Top Inventions: MP3 Player

Remember Discmans? Better yet, remember Walkmans? Well, if you’re of my generation then the Walkman or the Discman were the epitome of a great birthday or holiday gift. Not only did someone purchase it for you, it was a gift for the ages (or so we thought) that would allow us to play music on the go, all of the time. We were set right? We could bob our heads while waiting for the bus, tap our feet what we sit in the waiting room, or listen to some classics while we work out.

Then, in 1997, everything changed. The very first Digital Audio Player, now referred simply as an MP3 Player, called the Listen Up Personal Audio System was released to the public by a company called Audio Highway. The Listen Up wasn’t even a fraction of what is available today, but the concept originated with the engineers at Audio Highway remains the same. Users should be able to take an MPEG-1 Audio Layer3 file, commonly referred to as an MP3 and listen to it while on the go.

The development of the modern MP3 Player has revolutionized the personal music industry as CD album sales has significantly dropped as the popularity of MP3 Players has skyrocketed. Companies like Apple then went on to create iTunes, an extremely user friendly application that can be used to organize, adjust levels and import MP3 files onto a personal device (iTunes also acts like a store as users can easily purchase songs, albums and podcasts straight from the application).

But the evolution of the MP3 Player hasn’t come without it’s share of criticisms. As MP3’s and personal MP3 Players become more common, so does the illegal sharing of files. Gone are the days of people just borrowing CDs from friends and making mix tapes. This entire concept has been replaced by the illegal downloading and consumption of media started for most by none other than Naptster.

With iPods, iPhones, iPads, Smart Phones, Blackberrys, and a slew of other multi-functional hand held devices plowing their way into our lives, the MP3 Player has become less of an actual device, and more of a function. Nowadays you can listen to music, take a photo, share it on email and broadcast it over Twitter.