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  • 작성자 사진Kim Jae-hyun

[Music] MP3 Player, Disappearing into People’s Memories

No. 156 / Jun 13, 2022

On May 10, Apple announced that it would discontinue the iPod Touch, the last model of the iPod series. As a result, the iPod disappeared into history. MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3 (MP3) players are being replaced by other electronic devices, and now they are not in use, save for the sake of memories and collection. However, when it was first released, the MP3 player was as revolutionary as the smartphone and marked a milestone in history. How did the product that facilitated listening to music on the go come about?

In the 1980s, the invention of cassette players marked the beginning of portable music players. Of course, there have been phonographs, cassette radios, and Long-Playing record (LP) players before, but cassette players were the beginning of products that people could carry comfortably. The concept of music appreciation has changed as various cassette players such as Sony’s Walkman and Samsung’s MyMy were distributed in the market. Over time, in the 1990s, the world’s first MP3 player that succeeded commercially, was lighter than a cassette player, and by storing files on an MP3 player, people were able to enjoy more music freely. Apple’s iPod, Samsung’s Yepp, and iriver’s Mplayer(Mickey Mouse-like) MP3 players were essentials for many young people with more diverse designs and improved sound quality. However, in 2006, with the advent of smartphones, MP3 players gradually disappeared as technological advancement facilitated streaming through the Internet, many songs could be selected and enjoyed free of restrictions. Electronic devices like MP3 players that could only play stored songs were no longer considered by people due to the power of smartphones.

The MP3 player stores songs in a file format that can be carried around. These files could be downloaded from various music sites, including Soribada, Music On, Melon, and Dosirak. However, in the 2000s, the concept of copyright was not so strong that people used illegal channels to create and download MP3 files. Additionally, in the second half of the MP3 player, not only music files but also text novels were downloaded and read at the time. After the MP3 player, MPEG-4 Part.14 (MP4), which also supports video, was released so people could download the video and listen to the song.

Although people do not currently use MP3 players, they are still valuable for those who collect discontinued MP3 players. As mentioned above, Apple announced that it would no longer manufacture iPods. As a result, the scarcity of iPod products has increased, consequently increasing its resale. On eBay, an unopened iPod first-generation product cost for about 38 million won. The MP3 player will fade into history, but will remain in our minds.

By Kim Jae-hyun, AG Reporter

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