MP3 is a popular digital music compression format that allows consumers to store many songs in a very small device called an MP3 player (or digital audio player). This compressed music can be purchased over the Internet or created from a consumer's personal CD collection using widely available computer software. In general, consumers must use computer software to convert CDs into MP3 format and then move the converted files to MP3 players for listening.
Consumers can also purchase music over the Internet. This requires a computer, an Internet connection, and an account with an Internet music provider. Once the desired music is purchased, it will be transmitted over the Internet connection and stored on the computer's hard drive. Every song you purchase comes with a unique ID/key. Without this ID, the song cannot be played.
This ID/key is transmitted to your computer over the Internet when you first play the song on the computer. This ID/key is automatically stored on your hard drive.
The MP3 file can also store the song title, artist, type of music, and other information. This information can be displayed on the screen of the MP3 player. MP3 players on the market have memory capacities ranging from 128 megabyte to 80 gigabytes. In computer science, a byte is a unit of measurement of information storage, most often consisting of eight bits.
1 megabyte = 1024 kilobytes, where 1 kilobyte = 1024 bytes, and 1 gigabyte = 1024 megabytes.
Typically, a four-minute song takes up 4 megabytes of memory space on an MP3 player, based on a common compression ratio of 128 kbps (kilobits per second). 1 byte = 8 bits.
About MP3 and music formats:
What is MP3?
MPEG-1* Audio Layer 3, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a popular digital audio encoding format. It uses a compression method that is designed to greatly reduce the amount of data required to represent the audio recording, yet still sound like a faithful reproduction of the original uncompressed audio to most listeners.
Music is ripped from a CD to WAV files, and then a process converts these files into MP3 files, which are 1/10 the size of WAV files.
*MPEG-1 defines a group of audio and video (AV) coding and compression standards agreed to by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group).
**WAV is a standard file format for digital audio
MP3 vs. WMA vs. WAV
When music tracks are ripped* from CD they are converted to WAV file first; usually for a 3 minute song it is about 30 Mega-byte. The MP3 codec (coding/compression – decoding/decompression engine) converts the WAV file into MP3 format, and it offers near CD quality sound at one-tenth of the file size. It is not common for listeners to be able to distinguish the difference in sound quality. MP3 or WAV files can be converted into WMA (Windows Media Audio) files, which are almost half the size of MP3 files but have lower audio quality.
*Ripping (also referred to as digital audio extraction) is the process of copying the audio data from one media form, such as CD, to a computer hard disk drive. To conserve storage space, the copied data is usually encoded in a compressed format, such as MP3 or WMA for audio.
What is the different between ripping music from your own CD vs. music purchased from the Internet?
There are several obvious advantages in ripping your own CDs.
Music purchased from the Internet.
What is an ID3 tag?
ID3 tags store information about MP3/WMA files. Common information used in ID3 tags include artist, album, genre, year, track number, and track title.
ID3v2 tags have additional fields to accommodate website information, lyrics, equalizer presets, pictures/album artwork, and other data. For both ID3 tag versions, all fields are stored within the music files.
These ID3 tags can be edited. ID3 tag information is not normally stored on CD content, so you might have to get this information from the Internet. This can be done using the Find Album Info function in Windows Media Player 10 (WMP 10) or manually by typing in this information from the album cover of the CD. Right-click to show the selection within WMP 10.
Where can I get music for my MP3 player?
Using your MP3 player
How do I get the music to my MP3 player?
How do I rip music from my CD?
You must have a program on your computer that can rip music from your CD, for example, Windows Media Player (WMP). It is likely that your computer has Windows Media Player 10 already installed, since it is part of the Windows operating system bundle. If not, you can go to the Microsoft Windows website to get a free download, then follow the on-screen instructions to install it on your computer.
How do I transfer the music that I just ripped to my MP3 player?
Transferring music files to an MP3 player
How to delete music transferred to my MP3 player?
How can I transfer a playlist from Windows Media Player to my MP3 player?
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