Audio Projects on the Commons

Users  can develop audio and oral history projects on the Commons. As part of creating an audio-based projects, users will need to figure out where to host project audio files, and how the audio will be embedded and displayed on the Commons. There are two options for storing audio files:

  1. If the project and audio files are relatively small, the user can host the audio on the Commons.
  2. If the project will grow over time and/or the audio files are large, the user should host (store) the audio on an external website and embed the audio on the project website on the Commons.

The Commons platform has a 128mb limit per file upload. This means users cannot upload files  that are larger than 128 mb. There are no exceptions to this rule. This restriction is set by the technical database limits and is not an administrative restriction. You may need to compress audio in order to be within these upload limits if you plan to upload your files to the Commons. Typically, in an MP3 file 1 minute of audio should equal ~1MB.

No matter where a user decides to host the audio online, the Commons team strongly recommends keeping a local backup.

Hosting Audio on the Commons

Users can upload audio to their sites’ media library. Audio can be embedded in a page or post using the “Add Media” button in the classic editor, or the “Audio” block in the block editor.

The Commons audio player is simple, with a playback bar and play/pause button. Sample below.

In the Linguistic Landscape project below, the project admin uploaded audio files to the Commons and used the built-in audio player.

Hosting Audio outside the Commons

When audio is hosted externally outside of the Commons, it means the audio file is stored on another platform and embedded into your Commons site.  Hosting audio externally often has less space limits, and also means that the audio is backed up on an external platform. Be aware that free services can always begin charging for storage at any time.

Spotify for Podcasters offers free hosting (for now) and audio can be embedded on the commons in a similar manner to how commons hosts and displays audio. You can also embed audio from Spotify and SoundCloud but both require some form of payment based on your account.

You can also upload audio files to YouTube  and embed the audio into the Commons as a Youtube video. If  you upload audio to Youtube, you can also upload  “cover art” for the video and this is what will appear as the “video” portion of the player as the audio plays. The file upload size limit on YouTube is 256GB per file.

See below for how various audio embeds display on the Commons:

The Internet Archive also offers audio hosting, and it appears to have no storage or file limits, though the IA recommends files no larger than 50MB. All content that is uploaded to the Internet Archive is public. The Internet Archive seeks to host digital content such as “cultural artifacts in digital form” so the audio add to the IA would be public in the archive in addition to how ever you decide to use it on your Commons site. It appears that audio from the Internet Archive can be embedded into wordpress but the Commons team is currently in the process of making sure these embeds will be compatible with our instance of WordPress.

If your project will be growing and expanding over time,  you might also consider investing in your own server space from a web host so you are guaranteed to have stable, consistent storage for your project materials. If you are looking for an external hosting company, we recommend Reclaim Hosting (shared hosting starts at $30/year).