MPEG Audio Layer III, most commonly called MP3, is a digital audio storage format currently the de facto standard for both portable consumer audio devices and internet streaming audio.
Although the advent of music sharing service Napster catapulted the MP3 to widespread fame in the late 1990s, the format was actually invented by a German electrical engineering PhD student in 1987. The format was released to for public use in 1993.
Although MP3 is currently the most frequently used digital music format on the planet, many music fans are critical of the format as it compresses the audio and reduces the total quality of the record that has been encoded into MP3. Despite the criticism, the radical reduction in file size compared to completely uncompressed formats (such as .WAV files) has made MP3 irresistible to consumers.
- By Jason Fitzpatrick on 01/3/13