Windows Media Audio (WMA)

WMA, short for Windows Media Audio, is an audio format developed by Microsoft senior researcher Henrique Malvar and his team.

Generally, WMA is about a format or codec. With the support of iTunes, this format has become popular today and is a strong threat to the MP3 format.

When Microsoft released the first version of WMA, it claimed that the WMA format compresses files at a higher speed than MP3, and produces audio only half the size of an MP3 file. However, this claim was met with great skepticism by many users, especially music lovers.

Although WMA was originally developed as a competitor to MP3, it is used less frequently than MP3.

Microsoft has developed WMA pro, WMA Lossless and WMA Voice by adapting the original WMA codec. However, these are designed with different codecs and these codecs are not compatible with the previous one.

WMA has improved the low bitrate playback effect. This means it offers higher quality in a relatively smaller file size. However, its performance at high frequency is not that good. Still, this feature is great for compressing English audio files.


MS has released 8 different versions of WMA to date. Versions after WMA 7 support certificate encryption to protect music copyrights, which works best for musicians and music publishers.
WMA compresses audio files at higher speed, so audio files are smaller in size but higher quality.


Usually, compressing audio with WMA codec will cause some quality loss. For users who pay particular attention to sound quality, WMA is far from perfect. Instead, try FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) or APE (also known as Monkey's Audio).
Microsoft controls the WMA standard but does not share it with other operating systems.