ITGS Image, sound and presentations: What is MP3 (Further reading)

Posted: Wednesday, 30 January 2008 in 2.2.4 Images, sound and presentations
Tags: ,

What is MP3?

MP3 is a near-CD quality file format for sound files, and is very popular for music on the web.

It’s becoming more popular as people use it to swap music online because of its powerful compression.

For example, you can get hundreds of songs on a single CD using the MP3 format.


MP3 is a digital music format which allows CD tracks to be reduced to around a tenth of their normal size without a significant loss of quality.

This means that for the first time it’s become practical to make music available for download over the internet as download times have been drastically cut.

MP3 strips out a lot of the information recorded in a song that our ears aren’t able to hear and uses complicated maths to reduce the file size.

How to play MP3s

MP3s can be played on your computer using programs like RealOne, WinAmp or Windows Media Player.

Lots of people download MP3s and then burn them onto CDs. They also sometimes load their CD collection onto their PC and convert the songs into MP3s before putting them back onto CD.

That’s because new walkmans are also becoming available that can play MP3s as well as normal CDs.

Controversy over MP3s

The MP3 controversy comes from the fact that it is able to be downloaded over the net so easily.

This means that it could be great for the music industry, as MP3 files could be used to distribute music cheaply.

It also means that music piracy has become hugely popular – especially though file sharing programs.

A number of sites that have offered MP3 music files for free download over the internet have been sued for breaking copyright as a result.

As a result, some record companies are putting special software onto music CDs that you buy from stores to make it more difficult for people to copy them onto their PC.

  1. pkake2000 says:

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