Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between WPL and M3U

WPL vs M3U

WPL and M3U are two file types that are used to store playlists, or a list of audio files with its associated information like file location, title, album, artists, and other relevant information. The most common use of playlists is in segregating and grouping music files for use on computers or on portable music players. The main difference between WPL and M3U is the principal application that uses them. WPL was created for and is used by Microsoft’s Windows Media Player. It is the default file format and all playlists you create with WMP uses WPL. On the other hand, M3U began with Winamp; a very popular and free music player.

One advantage that M3U has over WPL is its widespread adoption by other music players, largely due to fact that Winamp had a large user base and coders wanted to make it easier to move music files from Winamp. For users, choosing the M3U format gives them the flexibility of jumping from one music player to the next without needing to redo their playlists over and over again. Although some music players also recognize the WPL format, these music players are not as many as those that recognize M3U.

When it comes to how the files are formatted, there is a fundamental difference on the structuring. M3U uses a plain text format with special directives and the files are simply listed within it. On the other hand, WPL uses an XML format that gives a lot of power in customizing the actual entries. You can still edit the WPL file in a text editor and browse through the contents as XML is not saved in a binary format.

The good thing about WPL and M3U is the presence of software that is capable of converting one into the other. So even if you’ve already opted to use one, you can still convert the playlist into the other automatically. There may be small mistakes but those can be easily corrected.


1.WPL is native to Windows Media Player while M3U is native to Winamp
2.M3U is used by more music players than WPL
3.M3U is in plain text while WPL is in XML
4.WPL provides better editing and customizing capabilities than M3U

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  1. What makes the difference in playing burned cd’s in different players?
    We burn cd’s music and it will play on one player and not the others.
    what is up with that and how can I correct it.

    • I found that the music I burn with Windows Media Player at the WPL format will play on standard CD players I have while the M3U will not. I think the M3U plays on newer DVD and Mp3 format players. If your music disc will not play on one player try burning it in the other format other wise you probably need a newer player.

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