MIME, which was initially created to solve a problem with files in email
messages, stands for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. MIME types are
similar to file extensions; they tell the email client or Web server what
type of information a file contains. In the case of MIME Audio, the MIME
type tells the email client or Web server that the file contains audio.
Different audio file extensions may refer to different MIME Audio types. For example, .au and .snd both refer to the audio/basic MIME type while .mp3 files use the audio/mpeg MIME type. Other common file extensions and MIME types include:
.wav (audio/wav or audio/x-wav)
MIME types, which are now called Media Types, are registered with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. The specifics for each MIME type are listed within the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.
Opening MIME Audio files typically involves finding an audio player
compatible with the given MIME type. In some cases, you may already have a
compatible player installed on your computer. In others, you may need to
find a third party player capable of playing that particular MIME type.
Start by trying your existing media player because it may be able to open the file. You can do this by launching Windows Explorer and navigating to the MIME file that you want to open. Right-click the file and choose Open With. You may see several media players listed such as iTunes or Windows Media Player. If you do, go ahead and try each of those. If not, click on Choose Program. From here, browse your computer for your media player of choice and then double-click it to launch the program and open the MIME audio file.
A number of applications are available that can open the vast majority of MIME audio files. Some of the more popular ones are listed below:
Windows Media Player - Windows Media Player comes preinstalled on Windows computers. Various editions of Windows Media Player can also be downloaded directly from Microsoft's Download Center.
Apple QuickTime - Though developed by Apple, QuickTime is compatible with Windows. It can be downloaded for free from Apple.com.
RealPlayer - Available from Real.com, the RealPlayer is one of the most popular audio players in the world. RealPlayer claims to support ALL formats, making it one of the first programs to try.
iTunes - Due to the popularity of the iPod, iTunes is also extremely popular. If you currently have iTunes on your computer, it may be able to open your MIME Audio file. If not, you can download a copy for free at Apple.com.
If none of the above media players opens your MIME audio file, try updating
the media player. Sometimes developers add new codecs and MIME types and
issue them through software updates. After updating the player, try opening
the MIME audio file once again.
Another common problem with MIME audio involves streaming audio files and embedded players on websites. If the MIME audio file is hosted on a remote server and designed to play in your Web browser, both the Web server and your Web browser must understand what the MIME Audio file is. Sometimes this is a simple matter of installing an add-in to your browser.
Handling MIME Types in Internet Explorer - This article from MSDN explains how to update the MIME Handler for Windows XP and above.
MIME Type Settings for Windows Media Services - Microsoft provides users with a quick tutorial for manually setting various MIME types including MIME Audio for Windows Media.