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Chapter 1. The Art of Sound Design > A brief history of web audio

1.1. A brief history of web audio

While audio is now commonplace on the web, it took the rise in commercial interest in the medium to generate the developments you see and hear today. Prior to events such as the initial public offering of Netscape in 1996, web sites were largely non-profit affairs with sparse, text-based pages and few, if any, graphical embellishments. The meteoric rise in commercial browser use created an almost clamorous demand for professional graphic designers with high-quality media production skills. In little time, huge numbers of web sites were transformed into polished corporate marketing brochures, and the once dry text pages of scientific journals were looking more like slick designer magazines.

But as much as the Web was improving in its graphic appeal, it remained a silent medium. The only audio content available other than MIDI were large .wav or .au files that took minutes or even hours to download before they could be played. The Web was far from an entertainment or broadcast medium.


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