Difference between WMA and MP3.

WMA and MP3 multimedia file formats are among the most popular. What are they used for?

Facts o WMA

File format WMA is a file format for recording digital audio data using compression technology — the deliberate reduction of the “bit rate” (audio stream density) that can reduce file size and save disk space. Developed by Microsoft. As many experts note, Microsoft continues to actively improve this file format, improve the compression algorithms that are used in it, and help improve sound quality.

A distinctive feature of WMA is that it allows you to copyright protect audio data. In practice, this means that a file on which such protection is installed will be possible to play only on a specific computer. If you copy it to another PC, then it will not start.

Facts about MP3

The file format MP3 is also used to record compressed digital audio data. Developed by German IT specialists from the Fraunhofer Society. This format allows for very strong data compression. For example, if the "bitrate" of uncompressed audio recorded from a CD is in the order of 1400 Kbps, then the density of an audio stream of the same length converted to MP3 and providing comparable quality would be about 256 Kbps.

Generally speaking, when it comes to the ratio of audio compression and sound quality, the MP3 format does not have a pronounced advantage over WMA. These technologies are equally optimal for saving disk space. But there are fundamental differences between them. Let's consider them.


The main difference between WMA and MP3 is that the WMA audio compression technology is a licensed development of Microsoft. Therefore, on alternative platforms, such as Apple or Linux, sound files recorded in this format do not always play correctly. In turn, MP3 is a non-commercial, free standard. Therefore, on almost any computer platform, it can be played without problems.

Another difference between WMA and MP3 is that MP3 files cannot be copyrighted like WMA. But in practice, you can make secure not them, but the distribution channel of audio data in MP3 format. For example, by providing recordings by subscription or through an online store. As a result, copyright protection can be just as effective.


So, now we know what is the difference between WMA and MP3. Let's reflect the main criteria that define it in the table.

Common between formats
Provides efficient audio compression
Differences between formats
Developed by commercial organization MicrosoftDeveloped by a research organization - Fraunhofer Society
Less versatile - works best on WindowsEqually optimal for almost any computer platform
Provides copyright protection for audio recordingsDoes not provide copyright protection for audio recordings