After revolutionizing the music industry, the MP3 is officially dead

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits stops providing licenses for MP3 technology, notes that more superior audio formats have made the MP3 obsolete

the MP3 is officially dead
Apple

The MP3 file format, the one that helped the iPod become a mainstream and iconic device, is now officially dead.

According to a new report via NPR, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits has stopped providing licenses for MP3 technology, noting that more superior audio formats have rendered the MP3 obsolete. Speaking to NPR, the Fraunhofer Institute said AAC has since become the "de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones."

A statement on the matter reads:

We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the de facto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades.

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.

While it's not as if anyone will exactly miss the MP3, it's contribution to the tech world cannot be overstated. Even before the iPod came into existence, the MP3 was the format of choice for file-sharing college students who enthusiastically took to services like Napster in droves. Indeed, the iPod managed to succeed as an MP3 player precisely because there was already a market for such devices on the market. In short, the MP3 helped revolutionize how the entire world listened to and accessed music.

The MP3 was originally created back in 1995 and was already in wide use by 1997. All in all, a 20-year shelf life for any type of file format is no small feat, and with the MP3 going the way of the dodo, yet another chapter on the history of tech has come to close.

An informative look at the development of the MP3 format can be viewed over here.

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