MP3 Turns 25: A look back at how it came to be

It started 25 years ago in July 1995, when the Fraunhofer team in Germany found a way to compress audio data into a smaller file that was easier to share online. It was MPEG Layer 3, better known as the MP3, that spurred a revolution in music and society in general. MP3 files began to spread on the Internet, often via underground pirated song networks. The first known experiment in Internet distribution was organized in the early 1990s by the Internet Underground Music Archive. The small size of MP3 files enabled widespread peer-to-peer file sharing of music ripped from CDs, which would have previously been nearly impossible. The first large peer-to-peer filesharing network, Napster, was launched in 1999. The popularity of MP3s began to rise even faster with the release of Nullsoft’s audio player Winamp, released in 1997. A few years later in 2001 the Amiga community joined the MP3 revolution with the release of AmigaAMP. And when Apple jumped on the idea with iTunes and iPod debuting in 2001, MP3 changed our lives forever and created a new generation of people. Even if the MP3 is no longer the principle format we use to listen to music, it’s not yet clear that the industry has achieved an equilibrium in the face of the precedent it unleashed in the 90s.

news source: Wikipedia / image source: Pexels

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