Online from: 2009
Subject Area: Marketing
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|Title:||The emergence of MP3 technology|
|Author(s):||Janice Denegri-Knott, (Bournemouth Media School, Poole, UK), Mark Tadajewski, (School of Management, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK)|
|Citation:||Janice Denegri-Knott, Mark Tadajewski, (2010) "The emergence of MP3 technology", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 2 Iss: 4, pp.397 - 425|
|Keywords:||History, Internet, Music, New products, Product development|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/17557501011092466 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to produce a critical history of MP3 technology in an effort to show how its stature as the digital music format of choice had nothing to do with music or associated industries and that its configuration as a product to be bought and sold was unintended.
Design/methodology/approach – The approach is reminiscent of Michel Foucault's critical histories, which sought to problematise our current understanding of existing cultural arrangements by unearthing the conditions that made the production of knowledge and their accompanying artefacts possible.
Findings – The paper documents how MP3s emerged by outlining the conditions that made its production viable, showing how before MP3s were profiled as commodities to be bought and sold online, the composite of technologies making up the standard MPEG1-Layer III were objects of knowledge within the fields of electrical engineering and psychoacoustics, and later a process of compression used mainly by audio broadcasting professionals. The paper concludes by examining MPEG1-Layer III's reconstitution as MP3: its formal configuration and valuation, first as a license for the broadcasting industry to compress sound and then as a “free-ware” application distributed online.
Originality/value – The paper problematises the taken for granted status of commodities, in this case, MP3s, as digital music to be bought and sold, by revealing how they emerged. At a more parochial level, it produces a competing history of MP3 technology which until now has not been told.
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