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Ten years old today - a revolution in a decade!


July 13, 2005

July 14, 2005 Today is the tenth birthday of the MP3 – the file format that has become part of the universal language was named on this day, July 14th, 1995 by researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. The audio team at Fraunhofer decided to use “.mp3” as the file name extension for their new audio coding technology (replacing “.bit”) following an internal poll and soon MP3 became the generally accepted acronym for the ISO standard IS 11172-3 “MPEG Audio Layer 3“.

In an email sent to the staffers at Fraunhofer dated July 14, 1995, the new file extension was proclaimed (obviously, this is translated from German):

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

:-) Jürgen Zeller

This naming can be seen as the conclusion of years of research and development in a team of up to 40 engineers. The format‘s international standardization in 1992 ensured worldwide compatibility – this fact and the public MP3 source code guarantee that billions of existing MP3 files can still be played by generations of audiophiles to come.

In 1992 MP3 was in fact so far ahead of its times, that the industry considered the technology far too complex for practical application. It turned out, however, that its development was the bottom line advancement in audio coding – no other coding method so far could uncrown MP3 as the standard for digital music on the computer and on the Internet.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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