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Its creators end licensing programme - MP3 is dead

16 Mai 2017

The mp3 has been declared dead, but don't worry - the gigabytes of music of dubious legality sitting on your hard drive will still work.

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. AAC is admittedly a better format, developed with the hindsight unavailable to MP3's developers and without the sever limitations of those decades.

Many services have long since stopped using MP3s because its audio data compression algorithm compresses the music such that the sound quality decreases significantly depending on how small the file is.

Fraunhofer IIS, the German agency that invented and patented the audio format, officially terminated its licensing program on April 23, but it just came to the public's attention this week.

The MP3 was originally created back in 1995 and was already in wide-use by 1997.

The introduction of other file formats including Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) which retains more information and the emergence of MPEG-H have also made MP3 a relic.

More modern and size-efficient codecs are set to replace the MP3 format. If you ever ripped an MP3 from a CD, or bought from an online store, then the company involved paid a licensing fee to Fraunhofer/ Technicolor.

In 2007, Apple discontinued the use of DRM, instead embedding a purchase receipt into the AAC file so that the origin could be traced if it was shared on peer-to-peer networks.

You might recognise the file formats.mp4, .m4a, m4a, .m4b, .m4p, .m4r and.m4v from your PC.

AAC is "more efficient than MP3 and offers a lot more functionality", according to Bernhard Grill, director of the Fraunhofer division, in an email to NPR. But the real thing keeping the venerable MP3 relevant at this point is our newest audio obsession: podcasts. It doesn't mean that your collection of MP3 files is now redundant. Here's the deal: MP3 isn't dead, all your songs will still play, and you can keep buying MP3 tracks from music services.

Its creators end licensing programme - MP3 is dead