<audio>: The Embed Audio element

The HTML <audio> element is used to embed sound content in documents. It may contain one or more audio sources, represented using the src attribute or the <source> element: the browser will choose the most suitable one. It can also be the destination for streamed media, using a MediaStream.


Content categories Flow content, phrasing content, embedded content. If it has a controls attribute: interactive content and palpable content.
Permitted content If the element has a src attribute: zero or more <track> elements followed by transparent content that contains no <audio> or <video> media elements.
Else: zero or more <source> elements followed by zero or more <track> elements followed by transparent content that contains no <audio> or <video> media elements.
Tag omission None, both the starting and ending tag are mandatory.
Permitted parents Any element that accepts embedded content.
Permitted ARIA roles application
DOM interface HTMLAudioElement


This element's attributes include the global attributes.

A Boolean attribute: if specified (even if the value is "false"!), the audio will automatically begin playback as soon as it can do so, without waiting for the entire audio file to finish downloading.
Sites which automatically play audio (or videos with an audio track) can be an unpleasant experience for users, so it should be avoided when possible. If you must offer autoplay functionality, you should make it opt-in (requiring a user to specifically enable it). However, this can be useful when creating media elements whose source will be set at a later time, under user control.
An attribute you can read to determine which time ranges of the media have been buffered. This attribute contains a TimeRanges object.
If this attribute is present, the browser will offer controls to allow the user to control audio playback, including volume, seeking, and pause/resume playback.
A Boolean attribute: if specified, will automatically seek back to the start upon reaching the end of the audio.
The offset, specified as the number of samples since the beginning of the audio stream, at which the audio is currently playing.
A Boolean attribute which indicates whether the audio will be initially silenced. Its default value is false.
A TimeRanges object indicating all the ranges of the audio that have been played.
This enumerated attribute is intended to provide a hint to the browser about what the author thinks will lead to the best user experience. It may have one of the following values:
  • none: indicates that the audio should not be preloaded;
  • metadata: indicates that only audio metadata (e.g. length) is fetched;
  • auto: indicates that the whole audio file could be downloaded, even if the user is not expected to use it;
  • the empty string: synonym of the auto value.

If not set, its default value is browser-defined (i.e. each browser may have its own default value). The spec advises it to be set to metadata.

Usage notes:
  • The autoplay attribute has precedence over preload. If autoplay is specified, the browser would obviously need to start downloading the audio for playback.
  • The browser is not forced by the specification to follow the value of this attribute; it is a mere hint.
The URL of the audio to embed. This is subject to HTTP access controls. This is optional; you may instead use the <source> element within the audio block to specify the audio to embed.
The playback volume, in the range 0.0 (silent) to 1.0 (loudest).

Time offsets are specified as float values indicating the number of seconds to offset.

Note: The time offset value definition has not yet been completed in the HTML5 specification and is subject to change.


An audio element can fire various events.

Usage notes


Fallback content for browsers not supporting the <audio> element can be added inside the opening and closing <audio></audio> tags.

The most basic playback functionality can be made available using the controls attribute (see Examples below); for more advanced usage, audio playback and controls can be manipulated using the HTML Media API, and more specifically the features defined in the HTMLAudioElement interface.

Audio streams/Web Audio API

You can also use the Web Audio API to directly generate and manipulate audio streams from JavaScript code. See Web Audio API for details.

<audio> and subtitles

While HTML5 <video> can have subtitles included via the <track> element (see Adding captions and subtitles to HTML5 video), <audio> elements can't — any <track> elements included within <audio></audio> tags are just ignored. See WebVTT and Audio by Ian Devlin for some more useful information and workarounds.


Basic usage

<!-- Simple audio playback -->
  Your browser does not support the <code>audio</code> element.

<audio> element with <source> element

<audio controls="controls">
  Your browser does not support the <code>audio</code> element.
  <source src="foo.wav" type="audio/wav">

<audio> with multiple <source> elements

The browser tries to load the first source element (Opus) if it is able to play it, if not falls back to the second (vorbis) and finally back to mp3:

<audio controls="">
 <source src="foo.opus" type="audio/ogg; codecs=opus"/>
 <source src="foo.ogg" type="audio/ogg; codecs=vorbis"/>
 <source src="foo.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"/>


Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<audio>' in that specification.
Living Standard  
The definition of '<audio>' in that specification.

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support3 Yes3.51910.53.1
autoplay3 Yes3.5910.53.1
buffered ? Yes4 ? ? ?
controls3 Yes3.5910.53.1
loop3 Yes11910.53.1
mozcurrentsampleoffset No No3.5 No No No
muted ? Yes11 ? ? ?
preload3 Yes


3.5 — 42



10.5 — 152

src3 Yes3.5910.53.1
volume ? Yes ? ? ? ?
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support318 Yes41 Yes Yes Yes
autoplay318 Yes4 Yes Yes Yes
buffered ? ? Yes4 ? ? ?
controls318 Yes4 Yes Yes Yes
loop318 Yes14 Yes Yes Yes
mozcurrentsampleoffset No No No4 No No No
muted ? ? Yes14 ? ? ?
played49491415 Yes Yes5.0
preload318 Yes4


Yes — 142

Yes Yes
src318 Yes4 Yes Yes Yes
volume ? ? Yes ? Yes Yes ?

1. For Firefox to play audio, the server must serve the file using the correct MIME type.

2. Supported as autobuffer.

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Contributors to this page: wbamberg
Last updated by: wbamberg,