End of an era: MP3 is dead, and AAC is triumphant

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits has officially terminated licensing for MP3-related patents, signaling the end of the format.

Most of us might have grown up in the age of iPods, LimeWire, and MP3s, and now it would seem that trifecta has bitten the dust. Yesterday, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits announced that it would terminate licensing for certain MP3-related patents.
What does this mean? According to Bernhard Grill, the director of the Fraunhofer Institute, Advanced Audio Coding – AAC – has now become the “de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones.”
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MP3 established its popularity as the format of choice for music lovers thanks to the small amount of storage space one such file occupies and a quick transcoding time – nevermind the fact that the format itself was used as the vector of transition from physical media – such as CDs, cassette tapes, or even vinyl – to digital media.
The format was the driving push behind the emergence of digital piracy, fuelling sites such as Napster – through which millions could download a song at the click of a button, transfer the file to their MP3 player of choice, and then listen while on-the-go.
The demise of the format comes amidst the rise in popularity of streaming services – such as Apple Music, Google Play Music, and others – while the technology behind MP3 itself has been usurped by lossless audio recording technology, and formats such as AAC and FLAC have risen to the fore in its place.
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What are your thoughts? How have MP3 files shaped your listening experience over the past several years? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA