The Best 7 Free WordPress Audio Player Plugins
Maybe you’re a musician looking to sell your music. Or maybe you’re a podcaster looking to engage your audience in interesting topics. Or maybe you’re a modern day storyteller turning to cutting edge audio techniques to tell your stories.
Whatever your relationship with audio, you’re going to need an audio player to broadcast your work to the world.
Below we look at 7 free WordPress audio players and see what they have to offer.
Don’t forget to check out the ratings at the end.
First, of course, we should mention that there is now a built in audio player in WordPress. You can either just put the URL of an audio file on a line by itself, or you can insert audio as you would an image from your media library, and the WordPress system will place the appropriate shortcodes into your site.
By default, the player stretches all the way across your content area, and it has a volume control on it.
But you can do a few other things as well, such as set it to autoplay or set it to loop.
You can see more on the WordPress page dedicated to the audio shortcodes – linked above in the Info & Download button.
The Compact WP Audio Player is called “compact” for a reason, and it sure it that.
When you place the shortcodes into your post, all that appears is a little play button (which turns to a pause button once playing).
There are a few parameters you can apply, such as looping and autoplaying. And while you can set the volume in the shortcode, there’s no volume control on the player.
This type of player does have its advantages. You can easily do what I’ve done in the image above and write a title out beside the button. You could also easily make a list of different audios one after another with a title (or whatever other text, of course).
This player has a number of nice options, including letting you make a list of tracks and also offering them for sale. So it seems this would be something especially good for musicians.
You can also display an image in the player (such as cover art), and you can also add ratings (and by that I mean you the author of the post adds ratings, not the public).
However, it seems that you must add both an mp3 version of your audio and an ogg version. If you are a serious musician trying to sell you music, for example, then this extra step may be worth it. If you are someone who just wants to easily pop an mp3 into a player, then it’s probably not going to be for you.
There is no volume control on the player. It’s also not responsive.
The Audio Player plugin has a number of available options that make this a very nice player.
In the settings, you can customize the player in a number of different ways, changing the color of every aspect of the player. You wouldn’t think that such a small player had so many different parts to it till you start customizing. One of the most convenient settings is the size. While it’s always going to be narrow (i.e. short in height), you can control the width of it.
This plugin seems especially good for podcasters, and in fact, it has a special area on the settings for podcasting. In this section you can apply audio files to go both before and after all the audios on your site. This is perfect for promotions – either your own or others. If you had to go in and edit each podcast in order to put in a new promotion, quite simply you wouldn’t do it. With the pre-append and post-append options, however, it’s as easy as pasting in a new URL.
This player has a lot going for it; however, because it runs on flash, it won’t play in some devices.
This plugin lets you create a list, change the appearance, add images, and even allow downloading.
In addition, you can also add links to your social media profiles. It allows autoplaying and title scrolling.
It is not responsive.
The Audio Tube player lets you play the audio from a YouTube video but hide the video part.
There may be a number of reasons why you’d choose to do that; however, it seems that the player doesn’t hide the video all that well. There appears to be a very very thin sliver of the video visible.
As the video plays, you can see the flickers of the video in that space. This, of course, seems to defeat the purpose of the player – which is to hide the video.
I suppose if you were only embedding your own videos, then you could make them to have a solid color at the bottom of the video that didn’t move. This would eliminate the flickering sense that something else is going on that you can’t see.
It comes with a few different sizes and two basic color settings. It’s also responsive.
The CP Media Player lets you play both audios and videos. It lets you create lists, and it also lets you hook into PayPal so that you can sell audios through the player.
While you can change the size of the player to some degree, in the free version you are limited to one style and only one player.
The player is not responsive.
Comparison of Features
Below we compare some of the more basic features. It was little surprising that a number were not responsive. Some of the others were so small that it didn’t matter if they were responsive or not.
|Player||Volume||Audio List||Responsive||Customize Look||Comments|
|Built In||yes||no||yes||no||Built in, so super easy. Should always work.|
|Compact||no||no||yes||no||Very small. No volume control.|
|HTML5 jQuery||no||yes||no||yes||Lets you sell audios. 2 files needed. Not responsive.|
|Audio Player||yes||no||yes||yes||Good for podcasters, but no flash.|
|HTML5 Mp3||yes||yes||no||yes||Good for lists and downloads.|
|Audio Tube||yes||no||yes||yes||If playing your own videos, you can eliminate its major flaw.|
|CP Media Player||yes||yes||no||no||Lets you sell audios. Not responsive. Limited players.|
It’s not really easy to say who “wins” here. For a while, it seemed that the Audio Player would be the hands-down winner; however, when I discovered it needed flash and so wouldn’t be available on many devices, that took it right out of the win column.
Some of the other players that would be good were also not responsive, and so while they would play on a mobile device, for example, they threw everything off and were awkward to deal with.
If you need a list, then it looks like you won’t be able to get a responsive solution out of these choices.
If you don’t need a list, then the built in player from WordPress or the Compact player may be your answer.
Photo: the phonograph