The MP3 algorithm development started in 1987, with a joint cooperation of Fraunhofer IIS-A and the University of Erlangen. It is standardized as ISO-MPEG Audio Layer-3 (IS 11172-3 and IS 13818-3).
Its adavntages are the high compression rates (1/11 of the original size, still retaining considerable quality), the high availability of decoders and the low CPU requirements for playback (486 DX2-100 is enough for real-time decoding). No wonder that people appreciated it highly and the format is extremely popular today.
It supports multichannel files (Although there's no implementation yet), sampling rates from 16kHz to 24kHz (MPEG2 Layer 3) and 32kHz to 48kHz (MPEG1 Layer 3)
The quality of compression is so high that you won't distinguish the results of MP3 at the 160-224 kbps range from the original materials in most of the cases.
- Widespread acceptance, support in nearly all hardware audio players and devices
- An ISO standard, part of MPEG specs
- Fast decoding, lower complexity than AAC or Vorbis
- Anyone can create their own implementation (Specs and demo sources available)
- Relaxed licensing schedule
- Lower performance / efficiency than modern codecs
- Problem cases that trip out all transform codecs
- Sometimes, maximum bitrate (320kbps) isn't enough
- No multichannel implementations
- Unusable for high definition audio (sampling rates higher than 48kHz)
- MP3 to AAC, WMA, WAV, APE
- MP3 to iPod, iPhone, iPad
- MP3 to any cell phone
- Add music to Archos, PSD, xBox