MP3

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File Format
Name MP3
Ontology
Extension(s) .mp3
MIME Type(s) audio/mpeg
LoCFDD fdd000012, fdd000105
PRONOM fmt/134
Released 1993

MP3 is the name commonly given to the audio formats specified by MPEG-1 Layer III and MPEG-2 Layer III, standardized as ISO/IEC 11172-3:1993. It uses lossy compressed data. It is based in part on work by the Fraunhofer Institute, which held patents in the format. Other companies may also have held patents encumbering its implementation. One of the relevant patents was U.S. Patent 5,812,672, which expired in September 2015; many other related patents in various countries expired earlier. The final expiration of all relevant patents took until 2017, however, due to some "submarine patents" which were kept in the application process for years, extending their expiration dates.

A modified version of DCT compression (Discrete cosine transform) is used, a lossy compression method also used in JPEG images.

The MP3 format (and other related ones) is standardized in ISO/IEC 11172-3:1993, with some additions in ISO/IEC 13818-3:1995.

ID3 tags are often used to provide metadata in MP3 files, though they aren't part of the MP3 specification.

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