MP3 is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression.

MP3 is a common audio format for consumer audio storage, as well as a de-facto standard of digital audio compression for the transfer and playback of music on digital audio players. MP3 is an audio-specific format that was designed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) as part of its MPEG-1 standard and later extended in MPEG-2 standard.

Extracted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mp3

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