Around 30 years ago, an audio file format took the world by storm and significantly contributed to every sound-related industry. Despite the rise of multiple other audio file formats, it kept its position and is still widely used today. If you were one of the lucky people born before the ’90s, you know what we are talking about because you must have witnessed the rise of MP3 audio files. If so, I could take a further guess and say that you used to chill out as you listened to your favorite rock music on your portable MP3 player.
In today’s article, we’ll introduce you to MP3 file format a little bit more, and then we’ll spotlight a few reasons why MP3 is still popular these days and what makes it better than other file formats. We advise you to read through the end because we’ve kept a treat for you to enjoy.
What is the MP3 audio file format?
MP3 is a digital audio file format. Firstly, let’s break down the name. MP3 stands for “MPEG Audio Layer 3” MP comes from MPEG, a popular computer file format representing “Motion Picture Experts Group,” which developed compression systems for video files. The 3 is the audio layer 3, an audio compression format. The compression ratio is 12:1, which means the compressed file is 1/12 the size of the original one. MP3 was first introduced in 1987.
MP3 uses a compression algorithm to reduce the file size. Once a file is compressed, it can’t be reversed to its original format due to the compression algorithm MP3 follows, known as the “lossy” algorithm. Compressing an audio file to MP3 format will lose some of the source’s original data, yet the sound quality stays in good shape even after compression.
That being said, you might be wondering now about the reasons people are still interested in MP3 file formats despite the digital revolution and the idea of losing some of the original data. Bear with us as we’ll tell you about the top 4 reasons below:
Who said size doesn’t matter?
Full resolution audio files are large, and the biggest advantage of MP3 is the 12:1 compression ratio it offers, a 60MB audio file will be available in 5MB and of good quality. The smaller size is helpful for two reasons: storage and streaming.
The smaller your audio files are, the more storage space you can save, whether it’s on your local drive or your cloud drive. If you live in a country with good internet service, you won’t care about the streaming issue, but if your location can’t provide the best internet service, then streaming a 60MB audio file will be a huge problem.
Good quality considering the size
Despite losing a fraction of the original source’s data while compressing it, the MP3 file format is still considered a very good audio file with high quality. Furthermore, the talk about losing quality is a little exaggerated for commercial purposes. The majority of people will not be able to tell the difference between the original piece and the MP3 converted one. The MP3 clarity is 320 Kbps, and this is a very reasonable level. Some companies are very dependable on audio in their work, like music production, for example, and in that case, they might favor other formats or no compression at all to keep the very high level of clarity, but for most of us, MP3 would do the job and even more.
Guaranteed to work anywhere
MP3 files come with a guarantee that they will work on any audio-playing device. You can never hear someone complaining about not being able to play an MP3 audio file somewhere, whether you want to play on a mobile phone, a laptop, a tablet, a car stereo system, or any other device. MP3 audio files are highly compatible compared to some other formats that could sometimes cause trouble. How unlucky will you feel when you are on a long drive, and your music files can’t be played in your car’s stereo system? By the way, if you have previously encountered such an issue and have some video files you want to convert into MP3s, then complete reading because we’ll help you sort it out at the end.
Commercially free to use in your own way
MP3 is an accessible and free audio format, so it doesn’t require paying for patents in exchange for royalties or licenses. You can simply use it free of charge for your commercial interests, like publishing a podcast or distributing your own songs. New podcasters and music performers enjoy using MP3 for free to spread the word about their work, but many of them have no idea that using other file formats might force them to pay charges.
Trick or treat?
Now that you’ve reached the end of our article, we’d like to introduce you to another file format called MP4. In 2001 a new video file format emerged, the MP4, which can handle multiple media simultaneously, such as audio, video, and image. It became widely available due to its implementation in online streaming videos over the internet. However, if you have MP4 files and want to get their soundtracks in separate MP3 audio files, we’ve got your back.
There are many online converters available for this reason. Check it out yourself and build your own audiobook using Movavi, an online video converter we’d highly advise. Need an MP4 to MP3 converter, you can click here to easily convert your MP4 media to MP3.
Some people claim that MP3 died years ago, but that could not be anything close to reality. Despite the disadvantages and the rise of new technologies, MP3s continue to be one of the leader audio formats in today’s world. Maybe the future will have something different for us. However, for now, we can still enjoy our MP3 audio files and their multiple advantages either locally on our sound systems or online via different streaming websites and audio platforms.