The humble mp3 file format has been around for nearly 25 years now. The compressed, lossy audio codec is responsible for a boom in music sharing – being one of the first widely adopted formats that allowed for small file sizes with an acceptable audio quality. It saw the rise and fall of services like Napster, Kazaa, Limewire and a million other illicit ways of downloading music.
It was also used incredibly well for legal music downloads, with Apple’s iTunes and its then ubiquitous iPod at the forefront of portable digital music.
Now, its time has come. The company that owns the format, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, has announced that it’s no longer supporting the format and will stop licensing it.
“The development of mp3 started in the late 80s at Fraunhofer IIS, based on previous development results at the University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular amongst consumers. However, most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H. Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3.”
Essentially, as technology has progressed, there are far more efficient ways of digitally storing audio, with other formats able to offer higher quality sound with smaller file sizes. The institute now says that the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format has become the “de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones.” (via Engadget)
Last Updated: May 15, 2017