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TwiML™ Voice: <Play>

The <Play> verb plays an audio file back to the caller. Twilio retrieves the file from a URL that you provide.

Verb Attributes

The <Play> verb supports the following attributes that modify its behavior:

Attribute Name Allowed Values Default Value
loop integer >= 0 1
digits integer >= 0, w no default digits for Play


The 'loop' attribute specifies how many times the audio file is played. The default behavior is to play the audio once. Specifying '0' will cause the <Play> verb to loop until the call is hung up.

Use it like so:

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      The ‘digits’ attribute lets you play DTMF tones during a call.

      For example, if you need to test an IVR system, you can use this feature to simulate digits being pressed to navigate through the menu options.

      Include w to introduce a 0.5s pause between DTMF tones. For example, 1w2 will tell Twilio to pause 0.5s before playing DTMF tone 2. To include 1s of pause, simply add ww.

      If you are dialing a phone number and need to play DTMF tones to enter the extension, you should use the sendDigits attribute for <Number>.


      The "noun" of a TwiML verb is the stuff nested within the verb that's not a verb itself; it's the stuff the verb acts upon. These are the nouns for <Play>:

      Noun Description
      plain text The URL of an audio file that Twilio will retrieve and play to the caller.

      Twilio supports the following audio MIME types for audio files retrieved by the <Play> verb:

      MIME type Description
      audio/mpeg mpeg layer 3 audio
      audio/wav wav format audio
      audio/wave wav format audio
      audio/x-wav wav format audio
      audio/aiff audio interchange file format
      audio/x-aifc audio interchange file format
      audio/x-aiff audio interchange file format
      audio/x-gsm GSM audio format
      audio/gsm GSM audio format
      audio/ulaw μ-law audio format

      Nesting Rules

      You can't nest any verbs within <Play>. You can nest <Play> within a <Gather> verb, with one major exception - you can't play "digits" within a <Gather>.


      Example 1: Simple Play

      This TwiML document tells Twilio to download the cowbell.mp3 file and play the audio to the caller.

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          Example 2: Using digits

          We are going to test our IVR menu to make sure users can navigate properly. We know that the length of the initial greeting and the menu number we need to enter. We can add a few leading 'w' characters to add a pause. Each 'w' character tells Twilio to wait 0.5 seconds instead of playing a digit. This lets you adjust the timing of when the digits begin playing to suit the phone system you are dialing.

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              Hints and Advanced Uses

              • Twilio will attempt to cache the audio file the first time it is played. This means the first attempt may be slow to play due to the time spent downloading the file from your remote server. Twilio may play a processing sound while the file is being downloaded.
              • Twilio will cache files when HTTP headers allow it (via ETag and Last-Modified headers). Responding with Cache-Control: no-cache will ensure Twilio always checks if the file has changed, allowing your your web server to respond with a new version or with a 304 Not Modified to instruct Twilio to use its cached version.
              • Audio played over the telephone network is transcoded to a format the telephone network understands. Regardless of the quality of the file you provide us, we will transcode so it plays correctly. This may result in lower quality because the telephone number does not support high bitrate audio.
              • High bitrate, lossy encoded files, such as 128kbps mp3 files, will take longer to transcode and potentially sound worse than files that are in lossless 8kbps formats. This is due to the inevitable degradation that occurs when converting from lossy compressed formats and the processing involved in converting from higher bit rates to low bit rates.
              • <Play>ing a file that is longer than 40 minutes can result in a dropped call. If you need to <Play> a file longer than 40 minutes, consider splitting it up into smaller chunks.

              Need some help?

              We all do sometimes; code is hard. Get help now from our support team, or lean on the wisdom of the crowd browsing the Twilio tag on Stack Overflow.

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