RIP: MP3 Format Is Dead, Long Live AAC

The much loved and been a long and fruitful ride, the iconic MP3 format has officially been discontinued. After being around in heavy use for the last twenty-five years, the source has finally announced that the once globally accepted format for digital music is no more alive now.

Music app

So there’s no need now to search for YouTube to MP3 converter to download high quality MP3 files, compress any videos and convert from YouTube to MP3, but naturally, the application/tool can also convert YouTube videos to various other formats. Id didn’t just remind you of MP3s to make you feel old first thing, as we know that the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits – the German agency that invented the audio format and licenses some patents for its – has officially terminated its licensing program.

This doesn’t actually mean that MP3s stored on your hard drive will stop working, but don’t expect to see many new devices professing support for that format from here on out. Although it seems staggering to accept that the format has been in existence for more than 25 years, which really was no way owned by Apple Inc., but many credit the Cupertino-based company’s music industry to where it is today.

And, obviously, the existence of the iPod relied fully on the MP3 format in those initial early years before translating to the AAC format in 2003.

For many music fans, of course include me, the MP3 holds a deeper meaning that just a file format. Growing up in India as a 90s kid, western music simply wasn’t as accessible throgh my childhood and teen years as it is today. Fruanholder IIS – the main organization currently responsible for licensing the technologies used for the format – has not only put the MPR to bed due to the last of the patents expiring, but has also placed an AAC format up on a pedestal as the ne champion of the digital music era:

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.

Online, the AAC format may be the ultimate champion in this announcement. In a statement, the German institute noted that while MP3 is still popular among some consumers, newer formats like AAC “can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates.” It’s not wrong: these formats are indeed better for streaming and carrying more information than MP3s ever could.

If you look at Apple’s adoption and manipulation of the AAC formats, which included the company on the belief that the existence of digital rights management restrictions instantly prevented consumers from switching from iTunes to any competing platform or service. Apple essentially prevailed in that case.

In fact, where the MP3 format is concerned it’s highly likely that some manufacturers will continue to support it for a whole, but ultimately AAC will rise. It’s just not all that easy to let go, though. Farewell, dear MP3, and thanks for the ever lasting memories, long live AAC:

(Source: Fraunhofer IIS)

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