The MP3 (1995)
The revolutionary audio file's journey actually commenced in 1982, when German audio engineer Karlheinz Bradenburg helped a professor search for ways to apply digital-phone technology to music transmission. Over the next 13 years, as computers became more sophisticated, so did Bradenburg's advances in compression (his biggest snag, amazingly, came when trying to capture, sans distortion, Suzanne Vega's vocal on "Tom's Diner"). In collaboration with the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), standards were set, and thanks to the Internet, a proper host had emerged. The extension .MP3 was selected and cemented in July 1995, and the rest −including its unforeseen snowball effect on the music industry − is history still being encoded.