MP3 (formally MPEG-1 Audio Layer III or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III) is a coding format for digital audio. Originally defined as the third audio format of the MPEG-1 standard, it was retained and further extended – defining additional bit-rates and support for more audio channels – as the third audio format of the subsequent MPEG-2 standard. A third version, known as MPEG 2.5 – extended to better support lower bit rates – is commonly implemented, but is not a recognized standard.
A music download is the digital transfer of music via the Internet into a device capable of decoding and playing it, such as a home computer, MP3 player or smartphone. This term encompasses both legal downloads and downloads of copyrighted material without permission or legal payment. According to a Nielsen report, downloadable music accounted for 55.9% of all music sales in the US in 2012. By the beginning of 2011, Apple’s iTunes Store alone made US$1.1 billion of revenue in the first quarter of its fiscal year.
Popular online music stores that sell downloadable singles and albums include the iTunes Store, Amazon MP3, fairsharemusic, eMusic, Google Play, CD Universe, Nokia Music Store, TuneTribe, Xbox Music and MyMusic.com.ng. Paid downloads are sometimes encoded with Digital Rights Management that restricts copying the music or playing purchased songs on certain digital audio players. They are almost always compressed using a lossy codec (usually MP3, Windows Media, or AAC), which reduces file size and bandwidth requirements. These music resources have been created as a response to expanding technology and needs of customers that wanted easy, quick access to music. Their business models respond to the “download revolution” by making legal services attractive for users.
Coming soon – a list of resources for MP3 Download