I noticed that some of my audio files have a .m4a extension while others are .mp3. Oddly, some of my audio files have a .mp4 extension, which I thought was for video. What’s the difference between all these file types?
Know the difference between MP3, MP4, and M4A :
I’ve gathered files from all over the place and I’ve never given them names. However, Windows Media Player seems to play them all. We’ll start with MP4. MP is short for MPEG, which in turn is short for Moving Picture Experts Group the name of the industry consortium that introduced the technology in 2001. MPEG-4 is its full name, and it’s just one of many standards defined by the consortium
People often think of MP4 as a video file format but this isn’t strictly true. In fact, MP4 is a ‘container’ that carries digital video or audio or, most commonly, a combination of the two. But note that we said video OR audio – meaning an MP4 file may contain only audio. It can also be a variety of other things, as we’ll explain.In an effort to distinguish audio from video files, Apple came up with the .m4a file extension – so some of your digital-audio files probably originated from Apple’s iTunes Store or an iPod. Other MP4 file-extension variants include .m4r for ringtones, .m4b for audiobooks and .m4p for audio files protected by digital-rights management (DRM) encryption.
However, not every company adopted this standard, so some audio-only MP4 files have a .mp4 file extension. That leaves us with MP3 and the .mp3 file extension. This was also introduced by MPEG, in 1993, but a tad confusingly is a subset of the earlier MPEG-1/2 standards. It’s full technical name is MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III. In common use, this was abbreviated to MP3, and .mp3 for the file extension – and it’s an audio format.
So, what do you think? Share their post if this helps you. Feel free to discuss your thoughts in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe us. 🙂