Known formally as “MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3,” the technology in question was an efficient new format for the encoding of high-quality digital audio using a highly efficient data-compression algorithm.
On this day in 1995, a revolutionary new technology christened MP3 is born.
Known formally as "MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3," the technology in question was an efficient new format for the encoding of high-quality digital audio using a highly efficient data-compression algorithm.
In other words, it was a way to make CD-quality music files small enough to be stored in bulk on the average computer and transferred manageably across the Internet. Released to the pubic one week earlier, the brand-new MP3 format was given its name and its familiar ".mp3″ file extension on this day in 1995.
The importance of MP3, or any other scheme for compressing data, is made clear by some straightforward arithmetic. The music on a compact disc is encoded in such a way that a single second corresponds to approximately 176,000 bytes of data, and a single three-minute song to approximately 32 million bytes (32MB). In the mid-1990s, when it was not uncommon for a personal computer to have a total hard-drive capacity of only 500MB, it was therefore impossible to store even one album's worth of music on the average home computer. And given the actual connection speed of a then-standard 56K dial-up modem, even a single album's worth of music would have taken literally all day to transfer over the Internet. In this way, the nature of the CD format and the state of mid-90s computer and telecommunications technologies offered the music industry a practical barrier to copyright infringement via Internet file-sharing. But then came MP3.