Saturday May 13, 2017

The MP3 Is Officially Dead

The audio format synonymous with digital music since the mid ‘90s has officially been killed off by its creators. While MP3 is far too pervasive to truly disappear any time soon, the format’s licensing program is definitely dead. In its place, Fraunhofer advises everyone to switch to AAC, which they say is "more efficient than MP3 and offers a lot more functionality." But with storage space as cheap as it is these days, can we all just switch to FLAC already.

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Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, a division of the state-funded German research institution that bankrolled the MP3's development in the late '80s, recently announced that its "licensing program for certain MP3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated." Bernhard Grill, director of that Fraunhofer division and one of the principals in the development of the MP3, told NPR over email that another audio format, AAC - or "Advanced Audio Coding," which his organization also helped create — is now the "de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones."