When it comes to music production, if you’re writing and recording and mixing your own material, you’ll notice many different file formats. There’s MP3, AAC, FLAC, WAV, and so much more. Which file format you use will ultimately depend on what your audio will be used for. Here’s a quick list of audio file formats you should know about if you’re handling music production.

MP3

This is easily the most popular audio file format in the world. MP3 uses lossy compression algorithms to process audio. Though you lose much of the detail in the compression of the audio, MP3 sound produces a much smaller size than you’ll have in WAV or FLAC. This is why iPods and players of different varieties rely on MP3 files to play music. They’re easier to process and the memory space on a device can accommodate more MP3 files than would be the case if it was a WAV file, FLAC file, or uncompressed format.

WAV

WAV is uncompressed, lossy audio that comes in a large file format retaining the original source audio. WAV is the universal file format for Windows, whereas AIFF is Apple’s version of WAV. When writing music, a lot of the time, the audio files you create in your DAW will be WAV. As you bounce things down, you don’t need the unnecessary space that comes with the WAV files. That said, keep the original WAV files in the session as these will be the most honest recordings of the audio produced.

AAC

If you use Apple, you may notice you’re not often using MP3 files and instead, are AAC. ‘Advanced Audio Coding’ files are similar in audio quality though are slightly smaller.

Anytime you use iTunes or Apple to download music, you are most likely receiving them in this format.

FLAC

FLAC stands for ‘Free Lossless Audio Codec’ and is the most popular lossless format. Unlike uncompressed WAV audio, FLAC uses a lossless compression algorithm that retains all of the original audio without the size of a WAV file. If you want to store music in a lossless format, FLAC is best as it takes up way less space while still retaining the audio quality.

For hip hop, house music, EDM, pop music, dance music, and other genres, these audio file formats are well known. In time, music producers come to know how to make use of these different audio formats. For the most part, the primary thing to remember is you want to have one lossless file type to retain audio’s original details and then, a lossy file type to share with consumers for them to download and listen to. Though the sound of lossy audio is lower in quality compared to lossless formats, it’s necessary to save on space and give our digital devices’ processors the chance to accurately interpret the data.

Needless to say, you want to make sure you have some good big external hard drives and extra space to save your WAV files and track sessions to. As a music producer, you’ll inevitably need it. If you’re searching for a record label for your music, contact Funktasy today. Specializing in hip hop, house music, EDM, pop, dance, and more, a representative would be happy to speak with you on how to maximize your music’s earning potential across all file formats and opportunities.

Contributed by: Jason Leblanc