Why 44100? Why not make it a round decimal value like 44000, or a round binary quantity like 44032? Why not 32KHz or 48KHz?
In general, the human ear can hear tones out to about 20KHz. According to a smart fellow named Nyquist, you have to sample at twice that rate. Because of imperfections in filtering, you actually want to be a little above 40KHz. According to John Waktinson’s _The Art of Digital Audio_, 2nd edition, page 104, the choice of frequency is an artifact of the equipment used during early digital audio research. Storing digital audio onto a hard drive was impractical, because the capacity needed for significant amounts of 1 Mbps audio was expensive. Instead, they used video recorders, storing samples as black and white levels. A common sampling rate of 44.1KHz was derived for both NTSC and PAL formats (the video standards used in US/Japan and Europe, respectively). This rate was carried over into the definition of the compact disc. The sampling rate for “professional” audio, 48KHz, was chosen because it’s an easy multiple of frequencies used for other common formats, e.g.