The extension WMA denotes a file in Windows Media Audio format. These files contain compressed audio. This proprietary audio compression method was developed by Microsoft Corporation and is part of the Windows Media Platform.
There are four variants that have been developed for specific applications.
Most commonly you will find Windows Media Audio files. This lossy compression is similar to MP3 and supports sampling rates (sampling rate) up to 48kHz, up to 2 channels and different bitrates.
For multi-channel audio and higher quality, Windows Media Audio Professional is intended. It supports sampling rates up to 96kHz, 24bit resolution and up to 8 channels. Currently, WMA Pro does not enjoy much support yet.
WMA Lossless provides lossless compression for audio with up to 6 channels and 96kHz and 24-bit audio. Especially for speech content WMA Voice is intended. It is not very common yet. In addition to the Windows Media Player and numerous software players, many hardware players are able to play WMA.
WMA files can also be protected by Digital Rights Management. In this case, you need the appropriate, possibly paid licenses to play the files.
WMA encoded audio may also be present in other container formats. For example, in asf or mkv.WMA is not available as a retrofittable codec, but must be directly supported by the player or operating system.