Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Music samples

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Clarify number of audio samplesEdit

Hello, does anyone think this guide would benefit from some clarity on the *number* of samples that can or should be used in an article? Or suggestions on how to determine what is appropriate?

I am not sure how to determine the right number. Phrases such as "Music samples can be a valuable addition to articles" and "There is no limit to the number of samples that can be used in one article" gave me the impression that editors are free to choose an appropriate number. The page links to Love._Angel._Music._Baby., which uses three audio samples. This also gave me the impression that choosing, say, up to three was normal. However, WP:NFCCP#3 minimal use discourages the use of non-free media. Is the correct number usually zero? How do I tell?

If I look at a Featured music article like Tool_(band), it seems fairly clear that each audio sample can be justified as "significantly contributing". And each seems notable and backed by references. One song was the subject of a large court battle. Two songs won Grammys. One song has critical commentary about the band's signature style. That seems to make sense.

How about the linked album of Love._Angel._Music._Baby.? One is a best selling single. Are more audio samples more appropriate because the article is about an album, rather than a band?

I'm not sure if this is something that comes up regularly, or if I'm just not understanding. Feedback is welcome. --Culix (talk) 04:01, 19 June 2018 (UTC)

The question of the appropriate use of music samples came up yesterday (see my talk page). Based on the comments, this guideline needs to be made more clear, especially the contextual significance criterion of WP:FAIRUSE. The "There is no limit..." explanation and Love.Angel... example don't place enough emphasis on the "accompanied by appropriate sourced commentary" provision as the determining factor. —Ojorojo (talk) 15:37, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Non-free_content#Multimedia - Item 1 might help Ronhjones  (Talk) 18:57, 20 June 2018 (UTC)

That guideline includes:

  • Audio clips – "All non-free audio files must meet each of the non-free content criteria; failure to meet those overrides any acceptable allowance here. Advice for preparing non-free audio files for Wikipedia can be found at Wikipedia:Music samples. The following list is non-inclusive but contains the most common cases where non-free audio samples may be used ... Music clips may be used to identify a musical style, group, or iconic piece of music when accompanied by appropriate sourced commentary and attributed to the copyright holder. Samples should generally not be longer than 30 seconds or 10% of the length of the original song, whichever is shorter (see Wikipedia:Music samples)."
  • Unacceptable use – "An excessive number of short audio clips in a single article. A small number may be appropriate if each is accompanied by commentary in the accompanying text ... The use of non-free media (whether images, audio or video clips) in galleries, discographies, and navigational and user-interface elements generally fails the test for significance (criterion #8)."

The current "There is no limit..." is misleading and should be replaced with wording more in line with the fair use guideline. —Ojorojo (talk) 16:20, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

Culix, Ronhjones, Martinevans123, 2A01:CB1D:80D4:F700:41D3:2EC6:6731:9302: I've started on a rewrite of the Inclusion section of the guideline. Does the idea of "sourced commentary" or "subject of discussion" need to be explained? Please add your comments and suggestions. —Ojorojo (talk) 21:27, 25 June 2018 (UTC)

I'm really not sure what is this awful media copyright risk that fair use rationale is meant to be protecting us against. Unless there is clear legal copyright guidance for this, it looks to me like another set of invented rules to satisfy against some illusory threat. I see no difference between illustrating an artist's style by means of a 30-second clip and illustrating a single song by that artist by means of the same 30-second clip. Thanks for asking anyway. Did I mention that some examples of good fair use would be useful? Martinevans123 (talk) 22:52, 25 June 2018 (UTC)
I doubt if you will get any legal guidance from the WMF, I'm sure that's been asked before with respect to image size (and I've only just got the bulk of the 600,000 images down to the guideline - and some are still arguing about the guideline size!). In my view, it's a bit like a non-free image - it's relatively easy to have one item (often in the infobox). If you need more files on one article, then the subsequent ones should have some commentary in the article about the file, to enumerate on the difference between the main file and the new addition. If it's just half a dozen different clips, then someone will come along and set up a FFD due to failure of minimal usage. I think that "There is no limit..." is misleading. Ronhjones  (Talk) 00:04, 26 June 2018 (UTC)
Talking about images and audio files in the same context can be a bit confusing. But, if I've understood you correctly, that's the fourth different rationale I've seen for including an audio clip in an article. When we say "image size" with regard to audio files, I'm assuming that is to do with quality not length in seconds. Martinevans123 (talk) 07:32, 26 June 2018 (UTC)
Martin: There is nothing we can do here to override the non-free use guideline and other controlling policies that have legal implications. Please take up your concerns on those talk pages. Perhaps Jimi Hendrix (artist article with three song samples) and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (album article with three samples) can be added as examples under "Number of samples" in addition to the two song examples under Listen and Audio sample. —Ojorojo (talk) 15:48, 26 June 2018 (UTC)
I've changed the Listen example and added two example articles with multiple samples. Since this clarifies existing policies and is not "substantive", I'll add this to the guideline page, if there are no objections. —Ojorojo (talk) 17:23, 28 June 2018 (UTC)

Inclusion in article [proposed]Edit

  • Contextual significance
Properly uploaded music samples should only be added to articles in which the song or a particular aspect of it is discussed and referenced. This is necessary to meet the "Contextual significance" requirement for use of non-free content: 1) the item [song or portion of] is itself the subject of sourced commentary in the article, or 2) where only by including such non-free content, can the reader identify an object, style, or behavior, that is a subject of discussion in the article [emphasis in original]. (see Meeting the contextual significance criterion.)
  • Number of samples
The Non-free content guideline advises against "An excessive number of short audio clips in a single article". It adds "A small number may be appropriate if each is accompanied by commentary in the accompanying text ... The use of non-free media (whether images, audio or video clips) in galleries, discographies, and navigational and user-interface elements generally fails the test for significance (criterion #8 [Contextual significance])." Examples of multiple samples within featured articles include Jimi Hendrix (artist article with three song samples) and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (album article with three samples).
  • Use and location of templates
Music samples are added to articles by using the Template:Listen within the main body of the article or Template:Audio sample to add it to an infobox. When using {{Listen}}, the template should be placed in the paragraph where the song is discussed if possible.
  • Listen example
A sample of "Home at Last" is located in the Aja album article in the Critical reception section, where sourced commentary about its style is included. The code is as follows (see the template documentation for more options):
| type = music
| filename = Home at Last.ogg
| title = "Home at Last"
| description = 30-second sample
| pos = }}
  • Audio sample (for Infobox) example
A sample of "Bad" is added to the {{Infobox song}} in |misc= using {{Audio sample}}. Since the title and artist are already included in the infobox, an additional header or description is not needed. The code is (see the template documentation for more options):
| misc =
{{Audio sample
| type = single
| file = Michael Jackson - Bad.ogg}}

Remove outdated Audacity v1.2 adviceEdit

As can be seen here: 1, that version is at least 10 years old now, and has been replaced by 2.0 (not 1.3) on 2012-03-14.

Being free, open source software, there is no reason for anyone to be using an outdated version, especially not 6 years after it has been replaced. Per WP:CREEP, the whole "Audacity 1.2" information can be removed, the reference to the non-existant version 1.3 (which was a beta version back then) can be removed, and the sentence can be reworded.

I suggest the following change:

Before: Samples must be of reduced quality from the original. A Vorbis quality setting of 0 (roughly 64kbit/s) is usually sufficient. To do this using Audacity v1.2, select Preferences under the Edit menu, and move the "Ogg quality" slider under File Formats to 0 before exporting the file in .ogg format (for Macs, select Preferences under the title menu (Audacity), and go to the File Formats tab). Using Audacity v1.3, export quality options can be chosen by clicking the Options button in the Export dialog after choosing Ogg Vorbis in the file type drop-down menu.

New wikitext: Samples must be of reduced quality from the original. A Vorbis quality setting of 0 (roughly 64kbit/s) is usually sufficient.

Then, as a separate (third) bullet point, the following text should be added:

  • To do this, you can open the file using Audacity, delete the part that exceeds the maximum length, and export the sample ("File>Export>Export as OGG"). In the Export dialog, move the quality slider to 0 before saving.

~ ToBeFree (talk) 16:42, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

@ToBeFree:: I've gone and done this; 1.2 is only getting older and information about it isn't helping anyone. I did also use an indented bullet point for the audacity-specific information; that seems clearer to me (but I don't think it really matters that much). --Pokechu22 (talk) 00:57, 15 June 2020 (UTC)

Clarification neededEdit

If you put the word "unlicensed" next to the word "copyrighted" it confuses readers, because everything that's copyrighted is, in fact, licensed by the copyright owner, as evidenced by the "(C)" and "(P)" next to an year.--Fandelasketchup (talk) 16:21, 27 May 2020 (UTC)

Music sample info templateEdit

The Guidelines section recommends using {{Music sample info}}. I believe that unless this template is changed its use should not be recommended. The problems I see are:

  • The template requires subst-ing, which obscures whether a template was used (and which template) and obscures the parameters. I spent a hour at the Help desk recently troubleshooting where a user had copied and adapted a fair use rationale but did not include a link the use article.
  • The template creates an old-fashioned non-free use rationale, which overemphasizes fair use and underemphasizes the requirements of NFCC which go beyond fair use.

{{Non-free use rationale}} is not tailored for music samples, but it avoids both of these problems. —teb728 t c 10:18, 1 December 2020 (UTC)


Hi, i have a question, the music samples can be a length like a 30 seconds TikTok video? Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rodney Araujo (talkcontribs) 19:04, 12 August 2021 (UTC)

"reduced quality"Edit

The guideline says, Samples must be of reduced quality from the original. However, we're unsure how "reduced" the quality should be. I assumed that a sample should be no more than 250 KB total, but another editor thought otherwise. Are maximum and minimum requirements needed to clarify the meaning of "reduced"? How many nominal bit rates must we go no further than? --George Ho (talk) 04:01, 2 December 2021 (UTC)

Oh, almost forgot sample rate. And what can exceed the limits of "reduced quality"? --George Ho (talk) 04:22, 2 December 2021 (UTC)

Given that this states "For an .ogg file, a Vorbis quality setting of 0 (roughly 64kbit/s) is usually sufficient.", I would assume we mean the lowest-possible quality setting on the encoder software to generate that sample. --Masem (t) 04:28, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
Within the past year, I've been using the mp3 format for my uploads. I figured that mp3 is more inferior (and more appropriate) than ogg. AFAIK, the lowest settings available for mp3 exporting from Audacity are "45–85 kbps (smaller files)" ('variable') and "8 kbps" ('constant' and 'average'). Furthermore, mp3's patents have already expired for several years. So far, I've not yet seen a single rule about the mp3 format and wav format. --George Ho (talk) 05:04, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't think an exact rule exists, nor should it. The goal should be to choose a low quality that still fulfills the purpose described in the non-free usage rationale. Similarly, for images, the recommendation is usually 0.1 megapixels in area, but sometimes it's necessary to go above that (see {{Non-free no reduce}}). There's nothing preventing you from uploading an image run through or reducing it to 16 pixels by 16 pixels, but for essentially all images that results in insufficient quality to be useful. The same thing applies with audio. Whether or not MP3 at the lowest quality is sufficient for the file to be useful depends on the situation. --Pokechu22 (talk) 05:44, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
I've said it elsewhere, but we aren't going to judge file size due to the way different encoders work, just as long as with that encoder you are using the "worst" possible settings, and keep the file to 10% of the total work or 30s, whichever is shorter. Even if this means your mp3 comes out 10x larger than the ogg, as long as you used the worst encoding in either case and the same length, either would be fine. --Masem (t) 06:25, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
Masem, this is obviously wrong. The worst possible? 8kbit/s Mp3 is useless. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 03:09, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
George Ho, "figured that mp3 is more inferior", well not really. At the same bitrate, yes. Ogg at 64kbps is audibly worse than the original but considerably better than Mp3 at 64kbit/s. ~96kbps Mp3 is probably more similar to 64kbit/s Ogg. Of course you can reduce the bitrate of ogg further. (try -q -1)
For sample rate, if it's higher than 48kHz you might as well lower it. Makes no sense at low bitrates anyway. If there are more than 2 channels, downmix to stereo. (unless the surround effect is required to understand the work) Don't use wav or flac. For opus we'd probably be looking at 32-48kbit/s. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 03:01, 5 December 2021 (UTC)