NPR: The History of MP3 #freeculture

As part of an NPR series on recording formats, a story on mp3 – including an excellent interview with “father of mp3” Karlheinz Brandenburg – yields the full tale of the rise of the format, how it escaped its parents, and became the lingua franca of Internet audio.

from the story:

“We tried to tell the people from music industry early on, and we tried to discuss possibilities how to react to this … The idea was that the music industry wouldn’t just be able to go on, they would have to adapt to the situation as well, and if we now look back these 15 years we have to say they finally did but it was too slow and some strategic errors in there.”

(Another group was convened in 1999 and 2000 to define methods for “secure, legal distribution of music over the Internet,” Brandenburg says.)

“My advice was that they should shoot for a technical standard to get interoperability for all these upcoming services and MP3 players, music players and so on.

“And … that hasn’t changed, very clearly if we don’t reach interoperability for a secured format, then the only surviving format will be format without copy protection and that is what happened in the end.”