MP3 Players: How It All Began

by : Alexander Johannes

You have probably seen some old movies where some unruly teenager carried on his shoulders one the first "portable" audio players—a blaring cassette-tape-playing two-speaker monster (if you're old enough, you may even have done this yourself). What can the desire of people to take their music with them do!

But the first truly portable audio player was the cassette-tape based Sony Walkman. That was extremely revolutionary in its time. This small plastic box (well, today it doesn’t seem to be very small any longer) with earphones brought on the dawn of the portable audio player and sparked a legion of imitators. The subsequent introduction of audio CDs and CD-based walkmans marked the start of the digital music age.

A relatively recent revolution in this area was the introduction of Apple’s portable music player, the iPod. Although portable mp3 players existed before it (the first mass market mp3 player, the Rio PMP300, was introduced in 1998), the iPod’s unique design, its user-friendliness, and Apple’s very good reputation for its sense of aesthetics created immense interest in the product. Soon iPod was catapulted to its current ubiquity. More than 7 out of 10 mp3 player owners today have an iPod.

Portable mp3 players today are a must-have in the “everyone-else-has-them-so-I-should-have-one-too" sense. Although they are indeed undoubtedly very handy. Especially among the younger half of the population, jumping aboard the portable music bandwagon is a way of staying cool and keeping up with the times.

MP3 format has been chosen as the most widespread. Songs of that format can be supported not only by iPods but by the majority of devices. You can enjoy MP3 music while walking, driving, cooking, or listening to your dull lectures.

The primary source of music in mp3 players today is still audio CDs, as it is now very easy to create mp3s from them (using Total Audio Converter’s rip CD option). The widespread availability of internet access, with the ability to download plenty of music (legally and illegally) is also a crucial factor in the spread of portable music players. Though there is the reverse of the medal. The songs in the web are of dozens different audio formats. What to do with some FLAC or APE song?

The solution is quite simple. Get some audio encoding/decoding tool to convert your songs to your favorite mp3. For example, Total Audio Converter ( is a brainlessly simple tool that supports almost all audio formats. No matter what source format your track is, Total Audio Converter will easily convert it to the format you need. What is important TAC was developed to be handy and suites any digital music newbie.

Today, 1 in 5 Americans, and about 11 out of 20 American teenagers, own at least one portable audio. More than 1 out of 10 older adults (aged 35-54) own an mp3 player as well. (Interestingly, two-thirds of mp3 player owners are male – girls, where are you?) From these stats alone, it’s easy to see that portable music players are definitely here to stay. And that is GREAT