MP3 Turns 10 Years Old

Written by Geoff Richards

July 14, 2005 | 05:14

Tags: #anniversary #compress #download #mp3 #text-to-speech #years

On this day in 1995, the researchers at Germany's now famous Fraunhofer Institute voted unanimously to use .MP3 as the file extension for the new MPEG Audio Layer 3 format. The news was announced to the team in the following email:

Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 12:29:49 +0200
Subject: Layer3 file extension: .mp3
Hi all,
this is the overwhelming result of our poll:
everyone voted for .mp3 as extension for ISO MPEG Audio Layer 3!
As a consequence, everyone please mind that for WWW pages, shareware,
demos, and so on, the .bit extension is not to be used anymore.
There is a reason for that, believe me :-)
Jürgen Zeller


Up to 40 engineers works for years on the R&D for the now ubiquitous audio format, previously only know as ISO standard IS 11172-3 "MPEG Audio Layer 3", ratified in 1992. In fact, back in the Dark Ages of Windows 3.1, the technology was considered far too complex for practical application. Lucky for us, the geeks kept at it and MP3 blossomed into the undisputed king of compressed audio, much to the chagrin Microsoft and their Windows Media format.

10 years on and MP3 has transcended its PC origins. You can now fit dozens of albums on a memory chip the size of a fingernail, freeing your music from the shackles of the home Hi-Fi to join you in the gym, in your car, on your train journey to work and even in your mobile phone.

MP3 allows you to download sample music from various bands before forking out for the CD. It can compress your voice so you can record a quick note to remember to buy eggs at the supermarket later on. It can even be used to listen to your email on your iPod through powerful text to speech software.

Where would we be without MP3? And what lies ahead for compressed audio? Discuss the future with other audiophiles in our Forums.
Discuss this in the forums
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