Mp3 file format opened a whole new era of digital music in 1990s which still lasts and I am pretty sure still will be lasting next ten or twenty years until the day when some kind of completely innovative format will replace mp3. But for now and for close future no guess it still will work just fine.
MP3 file format nowadays brings up an association with MP3 music download because the development of IT technologies, internet and computers made it possible for users to upload, share, exchange and download music form the internet. There were numerous judicial proceedings about broken copyrights and illegal download but the phenomenon of mp3 music download gave rise to numerous paid online sources of music. A great example of such growth may be iTunes store where people from all over the world are able to purchase this or that kind of content they’d like to and finally it turned into an innovative and independent branch of business and this business is pretty big. Even those people who supported illegal downloading could manage to withdraw some considerable sums of money out of there.
Mp3 became the most popular file format for online music exchange. Nothing else would ever be able to get any closer to amounts of mp3 music downloads. Thousands of sites all over the world, billions of dollars, new releases every single day and much more things are mixed in the online mp3 music world.  Mp3 format gave musicians a chance to present their audible ideas to the whole world by uploading songs to some online source. Tones of online radio station exist at the moment and some of them become more popular than offline ones along with the development of 3G networks and free high-speed internet. There is the only way to kill mp3 in the internet which is to rise the speed of internet connection and speed of exchange by two, three or even four times so that users will be able to stream FLAC or other high-quality formats or if some kind of innovative file format which will have higher bitrates along with good compression so it’d be easy to get an online access to it.
Anyway for now the future of mp3 music files and the format in general is rather clear and obvious. It is too popular to disappear that easy. The market is balanced, there is a constant demand and the market answers it with constant supply. I think that situation won’t change in any close period of time.

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Bit rate is the number of bits of information per second which can be transmitted over internet and local networks. When you see something like ‘320kbps’ – you look at bit rate. This particular value shows that there is 320 thousands bits per second can be transmitted via the internet. Obviously as higher the rate as higher quality you get and also as larger your file gets.
Are there different kinds of bit rate?
Yeap, there are some.  Actually there are three different kinds of bit rates and they are the following CBR (Constant Bit Rate), VBR (Variable Bit Rate), and ABR (Average Bit Rate). Let’s take a good look at them and try to understand what it has to do with mp3 music
CBR or Constant Bit Rate – this is a type of encoding in which the initial audio stream is divided into blocks or frames and then encoded with the same parameters (the same bit rate) applied equally to each sector, block and frame.
VBR or Variable Bit Rate – this is a type of encoding in which the initial stream is also divided into separate frames and gets encoded after that. But this type of encoding implies applying various parameters (bit rates) to each frame. The value is identified automatically by the software.
ABR or Average Bit Rate – this is a type of encoding which is rather similar to Constant Bit Rate encoding type however it has a significant difference. ABR doesn’t apply the same bit rate for all the frames but it tries to determine and apply the best, the most suitable value of bit rate for every single frame. It may sound like VBR but Variable Bit Rate tries to choose the lowest bitrate for separate parts in order to create a file which will have a good quality enough. The majority of frames in ABR method are close to the value which was input by a user and each frame may have bitrate which equals any value in the range 8-320 kbps.
These are the main kinds of bitrate. So the main point is that every kind of encoding has some advantages and disadvantages comparing to other and mostly it has to do with quality of mp3 music files in the end of process. A Higher bitrate value allows you to hear some additional instruments and sounds used during the record. However when in order to distinguish 500kbps from 1000kbps you need to have some professional Hi-Fi systems otherwise you won’t notice any differences and in this case the only parameter that will be important is free space.

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As the situation with file formats that try to become a significant alternative to mp3 seems to never come an end neither the situation with players that are used to play these files does. 1999 gave as Winamp and the majority of people still use it; however when Apple inc. showed up in the front line with its amazing MacOS, IPods and MacBook people started to use iTunes on regular basic because it was vital software for all IPods and Winamp could not support them well enough so rather significant amount of users from all over the world started and keep using iTunes on regular basis for playing mp3 music and uploading to their IPods.  The third popular mp3 player is WMP (Windows Media Player) due to its prebuilt packaging and very high rate of Windows OS users across the whole world. It is easy to understand why people keep using WMP while there are players that might be more convenient, good-looking and so on. Why would you care for anything else if you’ve already got something that works pretty fine?
Besides the mentioned three there are also such players as ACE, VLC, Foobar and many other which pretend to play music with better sound quality, they include lots of built-in online radio stations, codecs, encoders, skins, equalizers, emphasizers, plug-ins and many more little things that are useful or not really in order to keep your attention. Anyway if you ask me, I would say that there always will be a plenty of alternatives of all kinds and colorings with tones of built-in applications and plug-ins however first three players would exist until the very moment when some kind of completely innovative file format will appear and cross out everything that we used to use. But for now we’ve got three evident leaders and they are Winamp, iTunes, and Windows Media Player and they divide the majority of music lover all over the world.
It is hard to say which player is the best because there are so many characteristics that are important such as appearance, supported formats, audio libraries, user interface, playlists, navigation and so on. That is why there are so many alternatives that still exist and are in demand. It is all up to you. The good thing about it is that the majority of mp3 music players are free and you always can download some and change it.

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Ask any music lover about the file format which he or she prefers and you’d probably get a detailed information about which one is used and why. After the time when mp3 music format was created lots of alternative file formats for music encoding such as FLAC, ALAC, AAC, AA, OGG and many other.  Lots of such formats were created in order to show the world that mp3 is not the monopolist who has come to occupy everyone and they don’t really have any advantages over the main leader, however some of such formats really do have some. So, let’s see which format intended for and what are the advantages.
Mp3 (MPEG LAYER III) is still the most popular music file format all over the world. It uses the technology of audio information compressing which eliminates audio frequencies that are hardly perceived by human’s ear.
OGG file format was born in 1992 as an alternative to paid audio formats. Also OGG supports 255 separate audio channels (instead of usual stereo), that is why it mostly used for DVDs that are played in home theaters.
WAV (or Microsoft Wave) is a file format which is probably second the most popular and wide-spread audio format. The main disadvantage is that WAV files are not compressed.
WMA (Windows Media Audio) is rather perspective audio format but as for the moment people don’t really like it because there are errors of all kinds as people say.
FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is the most popular file format among true music lovers. This format doesn’t take any pieces out of audio stream so you can enjoy every single note, noise, instrument, accent and other details of music.
AAC (stands for Advanced Audio Coding) – music file format which is getting its popularity due to spreading IPod culture all across the world. It is lossless music coding with usage of ALAC profile based on MPEG-4 technology. To cut a long story short, AAC gives you better quality of music than mp3 does with the same or a little bit lower bit rate.
DTS (Digital Theater System) is a direct rival of Dolby Digital and it has some real chances to win the battle. DTS uses minimal rate of compressing what guarantees better quality of sound. It supports 6 separate soundtracks, 7.1 sound systems and so on.
These are the most common file formats but there are twice as many or even more file formats exist in the world today so you always have something to choose from.

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Nowadays technologies develop so fast that it is becoming next to impossible to catch the moment when this or that idea appeared for the first time. And it is hard to impress somebody with some kind of new file format because there are so many of them already and everybody knows that he or she just needs to google for drivers and everything will work fine. But have you ever thought of how the greatest mp3 music file format was created? Who did it? Do you actually know how old the format is?
So, the first stone, to say so, was laid down by Fraunhofer IIS together with Erlangen University which started to work together in order to create the brand-new algorithm first prototypes of which will be ready in 1988 and will be given the name ‘MPEG Audio Layer III’ or MP3 how we usually call it today. However the most famous abbreviature – MP3 appeared only in 1995 after seven years of hard work when it was for designation of file format – .mp3
Such phrase as MP3 Music for the first time was showed up in 1998 when a couple of students created the most popular mp3 player called WinAMP. Since the year of 1999 when Nullsoft the company which created the very first Winamp was acquired by AOL for some 100 million dollars and during the same year Napster has come which is one of the first programs for music files exchange. After 1999 there was no one who has not ever heard of mp3 music or mp3 file format.
More than ten years have passed since the time of wide distribution of mp3 and more than 20 years have passed since the time it appeared for the first time but it still lives and widely used by millions or even billions of people from all over the world. If mp3 wasn’t created we’d have no mp3 players, IPods, lots of industries connected with it, the whole world might look differently, who knows what could happen. So taking into account this particular point of view, mp3 music and mp3 file format in general maybe considered as a rather significant part, piece of the 21st century just like any other important scientific achievement. Nowadays we all walk around the streets with your headphones and IPods and it is rather hard to imagine how the world would look like if there were no such things. No music while you are running in the morning, no portable music players for some local parties, and no income from mp3 players’ sales which, I bet, provide a pretty good money flow to its manufacturers. Who knows…

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