Fraunhofer IIS: Happy Birthday MP3!
On July 14th, the name “MP3″ celebrates its tenth anniversary. On this day back in 1995, the researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS decided to use “.mp3″ as the file name extension for their new audio coding technology. Soon MP3 became the generally accepted acronym for the ISO standard IS 11172-3 “MPEG Audio Layer 3″.
.mp3 emerged as the unanimous winner of an internal poll at Fraunhofer IIS. In an email dated July 14th 1995, the new file extension was proclaimed:
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 12:29:49 +0200
Subject: Layer3 file extension: .mp3
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 :-)
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 1987, the Fraunhofer IIS started to work on perceptual audio coding in the framework of the EUREKA project EU147, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB). In a joint cooperation with the University of Erlangen (Prof. Dieter Seitzer), the Fraunhofer IIS finally devised a very powerful algorithm that is standardized as ISO-MPEG Audio Layer-3 (IS 11172-3 and IS 13818-3).
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.