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Current Media Formats

This page serves to document a list of media file metadata schemas, formats, and efforts as background for the design of a simple media-info microformat. Rather than attempting a comprehensive analysis of existing formats (like media-metadata-examples), the main aim of this document is to just list common formats along with associated metadata in the hopes that it helps pave the way for later analysis and brainstorming. Although some playlist/distribution formats are listed, ideally playlists would be treated as a seperate problem and handled elsewhere.


See Also

Media File Formats

What follows is a pretty general list of media file formats in use on the internet. I haven't really listed much in the way of specific metadata formats or made a distinction between container formats and codecs. The idea is to start with common formats that people use and examine the user facing data that they provide. Hopefully this can be done without getting too bogged down in the nuts and bolts of each format. -Dean

Audio Formats

  • AAC (Advanced Audio Coding, most commonly iTunes and ITMS)
    • ID3v2
  • AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format)
    • AIFF defines Name, Author, Copyright and Annotation as optional text chunks in the flie format.
    • iTunes attaches ID3 information to AIFF files that it encodes
  • ALAC (Apple Lossless)
  • ATRAC (Sony proprietary)
  • ATRAC3 (Used by SonyConnect)
  • ATRAC3plus
  • AU
  • FLAC
    • FLAC native
    • Ogg FLAC
  • Liquid Audio (Does this still exist in practice?)
  • MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
  • MP3 (MPEG1, Audio Layer 3)
    • ID3
    • ID3v2
  • SDII (Sound Designer II)
  • Vorbis (Ogg Vorbis)
  • WAV
  • WMA (Windows Media Audio)

Video Formats

  • MOV (QuickTime)
  • DV (Digital Video)
  • SWF
  • WMV (Windows Media Video)

Image Formats

Container and Metadeta Formats

  • ID3v1
  • ID3v2
  • AVI (Audio/Video Interleaved) (From RIFF base tags) Name, Artist, Copyright, Product, Creation Date, Genre, Subject, Keywords and Comments. This table lists tags defined in AVI variations.
  • MPEG
  • QuickTime User Data
    • QuickTime understands Copyright, Creation Date, Director, Edit Dates, Format, Movie Info (?), Producer Name, Performers' Names, Hardware/Software Requirements, Source Credits and Writer's Name user data atoms.
  • Ogg

Distribution/Sydication Formats


The above list is just a brainstorm of existing media formats and, as such, is bound to contain some not-quite-so-useful examples. But hopefully it'll help reveal some common elements shared in currently published media and help reinvigorate media-info-brainstorming.

Next Steps

  1. A section for descriptive, data-only formats (MusicBrainz, etc.) or does that belong in media-info-examples?
  2. Add links to specifications for formats.
  3. List MIME types? --TomMorris 07:36, 11 Aug 2007 (PDT)
  4. Provide brief summaries of descriptive information provided by the formats with a focus on user visible information.
  5. Find the common ground.