Trivia

Hard

What Was The First Song Encoded Into MP3 Format?

Ninth Symphony - Beethoven
Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles
Tom's Diner - Suzanne Vega
Digital - Joy Division

Answer: Tom’s Diner – Suzanne Vega

In the early 1980s, German electrical engineering doctoral candidate Karlheinz Brandenburg was working on his dissertation. The focus of his research was digital audio encoding and perceptual measurement techniques—research that would go on to become the basis for the digital music revolution and the ubiquitous MP3 format.

To test the quality of the compression algorithms he was crafting, he focused on human vocals. Instrumental music compresses fairly well, but the human ear is highly tuned to detect irregularities in the human voice. Brandenburg was confident that any compression algorithm that could successfully compress the human voice without problems would handle everything else thrown at it just fine.

In order to test his algorithms, he selected the 1987 a cappella version of the hit Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega as, in his words, “I knew it would be nearly impossible to compress this warm a cappella voice.” He used her voice as a benchmark and refined the algorithms so that not only could they compress instrumental work, but preserve the warmth of human vocals too.

As a result of Brandenburg’s extensive use of Tom’s Diner to test audio compression techniques, modern audio engineers informally refer to the song as “The Mother of the MP3”. Bonus trivia: Vega called it Tom’s Diner, but she was inspired by the famous New York City restaurant Tom’s Restaurant, seen here, which was near where she grew up in NYC.

Trivia

Very Hard

Which Soda Company Briefly Owned A Sizable Naval Fleet?

Trivia

Hard

In 1949 Popular Mechanics Predicted The Computers Of Today Would Weigh What?

Trivia

Very Hard

Kryptonite Was Introduced To The Superman Universe In Order To?

Trivia

Hard

What Kind Of Creature Was Named After Sci-Fi Writer Michael Crichton?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Compound Classes Is So Foul That Smelling It Hinders Research Into Them?

Trivia

Easy

The Absence Of Wind In The Biosphere 2 Research Lab Proved Severely Detrimental To?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest Canyon In Our Solar System Is On?

Trivia

Easy

Food Allergies Are An Inflammatory Reaction To What Compound In The Food?

Trivia

Hard

Which Movie Franchise Has The Longest Gap Between The First Release And Sequel?

Trivia

Very Hard

An Entanglement Of Rats Is Called A?