Throwback Thursday - The MP3 Player and its Cultural Impact

December 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday

By Aimee

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Two weeks ago, we talked about the MiniDisc and how it was killed by the introduction of... the MP3 player! This is also called Digital Audio Player and it's an electronic device that can play digital audio files. It is a type of portable media player. The term MP3 player is a minomer as most players play more than the MP3 file format.

A brief history

MP3 technology started in Germany in the year 1987. German Company named Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft started the research program for coding music with the high quality and low bit rate sampling at its institute. The project was controlled by an expert in mathematics and electronics, Karlheinz Brandenburg.

Then in 1997, Tomislav Uzelac who was an employee of Advanced Multimedia Products Company, made the first successful MP3 player after Frauenhofer’s MP3 became a disaster. Seven years later, he managed to produce and release his MP3 in the US markets. This was the earliest Portable player and was known as AMP MP3 Playback Engine.

Cultural impact

While they are still around now, usage has certainly decreased, with smartphones now having the ability to play almost all formats of digital audio and video files. As a matter of fact, when this started becoming a trend, a lot of vehicles have been equipped with MP3 players and not just your standard AM/FM radio. 

Because it came in small and portable devices, MP3 players became widely popular. Listeners can create their own soundtrack and listen to only the songs they like and be in their own musical world. They can also listen to music uninterrupted by advertisements and share their love for music to others faster, creating a sense of community.

However, this also came at a price. Since digital audio and video formats are easily shareable, various websites started popping up offering free, albeit illegal, downloading of songs and piracy has become rampant. Though a lot of people disregarded it as a crime. This also meant a lot of people listened to radio less and some record labels also lost their footing in the music business.

 

Source: Wikipedia


Do you have any fond memories of using your MP3 players? Do you still use them now? Share them below in the comments section! 

Tags: Throwback Thursday

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