What is an MP3? MP3 is an acronym and more commonly used term for MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. Invented in 1991 in Germany by a staff of engineers, the MP3 is a digital audio encoding and compression format that uses a very small file to preserve the original level of sound quality when played.
Developed for the purpose of reducing data amounts with regard to audio, MP3s are reproduced very closely to the original audio sound. MP3s are often used in software, and other hardware including CD and DVD players as well.
During the latter part of the 1990s, MP3 files began to gain in popularity across the Internet. It was at that time that file sharing became a major event as online programming allowed web surfers to create, play and share MP3s.
Although variable, the major difference between MP3 files and FM radio is the compression ratio. For example, an average MP3 bit rate is close to compact disc quality (44.1 kHz), whereby FM radio is limited to a rate of about 22 kHz.
MP3 music can often be obtained from the Internet or from a CD library. Additional items such as MP3 software, music, and other accessories may also be purchased online or at major electronics’ retailers. Digital audio players, such as the iPod, use MP3 music and are usually small in size, portable and lightweight.
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