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16 May 2017

MP3 is officially dead, but the swansong isn't over

MP3 will fade away from the music playlist

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, a German research institution, which created the MP3 format; has now officially declared the termination of licensing rights pertaining to MP3.

The domination of MP3 in the music scene since the 1990s, thus, comes to a bittersweet end with Advanced Audio Coding being heralded as its successor by the institute.

Old friend, this is in your fond memory.

In context

MP3 will fade away from the music playlist
MP3 aka Moving Picture Experts Group Layer-3 Audio


MP3 aka Moving Picture Experts Group Layer-3 Audio

The German institute worked in collaboration with the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg to develop MP3 format in the 1980s.

A compressed MP3 file took only 10% of the space that an original file took.

It quickly gained popularity but also gave rise to digital piracy by the end of the 90s, as it enabled people to rip off songs directly from CDs.


MP3's journey was a rocky one

The journey of compressing music to make it more space efficient was not easy, Karlheinz Brandenburg, credited for MP3 noted, "In 1991, the project almost died. During modification tests, the encoding simply did not want to work properly."

MP3 is an acronym for MPEG Audio Layer III and belongs to the Motion Pictures Experts Group, which sets standards for audio and visual display.

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The future is Advanced Audio Coding


The future is Advanced Audio Coding

Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) has now become "de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones."

Companies like Apple and YouTube have already implemented the practice, but MP3 still dominates the music scene in several countries.

AAC is, however, an ideal successor; as it plays high-quality audio at a lower bit rate.

Music Industry

MP3 is still widely used in the music scene

MP3 boosted the music industry globally via downloads and online streaming; and also made Apple, with its products iTunes and iPod, one of the leading firms in music devices and distribution.

While some formats like vinyl have witnessed a revival, MP3 is, however, far-fetched, as its compression affects quality noticeably but the compressed format did make music sharing over various channels relatively easy.

Digital Music Industry is doing well for itself


Digital Music Industry is doing well for itself

While the physical sale of music has reached a standstill and illegal downloads are at an all-time high, online sales are still looking up, thanks to subscription based services.

According to IFPI, the global market for recorded music was up by 5.9% with revenues of $15.7 billion in 2016, which was fuelled by 112 million users availing paid music streaming subscriptions.

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