to add music to your slideshow/website, but here are the key facts you need to know about uploading music.

 

Filetype, Download speeds, and Bitrates

Filetype

Since all of our music-capable software is created with Adobe's Flash plugin, the only music format you can use is MP3. Note that any music you purchase from iTunes will not be in this format, it will be in the AAC format, which is not natively compatible with the Flash plugin.


Download speeds, and Bitrates

Most, if not all of the music on your computer that you use to listen to (using iTunes, WinAmp, etc) is almost always encoded in a high-quality bitrate. The bitrate of the audio file essentially makes the file bigger or smaller by leaving in more detail about the audio. It's very likely your music is encoded at a constant or variable bitrate (CBR/VBR) that is set as "archival" (meaning virtually no discernible quality loss from the original) of 256, or even 320 kbps. These can be very large files. A 4 minute song can easily be over 8 mb.

Because your products are on the internet, and you want your users to have a positive, snappy experience, bitrates of anything over 128 kbps is not only overkill, it will choke download speeds, consume more memory, and is just a bad idea in general.

Our recommendation is 64 kbps. The quality will be on par with internet radio stations, and music streaming services. If quality of the music is of the utmost importance, we still recommend going no higher than 128 kbps. We consider this to be the bitrate ceiling for the web.

 

Conversion

Ok, so now you know you need to create smaller files by reducing the bitrate -- and you want to know how to do that, right? Here are 3 options on how to re-encode your MP3's to a smaller bitrate:


Cross-platform, Free Online Service

Media Converter is a completely free media conversion tool that allows you to convert (almost) any media type to another. It's certainly not the fastest solution, but it's online, it's free, and it works. Here are the steps:

  • go to http://www.mediaconverter.org/
  • in the "Conversion Wizard", click "Upload File"
  • click "Browse" and choose the audio file on your computer
  • click "ok"
  • click "go to the Next Step"
  • select "mp3" from the output file type dropdown
  • check "I want to set advanced options" to TRUE
  • click "ok"
  • set the Audio Codec to "MP3"
  • set the Audio Bitrate to 64 (or 128 if quality is SUPER important)
  • leave Offset and Duration blank
  • click "ok"
  • click "start"

And that is about it. It's a free service, so it can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes to do the encoding depending on the audio source, and server load. But once it's done, there will be a download link. Download that file, and that will be the file you will want to upload for your slideshow/website.


Use iTunes on the Mac/PC

You can also convert your files on your computer using iTunes. Here is the how-to from the apple site:


Use all2lame on the PC

  • download this file
  • unzip the folder, preserving it's file contents
  • Open "all2lame.exe"
  • Drag as many MP3's to the "Files" window as you want.
    • OR
  • Click on "Add Files" to manually add MP3's.
  • [OPTIONAL] Change the output directory by clicking the "..." button at the bottom of the screen.
  • Click the "Encode" button in bold on the right.

 

Server Restrictions

So, now that you have re-encoded your audio file to a manageable mp3 that's fit for the web, You need to upload it. If you are using any of our "classic" products that don't have admin panels, then you just want to continue using FTP and upload your new file to the right folder.

If you are using any of our Flash-based admin panels, however, you may run into further issues. Not all servers are created equally. Many servers put a cap on upload filesizes, and many put this number, sadly, at 2mb. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about this limitation. If you are finding that you can't upload files that are bigger than 2mb, you should contact your hosting provider, and see if they can't increase that for you. For any product purchased after March 2010, you can find out your upload limit by going here:

Login > Dashboard > System Info > Maximum Upload Size

If this number is 2mb -- or any number not up to your standards -- your first best option is to contact your host provider, as they hold the keys to the kingdom. Below is a sample email that should tell them what you are are after. This email is worded for a request for 64 mb, but feel free to change that. Also, be sure to include your domain name, or id or whatever so they know who you are!

Hosting Technical Support:

I've recently installed software on my web server that allows me
to upload images and audio to create slideshow presentations. As
it stands, the server's maximum upload size is limiting my
ability to upload larger media files. The software is already
trying to override php's settings via an .htaccess file, but that
approach is not working.

Is it possible for you to increase my upload limit? I know some
servers allow custom php.ini files, and some allow you to change
this setting in my control panel, but I have yet to find the
option. If it's something I can do on my end, can you please
direct me to the instructions on how to do so?

I'd like the maximum upload size to be set to 64mb.

Sincerely,
<YOUR NAME HERE>
<YOUR DOMAIN HERE>

Of course, we recommend Hostgator -- they keep their upload maximum to 64mb by default.

Have more questions? Submit a request

6 Comments

  • 0
    Avatar
    michael sablone

    FYI -- it looks like mediaconverter.org is currently non-functional.  in the meantime, here is another good tutorial/application:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_5107843_resample-mp.html

  • 0
    Avatar
    John Wiley

    Is there a way to have "no music" (on any page, not just the splash) be the default, with user ability to turn on music (rather than just turn off music that starts by default)?

  • 0
    Avatar
    michael sablone

    @John:  there is.  it's kind of a work-around, as our sites were built with a global soundtrack first, and then we added soundtracks to albums as "over-rides".

    the trick is to upload a silent mp3 to your global soundtrack.  it will turn on all the soundtrack features, and allow the albums to still over-ride it.  you can download silent mp3's here:

    http://www.xamuel.com/blank-mp3s/

  • 0
    Avatar
    John Wiley

    Perfect!  Thanks for your help, once again, Michael!

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