For Our Consideration: How the MP3 helped build a pop utopia

Twenty years ago the German research group Fraunhofer IIS conducted an internal poll to settle on the three-character suffix that would become the standard file name extension for digital audio coding format that engineers there had developed. A few months later Fraunhofer released WinPlay3, the first software available to consumers that could play back, in real time, this new type of file based on the MPEG Audio Layer III codec, which the engineers there had unanimously decided would have...

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