WMA is a widespread licensed audio stream compression format. Created in 1999 by Signal Processing Group, a member of the IT giant Microsoft. Initially, this company created WMA as a competitor to the popular MP3 format. The name WMA is an abbreviation for Windows Media Audio. Among the advantages of this format is the support of almost all Windows systems and devices, as well as the similarity in characteristics and quality with MP3 files. It is believed that a compressed WMA audio file with a bit rate of 160 kbit / s is fully consistent with the quality of an MP3 file with a bit rate of 256 kbit / s. Today, even Apple devices support the WMA format.
ALAC is the format of a small specialized program called an audio codec. Its main task is to compress a file with digital music without losing its quality. The name of the format created by Apple's IT giant is Apple's abbreviation Lossless Audio Codec. This format may also be called ALE (from Apple Lossless Encoder). Files in this format can play devices even with limited computing resources - such as an iPod. When compressing a file in this format, it is approximately 40-60% of the original file. Now almost every multimedia player based on the libavcodec library is able to play ALAC format files.