The developer of the format announced that they have officially terminated their licensing program.

End of an era MP3 format that made music sharing easy is officially dead
news Technology Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 15:32

MP3, the three little letter files, forever changed the way we listened to music. From lugging around cassettes to burning CDs, the jump to MP3 file formats will always remain, for the millennials, a token of the dizzying and exhilarating changes that technology brought to our lives.

And just like that, the MP3 format too has been declared obsolete by the creators, shutting the chapter of the iconic audio files that popularised the iPod. The developer of the format announced this week that they have officially terminated their licensing program.

The creator of the popular format, Fraunhofer IIS, confirmed stating:

"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.”

The MP3 format is said to have reduced file sizes by as much as 95 percent, allowing music listeners to fit dozens of albums on compact digital devices. It enabled easy downloading of audio files during the broadband days.

The format that was developed by a team of six researchers during the 1980s and 90s became the standard file type for audio and kickstarted the era of online music downloads.

In the second half of the 1990s, MP3 files began to spread on the internet. MP3 made it easy for people to share music files with friends, and also spurred the rise of illegal internet downloads and digital piracy. When the Winamp player was released in 1997, MP3 became even more popular.

Fraunhofer IIS also helped create the more advanced AAC files, which is now the main format for services such as iTunes and Youtube files. This format is said to deliver a higher audio quality with the same processing time as MP3.

What does the end of the licensing mean for us? We can continue to listen to MP3 files, but without an industry to support the format, we have no choice but to shift to the more advanced formats.

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