Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Music samples

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Music samples can be a valuable addition to articles about bands, musical styles, and genres. They can illustrate the particular instruments or musical elements in a song in a way that a text description cannot. However, usage of such samples needs to comply with copyright law and Wikipedia's guidelines. The limitations on length and quality described here apply only to

fair use samples; free content
samples are not subject to these limitations.


Inclusion in article

  • 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
  • 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 non-free 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 free sample of "Crazy Blues" 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):
{{Infobox song
| misc         = {{subst:Audio sample
 | type = single
 | file = Mamie Smith, Crazy Blues.ogg
  • Number of samples
featured articles include Jimi Hendrix (artist article with three song samples) and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
(album article with four samples).

What is the maximum length permitted?

10% of the length of the original song up to a maximum of 30 seconds, as explained above. The table below explains how this works in practice:

Original (m:ss) 0:30 1:00 1:30 2:00 2:30 3:00 3:30 4:00 4:30 5:00 and longer
Maximum length of sample (m:ss) 0:03 0:06 0:09 0:12 0:15 0:18 0:21 0:24 0:27 0:30

See also