MP3 creators abandon file format behind digital music boom


A major player in the invention of the MP3, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, recently announced that the MP3's "licensing program for certain MP3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated".

Most audio files, however, are still downloaded using MP3 and it will take years to finally bury the codec, but as of now, MP3 joins the growing list of software that has passed its sell-by date, like Windows 98, XP and Vista. Developed at the Fraunhofer Institute in West Germany (that's how far back development goes), the MP3 compression algorithm is responsible setting music free on the Internet, creating new convenience for music fans and plenty of nightmares for the music industry.

In Pakistan, MP3 still remains the most popular audio coding format for consumers as most of the audio content downloaded from the internet is available in MP3. It ruled illegal sharing for years as sites like Napster and Kazaa hosted popular peer-to-peer services allowing folks to download songs with a click.

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In those heady times, before the music industry had established legal avenues to sell digital content, such as Apple's iTunes Store and modern streaming services, the MP3 was ideal for file sharers, because what it may have lost in audio fidelity, it made up in portability, thanks to its high compression.

Fraunhofer Institute says that most of the well-known streaming, TV, or radio service providers are now using ISO-MPEG codecs like AAC family or MPEG-H. He said that the AAC is more efficient than the MP3. "Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates". "New audio formats and products, with richer information and that better address mobile music streaming, are arriving". In other words, they want the MP3 to retire and make way for other better formats of storing music that have appeared on the scene of late.

It might not offer as much hipster cool as the vinyl renaissance, but hey, at least it's something.