Creators Officially Declare MP3 Format Dead

By Michael Augustin , Updated May 16, 2017 08:21 AM EDT
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Since the 90's music lovers have relied on the tried and tested music format known as MP3.
(Photo: 512 Pixels/YouTube ScreenShot)

Since the 90's music lovers have relied on the tried and tested music format known as MP3. However, just recently the popular music format has been officially retired by its creators. According to sources, The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, the German research group that created the music format, officially announced that the licensing for some MP3-related patents has been terminated. For some users, it apparently means that the format is now set free.

It seems that the group that created the MP3 format has finally conceded to a better music format. According to a representative from the Fraunhofer Institute, AAC has surpassed the format and has turned into a more popular file type for media consumption on portable devices. They describe it as the "de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones." Engadget claims that AAC allows users to enjoy higher-quality audio with lower bitrates compared to MP3.

Gizmodo notes that even though MP3 is still quite popular among consumers, most of the newer devices use other formats with better quality. These days, services like digital radio broadcasts, TV, and streaming services employ ISO-MPEG codecs in the AAC family formats. This allows the device manufacturers to produce low-bitrate but top quality sound. Experts point out that the decision to retire the format is somewhat symbolic just like when computer manufacturers adapted CD-ROMs instead of floppy drives.

The research in audio encoding started back in the 1980s at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. After working with researchers from Franhofer Institute, the team came up with the MP3 standard format for audio. The new codec allowed audio files to be compressed into sizes that are least 10 percent smaller than the original, which was considered a massive reduction during the time.

The MP3 format might be seen as finally dead but consumers but its contribution to digital audio will always be remembered. Its discovery allowed users to share and download music easily when broadband internet was still the standard at the time. However, the music format is not likely going to encounter a resurgence in the future.

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