[news=http://www.sony.com.au/objects/images/MP3-Logo.gif]The MP3 format has become so entrenched in the fabrics of the Internet that it appears nothing in the foreseeable future will uproot it. There have been other audio formats abound, such as Ogg Vorbis which has developed a grass roots following, however the popularity and convenience of the MP3 format remains unchallenged.
Indeed, the MP3 format has grown outside the Internet as well. Today and increasing amount of home and car audio CD/DVD equipment comes MP3 compatible. Many would not even consider purchasing an aftermarket car stereo without MP3 compatibility. Because the MP3 format allows for high compression without a noticeable loss in quality, this allows one to burn approximately a half dozen or more albums onto one CD, or an incredible 36 albums onto one DVD.
While the MP3 format has managed to make CD changers obsolete, they have also changed the face of the Internet as well.
Not too long after MP3's introduction in 1995, the Internet community soon adopted the file format. CD audio files were encoded using this format and modern era of file-sharing began. At the time a majority of file-sharing took place on the Newsgroups and IRC (Internet Relay Chat.) However something bigger loomed on the horizon.
The creation of the MP3 format acted as a catalyst for the development of P2P networks. Although obtaining MP3 files was relatively easy for those familiar with these older Internet mediums, they were still elusive for less computer savvy individuals. Only four years after the introduction of the MP3 format, the way information traversed the Internet was revolutionized by then 19-year-old college drop-out Shawn Fanning. In 1999, Napster was born.
Napster greatly enhanced the ability for average computer users to participate in file-sharing. Instead of learning seemingly complex applications, a majority of the work was simplified to “point and click.” With applications such as Napster and Kazaa spoon-feeding MP3 files to the Internet masses, P2P networking would soon become an international phenomenon.
The MP3 format continues to have a technological domino effect. Its introduction spurred the development of P2P networks, which helped bring about the broadband revolution, which in turn has spurred the sale of MP3 players. Each of these developments are interrelated, and without the initial push of the MP3 format the Internet could still be without P2P networks, your car CD player not MP3 compatible and who knows – perhaps you’ll still be walking around with that old skool Sony Walkman.