MP3 is a method for encoding audio data. More properly referred to as MPEG-1/2 Audio Layer 3, the algorithm was first developed by the Fraunhofer Society in 1987. Sound files encoded in MP3 have a quality and clarity comparable to that of compact disk (CD) recordings, but file sizes are quite a bit smaller. A typical MP3 song file is less than ten megabytes long. For that reason, MP3 has become the preferred file format for songs traded in peer-to-peer file sharing systems.
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