How to listen to .ram files.

Some of the audio/video files that we host here at ibiblio are in .ram format (check out these great hollerin’ files). If you just click on that today, it probably won’t work, but with a few steps you can download and listen.

.Ram is a Real Audio Metadata file, it contains no audio itself, but is a text file that points to the URL where the audio/video is located, likely a .rm file. The .rm file is the actual audio/video. The Real Audio player came out in 1995 and was a way to play audio and video files from the internet while they were still downloading. Some may not recall this, but downloading files over dial-up took an incredibly long time. 

You can play these files on your computer but need to take a few extra steps:

  1. Download the .ram and open it with a text editor to see the URL that it points to. Using the hollerin example, we open the hearsome.ram file and see that the URL is pnm://audio.metalab.unc.edu/hollerin/noise/hearsome.rm.
  2. Convert that URL by taking everything after the .edu and putting it onto https://ibiblio.org like this – https://www.ibiblio.org/hollerin/noise/hearsome.rm (this step only applies to ibiblio files).
  3. Open that URL to download the .rm file (.rm is the actual Real Media file).
  4. Download this VLC player https://get.videolan.org/vlc/3.0.14/win64/vlc-3.0.14-win64.exe
  5. Open the .rm file with the VLC player.
  6. Enjoy

Another example of .ram in ibiblio is this inspiring 1998 UNC Commencement speech from Marian Wright Edelman.

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