Difference Between MP3 and MP4 | MP3 VS MP4

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

There are two main data storage types used to store media: MP4 and MP3. The main difference between MP3 and MP4 is that compared to MP3, which is older and only accepts audio files, MP4 is a newer file format that also includes video encoding. The multimedia container MP4 can technically support text, graphics, audio and video.

Difference Between MP3 and MP4 PDF

There is a significant difference between MP3 and MP4, and they keep many file types there. Here, we have provided a brief introduction about MP3, MP4 along with the difference between MP3 and MP4 discussed in the upcoming sections.


Difference Between MP3 and MP4

The full form of MP4 is MPED-V AVC whereas MP3 stands for MPEG Audio Layer 3. Let us check the difference between MP3 and MP4 given in the table below.




It is a coding and storing format for audio.

It is a form of digital multimedia container. 

MP3 was first introduced in 1994, making it a somewhat ancient file format.

The market first saw the introduction of MP4 in 2003.

Although it is a technology that compresses data, the audio files’ overall quality is unaffected.

It is a technology that compresses data and lowers the quality of both audio and video files.

Videos cannot be compressed using this file type.

It is feasible to compress videos using this file type.

The file’s extension is.mp3.

It makes use of the file extensions.mp4,.m4v,.m4r,.m4b,.m4p, and.m4a.

What is MP3?

The Moving Picture Experts Group also produced the MP3 or MPEG audio Layer-3 file format (MPEG). The files that can only be used for audio are stored there. On July 7th, 1994, the Fraunhofer Society made MP3 available to the general public using an encoder named 13enc.

MP3 files had the extension.bit prior to the introduction of the.mp3 file extension on July 14th, 1995. The first real-time MP3 player, called Winplay3, which allowed users to record and replay MP3s from their PCs, was introduced on September 9th, 1995. Due of the limited hard disc capacity available in those days, MP3 was a blessing and became an instant hit.

What is MP4?

A file format called MP4 or MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding) was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It is used to hold text, subtitles, still images, audio, and video. 2002 saw the general availability of MP4. More than anything else, MP4s gained popularity thanks to Apple’s iPod. However, the development of multimedia-enabled mobile phone devices has also played a significant role in the concept’s recent rise to popularity.

The ability to download videos from Google Video to devices like the Apple iPod and Sony PSP helped to make MP4 a well-liked video format. Due to its smaller file size and compatibility with shareware and free software like VLC, MP4 is also more widely used than Apple’s Quicktime format (.mov).

Key Difference Between MP3 and MP4

The key difference between MP3 and MP4 is as follows.

  • MP3 was released in 1993, while MP4 was launched in 2003.
  • MP3 is a form of audio coding, whereas MP4 is a kind of multimedia container.
  • MP3 uses a file extension .mp3, whereas MP4 uses a file extension .mp4.
  • MP3 handles only audio, whereas MP4 handles audios, videos, picture, and text.
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