Older audio observations don't have sound

My audio observations before November 2019 have no sound.
Observations with audio before Nov. 2019
Observations with audio after Nov. 2019
I recorded and submitted all of them the same way.

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here is one of your observations whose sound file won’t play: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/34644752.

the underlying sound file is: https://static.inaturalist.org/sounds/48771.m4a. when i try to open that file directly, i see this error message:


The request could not be satisfied.

Request blocked. We can’t connect to the server for this app or website at this time. There might be too much traffic or a configuration error. Try again later, or contact the app or website owner.
If you provide content to customers through CloudFront, you can find steps to troubleshoot and help prevent this error by reviewing the CloudFront documentation.

Generated by cloudfront (custom)

the interesting thing is that, while i’m not able to open the sounds from your older observations (as you noted), i haven’t had any problems opening sound files from other people’s older observations. just for example, these observations have sounds that play just fine:

assuming the problem is isolated to just your set of old observations, the error message above notes “request blocked” and suggests “too much traffic” might be a reason for that. is there anything that might be driving unusually high traffic to these sound files?

EDIT: i looked again, and all your sound files are m4a, but the ones that have issues are specifically m4a (audio/x-m4a), and the ones that play fine are specifically m4a (audio/mp4).

so m4a (audio/x-m4a) seems to be the key. here are older observations from others with the same issue:

m4a (audio/mp4) seems to be just fine:

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That’s weird, they used to play. I made them all the same way with the same equipment, Iphone and PC. There must a gremlin out there that doesn’t like old bird songs.

i suspect there may have been a change in the iNat media server configuration settings, preventing it from serving up audio/x-m4a files. if that’s the case, it should be a minor change to get the server to serve these up again (assuming such a change was unintentional).

Thanks, we’ll take a look.

I just went back and reuploaded the 16 sound observations that would not work anymore. I used the same files that I used last time. They all work again now. This fixes my issue but this problem still needs some attention for other observers that may be affected.

it’s interesting that your reloaded audio files are all loaded as audio/mp4. it doesn’t address the problem here, but i’m curious – did you change your mobile device or anything in your workflow around November 2019?

I didn’t change anything. Uploaded the same way with the same files. Same computer and same mobile device.

Edit: I actually didn’t use a mobile device while reloading because the sound files are still on my computer.

All but two of the sounds affected by this bug have been fixed (I’m not sure which sounds those are, but we suspect they’re formatted in a way we can’t process). Thanks for your help on this, @pisum.

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