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blank page opens momentarily when I click a link to an audio file

Posted on 2010-11-25
Last Modified: 2016-03-18
I have an email newsletter created using Constant Contact. In the body of the letter I have
a link to an audio file (either mp3 or wma.) When I preview the letter and click the link to the audio file, a blank browser page momentarily appears and then the audio file starts to play (either in windows media player or in iTunes.)
1. Is there something I can do to prevent this blank window form opening - and just play the audio?
2. Is there a way to embed or include a player in the body of the message to that when a user reads it,
it doesn't depend on the user having a particular audio player installed on their machine?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Question by:freedom22
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LVL 83

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 200 total points
ID: 34213423
Not in an email.  Emails have active content blocked because it has been used to deliver viruses.  And the blank page is the browser opening and waiting for the audio and opening the player.  The browser opens because your audio link is to a website.  What you're seeing is standard operation for email and web.

Author Comment

ID: 34220435
Thanks for your message Dave.

Is there a way to link to the audio file directly, instead of linking to a website?

LVL 83

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 34220520
Since the audio file is on a website, a link to the file IS a link to a website whether it brings up anything else or not.
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Author Comment

ID: 34221946

Thanks again for your latest comment. If I instead make my link to a youtube video, the video comes up directly without a blank page first. Why does that work (correctly) when I can't seem to link to an audio file I have hosted on my website without having the blank page open first?

LVL 83

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 34222663
They both are working correctly though it may not be what you want.  The YouTube page loads it own video player while your audio link loads a local player After it accesses the file on the web site.  The blank page is shown while the player program starts up.

Author Comment

ID: 34223582
so if I upload the audio file to YouTube (or some equivalent of YouTube for audio) then can I access it without the blank page showing?
LVL 38

Accepted Solution

BillDL earned 300 total points
ID: 34223848
Hi Mark

It's not altogether clear from your question whether YOU composed the email newsletter and are trying to smooth out the "glitch" you are witnessing, or whether you RECEIVED the email and are wondering why the behaviour you are seeing occurs.  It sounds like you are the sender of the message, so I will address the question from that angle.

One aspect that you cannot possibly foresee is what email client the recipient will view your newsletter email in.  It could be webmail (eg. Yahoo, GMail, Live Mail) or an installed email client such as Outlook Epress, Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Windows Live Mail, etc.

Another aspect is what browser the recipient has configured as the default for browsing, and therefore would normally open when an HTTP hyperlink is clicked.  Some users may have their browsers set to allow audio content to load and play WITHIN the browser using an installed Plugin.

Yet another aspect that you cannot possibly know in advance is what plugin may be called by the browser, or what Media Player is configured to play back audio files of a particular kind when retrieved from an Internet source from another server.

Bear in mind also that the recipient may be running Linux, a Mac, or even using a fancy mobile phone to read emails, and that a *.WMA audio file may not play in the user's standard media player as it is a Microsoft file type.  MP3 is more universal and just about all computers will be able to play that form of audio file.

With all these unknowns it is very hit-and-miss, and is one of the reasons that enterprising developers came up with the myriad of "embedded" Flash-enabled players that load a *.SWF file into a browser window from the hosting server and retrieve a "playlist" from the same server.  The code is written into the web page to "embed" the "Flash object" and it's then a simple case of just creating a link to that web page.  If the installed version of Adobe Flash Player is too old, the code normally prompts the viewer to update it. If Flash or JavaScript are disabled in the user's browser, then in some cases a thoughtful web page author will show a standard link to the audio file and then the result would probably be that the viewer's browser would probably just open the downloaded audio file in a standard Media Player from the viewer's computer.

"Is there a way to embed or include a player in the body of the message to that when a user reads it, it doesn't depend on the user having a particular audio player installed on their machine?

Not really.  Traditionally the only audio content that could be "embedded" into an emailed message using installed email clients like Outlook Express were *.MID (midi), *.WAV, and a couple of others that may or may not work.  Doing so, however, doesn't guarantee that the recipient will read the message in an email client that is able to play the audio embedded into the email.

If you are not happy to have a standard link in your email and just leave it to the recipients' settings to render it in the various quirky ways, then I believe that your best option is to create a web page with your embedded audio and have that play back the audio file using a Flash-enabled "player".  There are a lot of options, and they are very well explored in the following linked pages.

David Battino has created some excellent tutorials in which he discusses common problems between different platforms, browsers, etc.  He discusses the methods plus the benefits and known problems in each:

Build a Simple MP3 Player for Your Site (2005):

Build an Enhanced MP3 Player for Your Site (2005):

Build a Better Web Audio Player (2006):

Three Free and Easy Web Audio Players (2008):
1. Delicious.com Play Tagger
2. Yahoo Media Player - Looks for Flash first and defaults to QuickTime or WMP
3. Author's own "Batmosphere Multiplayer"

There are tons of resources and readers' comments are quite helpful.

Hope this helps.
LVL 83

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 34223883
@BillDL's advice is good.  But no one can 'guarantee' that you won't see a blank page, there are just too many variables.  Including the fact that everyone sets up their computers differently.  An embedded Flash audio player may minimize the amount of blank screen.  As long as the listener has Flash installed.  Not everyone does.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 34257987
Thank you Mark

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