mp3 First released in 1995 and developed by the Fraunhofer Society, the mp3 audio format is arguably one of the most recognizable audio file format that ever existed. This digital audio encoding format hails from the lossy data compression algorithm family. The format enjoys widespread support and compatibility with most handheld music players, smartphones, computers, and in car stereos most of which have native support for the format. It is also a popular format used for distribution of audio files over computer networks such as the internet. Free mp3 encoders such as LAME and audacity give authors the tools necessary to create .mp3 files.