The rights owner of the digital audio coding format MP3 has officially terminated its licensing program, marking the end of the popular format that helped revolutionize the digital audio industry and has been used for over two decades.

The Fraunhofer Institute, which owns the rights to license the MP3 patent to developers, released an official statement touching on why it will move toward other formats in the future.

The institute recognized that the MP3 is still very popular within the consumer market, but it lacks the quality of today’s industry standard: “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.”

Today’s industry standard is AAC, or Advanced Audio Coding, which was also mainly developed by the Fraunhofer Institute. With the MP3 licensing program terminated it will likely not see a resurgence due to the low quality of the format.

How this will affect the music industry remains to be seen, as much of the general public still uses MP3. That said, top-tier DJs tend to use other formats, like AIFF or WAV.


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