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> element, followed by transparent content that contains no media elements, that is no <audio> or <video>
Else: zero or more <source> element, followed by zero or more <track> element, followed by transparent content that contains no media elements, that is no <audio> or <video>.
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.
autobuffer Obsolete since Gecko 2.0
A Boolean attribute: if specified, the audio will automatically begin being downloaded, even if not set to autoplay. This continues until the media cache is full, or the entire audio file has been downloaded, whichever comes first. This should only be used when it is expected that the user will choose to play the audio; for example, if the user has navigated to a page using a "Play this audio" link. This attribute was removed in Gecko 2.0 (Firefox 4 / Thunderbird 3.3 / SeaMonkey 2.1) in favor of the preload attribute.
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">


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

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Edge Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 3.0 (Yes) 3.5 (1.9.1) [1] 9.0 10.5 3.1
autoplay attribute 3.0 (Yes) 3.5 (1.9.1) 9.0 10.5 3.1
buffered attribute ? (Yes) 4.0 (2.0) ? ? ?
controls attribute 3.0 (Yes) 3.5 (1.9.1) 9.0 10.5 3.1
loop attribute 3.0 (Yes) 11.0 (11.0) 9.0 10.5 3.1
muted attribute ? (Yes) 11.0 (11.0) ? ? ?
played property 49 14 15.0 (15.0) 11 46 9.1
preload attribute 3.0 (Yes) 4.0 (2.0) 9.0 (Yes) [2] 3.1
src attribute 3.0 (Yes) 3.5 (1.9.1) 9.0 10.5 3.1
volume attribute   (Yes)        
Feature Android Edge Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? (Yes) 1.0 (1.0) [1] ? ? ?
autoplay attribute ? (Yes) 1.0 (1.0) ? ? ?
buffered attribute ? (Yes) 4.0 (2.0) ? ? ?
controls attribute ? (Yes) 1.0 (1.0) ? ? ?
loop attribute ? (Yes) 11.0 (11.0) ? ? ?
muted attribute ? (Yes) 11.0 (11.0) ? ? ?
played property ? (Yes) 15.0 (15.0) ? ? ?
preload attribute ? (Yes) 4.0 (2.0) ? ? ?
src attribute ? (Yes) 1.0 (1.0) ? ? ?
volume attribute   (Yes)        

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

[2] Supported under the older name autobuffer

See also