I have a file, which is obviously a MP3 file (file extension .mp3, type indicated as "MP3 Format Sound" in Windows Explorer). Surprisingly, when I open the file using Windows Media Player, it will show a video (along with audio content).

How is that possible? I always assumed that MP3 is a pure audio format.

  • Is it a single image or moving pictures?
    – Gyan
    Sep 21, 2016 at 12:57
  • Moving pictures, so regular video. Sep 21, 2016 at 14:14
  • What does mediainfo say about the file?
    – Gyan
    Sep 21, 2016 at 14:17
  • mp3 files were actually originally the audio layer from mpeg video files.
    – Octopus
    Sep 22, 2016 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


Mp3 is audio only. The file extension can be virtually anything; if it's recognized as an extension known by Windows the associated program will be used to open it. The program will usually then read the file header to determine what file it really is, regardless of the extension. If the format can be read by the application it usually opens it just fine.

What you have is likely to be the same as in the picture below; a file with the wrong extension. I took an Mp4 (video) and renamed it with a Mp3 extension, opened it in VLC and this is the result.

Example showing an mp3-file opened with VLC. The file itself contains an Mp4 video stream

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