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History of MP3 by GenocideX


13 Apr 2012



This 5 part article was first published in 1998, and appears below incomplete; parts 3, 4 & 5 are missing. It originally appeared on dmusic.com though no longer exists on their servers. Written by GenocideX, a former DMA member

(Special Thanks: Blex [for the timeline idea], Stewart Addison [for her major clarification], Viper or Vyper.. For the first mp3 search)

(Thank You for this Article: Aqua_61 of #CDA for group info)

From humble beginnings with a program known as DA2WAV, the Mpeg-3 audio scene has grown to unlimited proportions and to the extent of the entire world through the use of the Internet.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Jim McLaughlin needed a program that could put the Digital Audio frames of an audio cd onto his hard drive. Through this necessity, he was able to come up with the now famous program CDDA (originally called DA2WAV, but not used for long as someone else had originally claimed that name, something that has yet to be proven today). With the creation of CDDA, Digital frames could finally be read off an audio cd. However, with this adventation, file sizes were still great. Yet, the program L3Encode by Fraunhofer Institut in Denmark was already fully capable of compressing large wave files into smaller, more manageable files without any recognizable loss in quality. In fact, Fraunhofer's L3Encode was already in full swing as an alternative to previous compression techniques over live feeds. For instance, according to Fraunhofer's page (http://www.iis.fhg.de/), the compression codec of mp3 (MPEG-3) was used at the Winter Olympics in Albertville for many television and radio broadcasts over live feeds. With the new technologies, the MP3 scene was born.

Following the creation of CDDA and L3encode, CD tracks could not only be ripped and compressed, but also transferred. To utilize these tools, the first MP3 audio groups were created. Here is where the MP3 scene theories will differ. As one of the first people in the groups: DMA and CDA, I know which was the absolutely first group. However, many opinions within the scene will differ. DMA, Digital Music Audio (now defunct), was the very first MPEG-3 Audio group. Existing from approximately January 1995-Summer 1995, DMA was the first group to actually rip tracks off an audio CD and make them available via an FTP site. How do I have such knowledge? I was one of the first people to do so with Toad The Wet Sprocket's "All I Want". Despite being the first MP3 group, DMA was very limited and never officially opened its' doors to an MP3 scene. This is where CDA comes into play.

Public announcement breeds growth. When CDA released the first publically, group-released mp3's, it bred many other groups. Netfrack, the original leader of CDA, ran the group well, and in time, such highly regarded groups to the liking of Rabid Neurosis (RNS) and Digital Audio Crew (DAC) began to see the light of day. With the many different groups that came out of the MP3 scene, there were many different specializations. Rabid Neurosis, for example, was known mainly for releasing the rare/uncommon, yet quality rips, whereas DAC and CDA would release more "mainstream" material.

In time, FTP sites would spring up, and FTP searches would as well. However, MP3's were about to find their first challengers with the first legal battles being fought ...

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