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‘Before the MP3 the music industry thought it sold music…’


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“The MP3 file has become the URL,” said Spotify boss Daniel Ek 10 years ago, in 2010. Yet the MP3 lives on: it’s actually celebrating its silver (25th) anniversary today, with the file extension name .mp3 having been minted on 14 July 1995 by the Fraunhofer Society.

Within five years, the MP3 would be turning the record business on its head through its use by filesharing platforms like Napster, and (eventually) by legal music download stores.

This morning, British songwriters body The Ivors Academy and the Musicians’ Union are using the anniversary to remind the industry of their ‘Keep Music Alive‘ campaign to reform the streaming ecosystem for artists.

“Before the MP3 the music industry thought it sold music. It didn’t, it sold plastic with music in it and MP3s changed all that. The music industry has evolved, but it still needs to re-think how music rewards its creators now it’s plastic free,” said Ivors Academy chair Crispin Hunt.

Tom Gray, founder of the #BrokenRecord campaign, chipped in: “Thanks to the MP3 player, music is the most mature digital market and should serve as warning to all other industries, regulators and governments. We are nearly completely captured by big tech and a few global corporations, setting tens of thousands of creators in a non-negotiable and detrimental bind.”

Eamonn Forde

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