- Paul A. Aitken
Digital filename extension for MPEG-1 Audio Layer III, digital audio compression standardized between 1991 and 1995 by the Motion Picture Experts Group. By 2010 MP3 was the de facto standard for audio compression, used by online music retailers, file sharers/peer-to-peer networks, and digital audio players. As a “lossy” format, MP3 quality differs depending on the compression “bitrate,” expressed in kilobits per second (kbps or kbit/s), which is generally taken as indicative of the extent of an MP3’s fidelity to the original non-compressed audio. Low bitrates (such as 32 kbps) are suitable for voice recording; and high bitrates (such 192–320 kbps) for near-CD quality. An MP3’s small file size makes for the efficient transportation of music over computer networks. Thus, since their widespread adoption in the late 1990s, MP3s have been at the center of controversy over the copying, storing, and distribution of copyrighted music on the Internet....