MP3 is Officially Dead as Fraunhofer Institute Discontinues the Format

One of the most popular and widely distributed audio codec, MP3, won’t be a part of the future of media extensions as its developers at Fraunhofer Institute have terminated the format for encoding audio.

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The MP3 audio codec was first released to the public in the mid-90s and was aimed at replacing the audio format present in CDs at that time in order to accommodate more files on a single disc.

The development for the format was started in 1987 and when it was released the format only needed 1/10th of disc space while retaining the music quality.

There are north of 1.3 trillion MP3 files that have been stored and are being shared worldwide even now.

“Technicolor’s mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated,” Fraunhofer Institute stated.

The main reason for discontinuing the mp3 audio codec, as pointed out by the developers, is that streaming services, TV and radio broadcasting are using modern ISO-MPEG codecs like AAC or MPEG-H.

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These new audio codecs are capable of delivering a much better quality audio at lower bitrates when compared to mp3 and the creators don’t see a future of mp3 format given the current evolution in tech.

“We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades. Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular among consumers,” the company added.

A boon during the days of broadband internet, Mp3 format also enabled people to download and share music files with greater ease.

The emergence of MP3 players more than a decade back are a proof of the popularity of the audio codec which was the pioneer solution in enabling people to carry more music with them on the go — be it on their multimedia-enabled mobile devices or compact discs.

MP3 will be replaced by AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) which is considered to deliver better quality audio and also has been partly developed by the team at Fraunhofer institute.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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