MP3 celebrates its 10th anniversary and still going strong

Even though most people have only heard of MP3 in the past few years, in fact the MP3 now celebrates its 10th anniversary.  This time 10 years ago, Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS had agreed to use the .mp3 extension for their new audio coding technology as the result of an internal poll. 

Apparently before the agreement on the .mp3 extension, some applications and utilities used the .bit extension for MPEG Layer 3 audio.  The MP3 audio format itself has been standardised back in 1992 and back then the technology for MP3 was considered far too complex for any practical application due to how far the technology was ahead of its time! 

Until this day, MP3 still remains the standard for music both on the Internet as well as on the PC.  Since 2004, MP3 player sales have rocketed, starting from 3 million sold in Germany alone in 2004 and expecting to hit 80 million sales worldwide in 2006.

ERLANGEN, Germany, July 12, 2005 — On July 14th, the name “MP3” celebrates its tenth anniversary. On this day back in 1995, the researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS decided to use “.mp3” as the file name extension for their new audio coding technology. Soon MP3 became the generally accepted acronym for the ISO standard IS 11172-3 “MPEG Audio Layer 3”.

.mp3 emerged as the unanimous winner of an internal poll at Fraunhofer IIS. In an email dated July 14th 1995, the new file extension was proclaimed:

Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 12:29:49 +0200

Subject: Layer3 file extension: .mp3

Hi all,

this is the overwhelming result of our
poll: everyone voted for .mp3 as extension for ISO MPEG Audio Layer 3! As
a consequence, everyone please mind that for WWW pages, shareware, demos,
and so on, the .bit extension is not to be used anymore. There is a reason
for that, believe me

Juergen Zeller

(translated from German)

The full article can be read here.

No matter how many other codec’s have been invented claiming to be better than MP3 or the next MP3 killer, the MP3 format continues to live on being the most widely used audio codec when it comes to file sharing networks.  It is quite amazing to see how well MP3 compresses audio considering it was developed at a time when even the fastest PCs could not play MP3 in real-time.  Back in 1992, the average PC’s were 386’s and 286’s (two to three generations before the original Pentium) which ran at between 8MHz and 33MHz (at tops).  From what I recall, the minimum processing power required to play MP3 in real-time was a PC with at least a Pentium 75MHz CPU.  If you copy, please show appreciation by linking to CDFreaks.
When I started using the MP3 format, the following player was my first software player before I even heard of Winamp.  This player supports the MP3 format only (.mp3 and .mmp file extensions), supports a few down-mixing options for older CPUs (which could not handle MP3 in real-time), proxy support and MP3 streaming.  There is very basic playlist support and no seeking support.  The player even had a 20-second playback restriction as the shareware restriction.

Source: eCoustics – Press Releases