Audio Format

History of the World’s Most Loved Audio Format, MP3

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

If you have listened to music on your computer or other gadgets, you must be familiar with MP3 formats. Most people don’t know much about MP3 other than that they are used for storing music. MP3, also known as MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3, was designed by a group of German engineers with the sole purpose of reducing audio file sizes without compromising the quality of the files. When you compress any digital file, its quality tends to reduce, which is not an ideal or pleasant case for music files. MP3 audio files achieve this size reduction without reducing the quality by eliminating the elements that are not audible to the human ears and retaining the ones that are. One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of MP3 formats is that they are flexible and can be compressed to different data sizes and quality. Nowadays, with the increased popularity of audio streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, MP3 is rarely used by the public, but the format is still useful. One of the popular audio formats of our times is Advanced Audio Coding or AAC, which is mainly used for streaming music as it can provide better quality music even with low bitrates. Here is a brief history of the world’s most popular audio format, MP3:

German Company Fraunhofer-Gesellschafts began researching high-quality audio encoding and compression in 1987. The project was named EUREKA project EU147 Digital Audio Broadcasting, which led to the development of MP3 one year later in 1988. The research was led by Karlheinz Brendenburg, a specialist in electronics and mathematics, best known as the “Father of MP3”. In 1989, the German Company Fraunhofer received a patent for the audio format from Germany. In the subsequent years, the company went on to publish MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 standard formats. In 1996, the company successfully acquired the U.S patent for the MP3 audio format. In the later years, the German company enforced its patent rights, requiring anyone who used the popular music format to pay a licensing fee to the company.


The trials to create MP3 players go back to the early 1900s, about the same time when MP3 music formats were developed. However, the German company Fraunhofer-Gesellschafts did not successfully create or market them. In 1997, Tomislav Uzelac, founder of Advanced Media Products (AMP), developed the first successful MP3 player. The MP3 player caused ripples in the market, immediately becoming a hot commodity. Just after two years, two college students ported the AMP MP3 player to Windows and created Winamp, a free MP3 music player. By the 2000s, the music format was widely popular and frequently used with the rise of portable MP3 players and devices. Some of the most famous MP3 players of the 2000s are iPod Classic, Microsoft Zune, iPod Shuffle, iPod Mini etc.

Write A Comment