Web Audio API brings audio design to the Web as it becomes a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation

Web Audio API enables the creation and manipulation of music and sounds, directly in the browser

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced on 17 June 2021 that Web Audio API is now an official standard, bringing music and audio creation and manipulation to the Web.

Web Audio API is a JavaScript API for creating, shaping, and manipulating sounds directly in a Web browser. It is already widely deployed for the creation of music and sound effects on Web pages, for the creation of online musical instruments, for Web games, and for collaborative artworks such as sound installations.

Responsive, high-quality sounds in any website, any web app

Focussed on sound creation (rather than merely the playback of recorded audio), the Web Audio API provides a rich set of modular building blocks which web and app developers can combine to create a wide range of applications, including: auditory feedback in user interfaces, musical instruments, soundtracks and effects for entertainment and gaming, teaching, spatial audio for AR and VR, online audio editing apps, crossfading and compression for in-car music management, and audio analysis and visualisation.

Web Audio is available everywhere

With the API standardized and deployed as a royalty-free feature in Web browsers and other devices and platforms, both on desktop and mobile, creating sound with the Web Audio API has become a dependable, widely deployed, built-in capability, eliminating the need to install plugins or download separate applications.

Web Audio is used in many applications including: SoundCloud, Mozilla Hubs, Firefox Mixed Reality, Ableton, Google Meet and Stadia, SoundTrap, Amped Studio, BandLab, BeatPort, Soundation, Leimma & Apotome, and Spotify.

"The development of the Web Audio API to the point of it becoming a W3C Recommendation represents a huge effort from developers, audio experts and audio artists across industry and academia. A major contributing factor in the success of the API has been the support from the user community who have engaged with the spec and developed some incredible work", said Matthew Paradis, Audio WG co-chair. "The founding of the annual Web Audio conference has increased the reach of the API and provided a platform for academic, creative and scientific use of the WAAPI. Finally the enthusiasm of browser vendors to commit their time to shaping and implementing the API has made this a very rewarding process. I hope that this engagement will continue as we develop future enhancements to the API".

Web-wide, multi-user experiences

In contrast to most native audio applications, the Web Audio API naturally lends itself to creation of collaborative and interactive artworks online, where instead of a passive audience, people can actively interact with the artists and each other, using nothing more than the browser on their computer or mobile phone.

The future of Web Audio API is already in the works

The W3C Web Audio Working Group has benefitted from the shared developer experience of the global Web Audio community over the last six years, exemplified by the annual Web Audio Conference series and the Web Audio weekly newsletter.

Together, the Working Group and community have already started work on Web Audio API v2. This will build on and enrich the first version of the API, adding more complex and much-requested features which were insufficiently developed to be included in the first version of the API.

Web Audio API joins the many W3C standards that define an Open Web Platform for application development with unprecedented potential to enable developers to build rich interactive experiences, that are available on any device and environment.

About the World Wide Web Consortium

The mission of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to lead the Web to its full potential by creating technical standards and guidelines to ensure that the Web remains open, accessible, and interoperable for everyone around the globe. W3C well-known standards HTML and CSS are the foundational technologies upon which websites are built. W3C works on ensuring that all foundational Web technologies meet the needs of civil society, in areas such as accessibility, internationalization, security, and privacy. W3C also provides the standards that undergird the infrastructure for modern businesses leveraging the Web, in areas such as entertainment, communications, digital publishing, and financial services. That work is created in the open, provided for free and under the groundbreaking W3C Patent Policy.

W3C's vision for "One Web" brings together thousands of dedicated technologists representing more than 400 Member organizations and dozens of industry sectors. W3C is jointly hosted by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the United States, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan and Beihang University in China. For more information see https://www.w3.org/.

End Press Release

Media contact

Amy van der Hiel, W3C Media Relations Coordinator <w3t-pr@w3.org>
+1.617.253.5628 (US, Eastern Time)

Testimonials from W3C members and Industry Users

BBC • Google • Mozilla • Spotify • Université Côte d’Azur • Web3D Consortium


The BBC has been a major contributor to the Web Audio API since the formation of the Audio working group at the W3C. To see it become a standard represents a huge effort across the industry to provide modern audio processing on the web platform. From a broadcast perspective, the WAAPI supports our aspirations to deliver personalised, accessible, immersive and interactive experiences to our audiences via our web based playback platforms in a way which was previously not possible

Andy Conroy, Controller, BBC Research & Development


The Web Audio API transformed how we interact with sound in the browser by bringing advanced audio processing and musical creativity into the Web platform.

Immersive audio experiences entertain and delight after just following a link on the web. Businesses have built audio and music production tools. Games bring dynamic soundscapes. Teleconferencing & video chat tools enhance the quality of their connection. And much more richness has flourished, from online audio books to enhanced marketing experiences

Google is pleased to have supported Web Audio standardization and advocacy over this decade-long journey and thanks the many contributors along the way.

Hongchan Choi, Web Audio Technical Lead, Google

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Hongchan Choi, Web Audio Technical Lead, Google


Eleven years ago Mozilla pioneered the first experimental implementations of real-time audio processing in web browsers. We've been innovating in this domain ever since, and we are very pleased to see the Web Audio API become a W3C Recommendation.

With the addition of AudioWorklet’s direct audio sample manipulation, the Web Audio API is now a viable foundation for a broad range of use-cases and applications. Existing native code bases or highly custom processing algorithms can now be deployed on the Web to build fully-featured digital audio workstations, state-of-the-art VR experiences, or even physical modelling of acoustic instruments, delivering on the vision of our early experiments and building a better internet.

Paul Adenot, Mozilla

Soundtrap, Spotify

For nearly ten years Soundtrap has been working to democratize music creation and the Web Audio API has been at the core of our product since the beginning. Our goal has always been to make music and storytelling more accessible and collaborative, and Web Audio has been key to removing the barriers of installed desktop software and making audio production available to anyone with a web browser. We are proud to be a part of the Web Audio community and are excited to now see Web Audio recognized as the official W3C standard for audio on the web.

Björn Melinder, Senior Staff Engineer, Soundtrap, Spotify

Université Côte d’Azur

Université Côte d'Azur (France) joined the W3C Audio Working Group in 2013. Today, we are happy to see the WebAudio API become an official standard. We have successfully used the WebAudio technology in our teaching and we have participated with other academic actors in the creation of the research domain of the same name. Some of the software developed by our scientists, based on WebAudio, is now marketed by the CNRS and has won prestigious awards at international conferences.

No one could have predicted the rapid transition to the online world that is now part of our daily lives. The work done on WebAudio over the past decade has put the Web platform in a central position to change the world of music and multimedia, enabling it to adapt to this new way of living and working.

Michel Buffa, Professor at the University of Côte d’Azur

Université Côte d’Azur (France) a rejoint en 2013 l’Audio Working Group du W3C. Aujourd'hui, nous sommes heureux de voir la WebAudio API devenir une norme officielle. Nous avons utilisé avec succès la technologie WebAudio dans nos enseignements et nous avons participé avec d’autres acteurs du monde académique à la création du domaine de recherche du même nom. Certains logiciels développés par nos scientifiques, basés sur WebAudio, sont aujourd’hui commercialisés par le CNRS et ont obtenu des prix prestigieux dans des conférences internationales.

Personne n’aurait pu prédire la fulgurante transition vers le monde en ligne qui fait désormais partie de notre quotidien. Les travaux effectués sur WebAudio au cours de la dernière décennie placent aujourd’hui la plate-forme Web dans une position centrale pour modifier le monde de la musique et du multimédia, en lui permettant de s'adapter à cette nouvelle façon de vivre et de travailler.

Michel Buffa, Maître de Conférence à l’Université Côte d’Azur

Web3D Consortium

Extensible 3D (X3D) Graphics is the royalty-free open standard for publishing, viewing, printing and archiving interactive 3D models on the Web.

The W3C Web Audio API is unique and fundamentally important for adding high-fidelity audio processing in a performant cross-platform manner for the Web.

X3D version 4 fully integrates all capabilities in the W3C Web Audio API as a declarative audio graph, within X3D scene graphs, for processing and synthesizing audio in spatialized Web applications.

Open-source implementations and examples repeatably demonstrate how compelling audio capabilities improve 3D interaction, realism and presence on the Web.

Efi Lakka, University of South Wales, UK

Thanos Malamos, Hellenic Mediterranean University (HMU), Greece

Richard Puk, Intelligraphics Inc. USA

Don Brutzman, X3D Graphics Working Group, Web3D Consortium