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MPEG layer III (MP3) audio coding algorithm was a widely used audio coding standard. It involves several complex coding techniques and is therefore difficult to create an efficient architecture design. The variable length decoding was an important part, which needs great amount of search and memory read/write operations. In this paper a data driven variable length decoding algorithm is presented, which can exploit the signal statistics of variable length codes to reduce power. The decoder was designed based on simplicity and low-cost, low power consumption while retaining the high efficiency requirements.