If you were born in the world of smartphones or belong to the internet generation, you must be familiar with the term – MP3. Most of your audio tracks downloaded from the internet bear this tag at the end of the track name. MP3 files are easier to download as they consume lesser space on the bandwidth as well as your device’s memory. Well, there’s some bad news – MP3 is no more.
Fraunhofer IIS – the people who gave birth to the popular audio format in 1988, have halted its licensing program to various software developers who want to distribute decoders/encoders for the MP3platform. The codec has been the defacto audio codec around the world for the past two decades.
In their blog, the developers stated that 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. Therefore, the decision to stop licensing MP3 has been done in favour of other popular audio codecs like AAC, which also has been partly developed by Fraunhofer.
MP3 compression helped squeeze massive amounts of audio data into smaller file sizes on computers and portable devices. However, the compression also erases most of the details from the tracks, thus reducing the audio quality drastically. AAC or Advanced Audio Coding is the current standard in the world of digital audio as it tries to retain the original quality while reducing digital file sizes. AAC files incorporate higher bitrates into smaller file sizes compared to the MP3 codec.
However, MP3 is still popular amongst the people. In fact, most of the audio tracks downloaded from the internet are still found to be adhering to the MP3 codec. The larger the file size gets, the better an MP3 file delivers.