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- by Adrian Cavlan

If a person wants to listen to a specific song these days, he or she is most likely doing so via YouTube, Spotify, Pandora or perhaps an almost infinite selection of radio stations from around the world broadcasting over the internet.

But it wasn’t always this way, was it?

Funny enough, Sound In Motion is a tiny little part of the thread that wove the current tapestry of internet-driven music providers described above.

The year was 1993 and a group of 4 kids at UC Santa Cruz decided they wanted to enable people from all over the world to enjoy the music of underground/indie/unsigned bands. Of course, this was difficult in the days of 14.4kbps dial-up modems. Compound that with the fact that an uncompressed .wav or .aif file of a single song could be 35-40MB and you end up with a file transfer experience that is too cumbersome to be used regularly.

The boys at IUMA had an epiphany: they thought that they might be able to use some technology from the video world to create compressed (smaller) versions of their .wav or .aif music files that could be much more easily shared via the internet. That technology was called mpeg, or .mpg, which you now know in its third and most famous iteration as .mp3!

Needless to say, it caught on. The biggest record labels and news outlets in the world suddenly descended upon our sleepy little beach town, and very quickly, they all realized that the cat had been let out of the bag.

Within a couple of years, Apple exploded the music world with the introduction of iTunes and the iPod player, and not long after that, Napster shook up the world with its revolutionary file sharing service.

So – how does this circle back to SIM? Well, when IUMA first began, they invited a band I was in at the time to share a song with their growing platform, and so we did, being one of the first wave of bands to share their music in this way. And then, only 2 years later, IUMA moved out of its comfortable little office that launched a revolution at 903 Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz, and another small company (perhaps a little less revolutionary one at that…) moved into that very same office and launched what became Sound In Motion today!