MP3 is the commonly used name for MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3 and is a standard technology and format for compressing a sound sequence into a very small file ,normally about one-twelfth the size of the original file, while preserving the original level of sound quality when it is played. Using their knowledge of how people actually perceive sound, the developers of MP3 devised a compression algorithm that reduces data about sound that most listeners can not perceive. MP3 is currently the most powerful algorithm in a series of audio encoding standards developed under the sponsorship of the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and formalized by the International Organization for Standardization. The key to the success of MP3 files can be summed up in a word: compression.

Controversy

MP3’s have made some profound enemies among record industries and some artists, who claim that most of the files infringe on copyrights and are akin to piracy and theft of creative material.  Recording artists, the general public, and lawmakers are pretty well split over the issue of the legality of MP3’s and their usage. It does not matters that what is the outcome but one is for sure that MP3’s have and is continuing to revolutionize music. Like Chris Robinson, Black Crowes said that “Napster is robbing me blind”

MP3 Format

Before saying anything about MP3 format we must know the other forms of music. If you have heard about CD then you must know that a CD stores a song as digital information. The data on a CD uses an uncompressed, high-resolution format. Music is sampled 44,100 times per second. The samples are 2 bytes each 16 bit long. Separate samples are taken for the left and right speakers in a stereo system. So, a CD stores a huge number of bits for each second of music.

The MP3 format is a compression system for music. The MP3 format helps reduce the number of bytes in a song without hurting the quality of the song’s sound. The goal of the MP3 format is to compress a CD-quality song by a factor of 10 to 14 without affecting the CD-quality sound. With MP3, a 32-megabyte song on a CD compresses down to about 3 MB. MP3 encoding software allows the user to select the bit rate when converting files into the MP3 format. Using a bit rate of 128 Kbps usually results in a sound quality equivalent to what you’d hear on the radio. While using a bit rate of 160 Kbps or higher gives  the same sound quality as a CD.

Advantages of MP3

There are several advantages of MP3 file format that make it prior on other formats.

  • MP3 file provide more space than other formats as it is compressed.
  • You can download a MP3 song in minutes rather than hours, and store hundreds of songs on your computer’s hard disk without taking up that much space.
  • Because of their compressed size files can be easily transferable through internet or Bluetooth to some other user.
  • Mp3 files can be downloaded and listened from your computer easily.
  • MP3 files can be transferable to MP3 player or other portable players or can be made into an audio CD.