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Chapter 1. The Nuts and Bolts of MP3

Chapter 1. The Nuts and Bolts of MP3

In April of 1999, the term "MP3" surpassed "sex" as the most-searched-on term at some of the Internet's top search engines—a phenomenal achievement for a complicated digital music encoding algorithm devised over the course of a decade by a few scientists and audiophiles in an obscure German laboratory.

What is it about MP3 that inspires such unprecedented levels of enthusiasm? For some, it's the prospect of being able to store vast quantities of music on a computer's hard drive, and to shuffle and rearrange tracks from that collection around at a moment's notice. For others, it's the promise of an entirely new model for the music universe—one that allows creative artists to publish their own work without the assistance of the established industry. But for millions of users, the thrill of MP3 is more simple than that: it's the possibility of getting their hands on piles of high-quality music, free of charge.


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