A Brief History of MP3 Files

In 1993, the MPEG-1 audio standard was released to the world. At the time no one knew its potential for the future, but the main point was to create a type of compression that did not affect audio quality as other forms did at the time. This is commonly told to be for sending movie sound tracks over long distances using the Internet when computers had very slow modems. The reason MP3 files became so popular for music later on is the incredibly high reduction in size of the file while retaining a sound many can enjoy like the original. MP3 compression works by reducing the accuracy of certain “unperceivable” parts of the music to most people. Although lower quality (128 kbps and down) provides a sound that most can tell is compressed, 160 kbps and above are virtually identical on most sound systems to their CD equivalent. Sound files commonly see a healthy reduction from around 40 megabytes uncompressed to about 5 compressed. It was not until the late 90s that MP3s took their current form. Instead of movie soundtracks, the compression began being used on music for local backup and storage on personal computers. Once hard drives got large enough and peer to peer networks like Napster became popular, MP3 became the set in stone standard for pirating music. Rather than the traditional method of going to...

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