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MP3 history

MPEG Layer-3, otherwise known as MP3, has generated a phenomenal interest among internet users, or at least among those who want to download highly-compressed digital audio files at near-CD quality.

MP3 was introduced as a part of the official MPEG-1 standard in 1992 and until today it is the most successful audio-standard since WAV. The German Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (FhG), which has developed this audio-compression still holds the key patents the MP3-techology inherits. The development started back in 1987 at the Fraunhofer Institute Integrierte Schaltungen as project EUREKA EU147. The final compression algorithm became later known as MP3. In April 1989 Fraunhofer applied patent on MP3 in Germany and it became part of the MPEG-1 standard in 1992. It was in January 1995 when Fraunhofer applied patent on MP3 in America as well and it was granted in November 1996. Using MP3-compression PC-users were able to compress an ordinary music-CD to one tenth of its original size - thus 12 hours of music could be stored on a recordable CD that on the other hand could be played by a MP3-CD-player or an ordinary PC. What made MP3 that popular in the end was the online peer-to-peer program named Napster. Millions of songs were exchanged every day via the popular program. That was solely possible by MP3, because conventional formats such as WAV was way too big in size with similar quality.

In 1998,the MPMAN (by Saehan Information Systems, South Korea) was the first portable MP3 player, pioneering the road for numerous other manufactures of consumer electronics.

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