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my mp3 link on website will not play in google chrome - but others play fine

Posted on 2011-03-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I put up a link on my agency's non-profit website for visitors to hear a public service announcement.  It is in a server side include on the footer of every page, but you can get to the direct link from here: http://www.helpingservices.org/Substance_Abuse/Resources/AUDIO/talking_matters_feb11.mp3

This link plays fine in IE, but does nothing in google chrome - another co-worker verified this.  I copied and pasted another mp3 link from someone else's website and that plays fine in google chrome - so something must be wrong with how I set this up?

-Sweet Iowa
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Question by:SweetIowa
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 35193943
The only thing I can think of is that there is something wrong with the header of the mp3 file and Chrome isn't fully recognizing it as a valid file.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 35196534
Hi SweetIowa

http://www.helpingservices.org is not currently available, so I assume you must have it down for maintenance.

If the site isn't going to be back up soon, could you perhaps provide the relevant section of code from the page that loads the MP3.

Thanks
Bill

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Author Comment

by:SweetIowa
ID: 35198609
That's strange - I've never had a problem not accessing it, and have never heard complaints.  I provided a direct link that you can play from google chrome http://www.helpingservices.org/Substance_Abuse/Resources/AUDIO/talking_matters_feb11.mp3 if you want to try it yourself from there.The only other thing is if I and my co-worker both have a setting wrong in our browsers.  Below is the link to the coding for the included subfooter file.

 subfooter.txt

-Sweet Iowa
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 35202204
Thanks.  I'm in the UK and it is possible that one or more of the IP Addresses assigned to me dynamically each time I connect to the Internet was blocked by the hosting server.  I've had this before with some peoples' and organisations' websites.  I can access it now.

The link is very standard, although I do wonder about having the number/hash symbol # in the hyperlink text rather than its hex equivalent.  It's usually better to use the code to create the symbols (ie. symbol # = code # ) rather than the actual symbol right in the page.  In the code, replace:

<a href="http://www.helpingservices.org/Substance_Abuse/Resources/AUDIO/talking_matters_feb11.mp3">Talking Matters #1</a>

with:

<a href="http://www.helpingservices.org/Substance_Abuse/Resources/AUDIO/talking_matters_feb11.mp3">Talking Matters &#35;1</a>

http://www.ascii.cl/htmlcodes.htm

I don't think that is the problem though.  I believe it is to do with what audio playback plugin is being used by Google Chrome to try and play the MP3 in the page.  On my Windows XP IE7 system I also have Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.  For some content Chrome tries to use the Apple Quicktime Plugin that is installed for Firefox, and for other content it tries to use the Windows Media Player "Netscape" plugin.  By the look of things in this case though, I think it is trying to use a built-in Google Web Player.

Could you confirm whether the user is seeing something like this:
 As it shows for me when it fails to play MP3or whether it is something else.

In Chrome, when I load your page (http://www.helpingservices.org/index.shtml) and click on the MP3 link at the bottom, I get the embedded player shown in the screenshot above and it fails to load.

Ctrl + S brings up the Save As dialog and allows you to download the MP3 file.  The same can be achieved by Right-Clicking on the object and choosing "Save Video As".  Yes, that's what it says.  If you Right-Click the object and choose "Inspect Element" you will see that the Google Chrome page creates the following code for its player:
 
<video controls="" autoplay="" style="margin: auto; position: absolute; top: 0; right: 0; bottom: 0; left: 0;" name="media" src="http://www.helpingservices.org/Substance_Abuse/Resources/AUDIO/talking_matters_feb11.mp3"></video>

Open in new window


This is something of a nuisance to me, and is one of the reasons I don't use Google Chrome.  In Firefox it is easy enough to disable Plug-Ins and it forces the target file to open in an external instance of the program associated with that File Type or MIME Content Type.  In Chrome, if you disable multimedia plug-ins, it will just default to the built-in "video player".

You can see what Plugins are enabled or disabled in Chrome by either method below:

1. Type    about:plugins      in the Address bar (preferably in a new tab)

OR

2. Click the Spanner icon (Tools) and choose Options, then click the "Under the Hood" link in the left of the page that loads (in my case it is entitled "Under the Bonnet").  Click the "Content Settings" button and scroll down to "Plug-Ins".
Normally Plug-Ins are set to run automatically, although you should check that any "Exceptions" that have been set are not interfering. Click the "Manage Individual Plug-Ins" link.  In the new full-page that opens, click the "Details" button to expand all the sections.

I do know that Google incorporated their own Flash plugin right into the browser, and that the external Flash plugin can interfere.  You will see both of them in the Plugins page (both enabled so you can see the text):
 External and Internal Flash support enabled as shownPerhaps if you disable either one or the other it may allow the MP3 to be played back in the embedded player.

I think I will have to dig a little deeper into this and see if there is a command line switch that I can add to the shortcut, or something in the guts of the configuration files to disable the internal media player in Chrome.

Let us know if the first screenshot IS what the user is seeing.

Bill
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 35202222
Bill,

I'm seeing what you are seeing for the plugin in Chrome.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 35202281
Hmmm.  It looks like the default "player" plugin is licensed from Apple, so I can only assume that it is a QuickTime plugin.  I previously had "QuickTime Alternative" installed, simply because I find Apple QuickTime annoying, and it's currently broken for some reason.  That probably accounts for the fact that it isn't playing in Chrome for me.  I will look at this later.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 35202350
Hi Jason.  Does your plugin actually play the MP3?
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 35202787
Nope.  I can click the play button but nothing happens
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 35205165
Thanks Jason.  Something screwy with the inbuilt google media player then.

I am afraid that I will have to throw in the towel on this one.  I have tried launching Chrome with just about every combination of switches that I can see which have any apparent relevance, and it still will not play.  I see no way of overriding Chrome's insistance on "injecting" the page with a "player", which is pretty annoying.

It seems to me that Google are trying to reduce the browser's dependence on external plugins by supplying all the support internally, namely their own Flash support and a built-in multimedia player, but have ended up creating a browser that requires constant tweaking by geeks with leather elbow patches and hair combed from the back of their heads to cover the bald patches at the front.  The browser should work for the most basic hyperlink to an MP3 file without loading all kinds of code on demand.

Discussions here refer to an older build, but seem to highlight an ongoing problem with the "Apple Web Kit" being used:

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Chrome/thread?tid=670c8dd6594b8057&hl=en

I can't really mess around with this too much longer because it is getting beyond my scope of knowledge.  I guess I'm not geeky enough, and my expectation of a simple link to an MP3 working in a standard fashion are just too outrageous for the google developers to conceive.  Personally I would use a JavaScript code in my pages to detect Chrome and issue a message saying "Sorry, this site is not geeky enough for your browser" ;-)

SweetIowa, I hope you can get an answer or some kind of workaround code that makes your pages work as expected in Google Chrome.

Bill
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 35205221
Yeah, I just went back and rechecked the MP3 links for a site that I created a while ago, and I have the same issue.

Standard Links previously opened in the default player for the MIME Content Type / File extension:
http://www.c2cr2c.com/audio/voiceClipsStd.html

I had used a Flash Player and XML playlist as the main page for audio files, and the standard one above if it didn't work or the user preferred standard links:
http://www.c2cr2c.com/audio/voiceClipsFlash.html

(It's not the most polished website, but it worked for what was needed at the time).

I think the best workaround would be to force a slimline Flash enabled player when the user clicks a link.  There are a number that I have used which take up no more than a couple of lines of text and are only as wide as is necessary for the stop, pause, play, and volume controls.  I will look back and see if I can get some links and suggest some code.
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Author Comment

by:SweetIowa
ID: 35208550
I appreciate your hard detective work. Yes, it is defaulting to the first screen shot, BillDL.  What I don't understand, is that I copied and pasted in someone else's mp3 link into the google chrome browser and that worked.  Another staff told me that they couldn't get to work with Firefox either.  I will spend a little time and look into the options you have suggested.

-SweetIowa
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Accepted Solution

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Jason C. Levine earned 250 total points
ID: 35208567
If it works with another MP3 but not yours then the problem is most likely with the MP3 file.  It may have some kind of DRM attached that the Chrome player dislikes or the header info on the file has gone corrupt and it no longer identifies itself to the player properly.  Try making a new MP3 using a different ripping/encoding method.
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Author Comment

by:SweetIowa
ID: 35210713
I'll try that and get back to you - Sweet Iowa
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Assisted Solution

by:BillDL
BillDL earned 250 total points
ID: 35213227
Hi SweetIowa and Jason.

Now, why didn't I think of pasting the url to another MP3 into the address bar?  I was too busy tearing strips off Google, that's why ;-)  Looks like Jason was right.  Something funny about the MP3s that the google in-page player doesn't like.

When I checked out both the MP3 files currently linked to from the footer of the www.helpingservices.org pages in a plain text editor the gobbledegook does look quite different from the gobbledegook in other MP3s I have to hand.  Firstly they are devoid of ID3 Tags (MP3 Tags), and secondly they are encoded at a bit rate of 320kbps (kilobits per second).

You rarely need anything above 192kbps for audio files over the computer, because that is "CD Quality" and anything more than that is wasted and makes files unnecessarily larger.   I can see that they have been encoded using Lame version 3.93, which is quite standard, but there's a whole load of extraneous data at the end.  It isn't clear what was used to record, capture, or encode the MP3s.  The Headers seem to be OK.  Something in them is obviously not liked by Google.

I opened them in the free audio editing software named Audacity and exported them with a bitrate of 128kbps (1st MP3) and 192kbps (2nd MP3) using Lame 3.98.  I didn't add any ID3 tags.  I can't notice any drop in audio quality.

Why don't you try substituting the ones currently in place with the ones I re-encoded.  Just rename the attached files changing the .txt extension to .mp3

Bill
talking-matters-feb11-Re-Encoded.txt
talking-matters-feb11b-Re-Encode.txt
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Author Closing Comment

by:SweetIowa
ID: 35282482
Thanks for the time you spent on this.  I am going to go ahead and close this and continue to troubleshoot on the side, as I am juggling multiple projects.

-Sweet Iowa
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 35292203
Thank you Sweet Iowa.  May I suggest that the first step of your troubleshooting should be to ascertain how the MP3s were recorded/created/edited.  Something about the way they have been encoded to produce the final ones you used is not being accepted by the in-page Google media player.
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