Developers of the MP3 have officially killed the format

“MP3, the digital audio coding format, changed the way we listen to music and drove the adoption of countless new devices over the last couple of decades,” Rhett Jones reports for Gizmodo. “And now, it’s dead.”

“The developer of the format announced this week that it has officially terminated its licensing program,” Jones reports. “The actual ownership history of the various patent rights involved in MP3 technology is complicated and messy. But the Fraunhofer Institute has claimed the right to license certain MP3 patents to software developers who want to ‘distribute and/or sell decoders and/or encoders’ for it.”

“The decision is largely symbolic, but it’s kind of like when all manufacturers start installing CD-ROMs instead of floppy drives,” Jones reports. “There will be some stragglers who still support the MP3 but newer formats will be the standard. AAC — or ‘Advanced Audio Coding,’ — was developed in part by the Fraunhofer Institute and is considered the standard today.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Told ya so, a very long time ago:

The format shakeout will continue, but if we were to bet, we’d be betting on AAC… That’s the format served up by the market-dominating Apple iTunes Music Store and also the format the leading digital music player, Apple’s iPod, uses… In addition, the announcement that HP will rebrand Apple’s iPod and the upcoming Apple/Pepsi 100 million song promotion will futher cement AAC/Fairplay as the de facto legit digital music format. — MacDailyNews, January 13, 2004

There already is a de facto standard. It’s called MPEG-4 Audio: Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) with the market-dominating FairPlay, Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) system – look for the .m4p file extension in your iTunes Music folder… The de facto standard for digital online music is an MPEG-4 Audio File (Protected) or .m4p. — MacDailyNews, December 15, 2004

AAC is not some proprietary Apple-only format. AAC is MPEG-4 Audio. Apple should’ve just called it MP4 to soothe simple minds.MacDailyNews Take, October 6, 2005

AAC is an audio codec that is superior to the old MP3. Think of it as MP4 Audio, because that’s what it is.MacDailyNews Take, April 30, 2007


    1. It certainly does. That’s why Apple dropped it years ago. The interesting thing here is that after 15 years of MP3 advocates blasting AAC, even the people who invented the format now admit that AAC is superior.

      One last victim crushed under the iPod clickwheel.

      1. Apple did not drop DRM. They just turned off enforcement. Every file on Apple Music has it and- truth be told- every purchased iTunes file has it as well .m4a and .m4p.

        Apple can claw back every iTunes file it wants very easily. I have in my possession on my Mac an .m4a file purchased from iTunes that will not play on any Apple device as it says I am not authorized to play it. If it is not a DRM file, why will every Apple device throw a DRM flag on this file?

        1. There used to be more limitations in the early days, but that was at the behest of the music labels, not Apple. Steve Jobs fought tooth and nail to get rid of DRM on music files. To the best of my knowledge and based on my own experience, that is no longer the case though, purchased iTunes tracks are DRM-free (Apple Music is not. If you cancel your subscription, all of your Apple Music tracks are toast).

          If it’s an older file, then yes, you are restricted in this fashion, the old files have never been ‘updated’. If the music is still available in the store, though, using ICloud Music Library, you can update them to the newer versions.

    1. Agreed. The only thing ‘dead’ is the licensing program. Now everyone that wants to still support MP3 in their products can do so without paying any royalties.

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