MP3 format officially dead: ACC is the new king


MP3 was embraced by consumers in the last couple of decades and has been widely used in various audio related gadgets. With the rise of iTunes (and illegal file sharing platforms like Napster and LimeWire), MP3 and Digital Rights Management became hot-button topics in the media, as the market for music shifted from the "physical" to the "digital".

The folks at the Fraunhofer Institute claim that AAC is the "de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones". With the MP3 licensing program terminated it will likely not see a resurgence due to the low quality of the format. It was popular for nearly a couple decades but has since been replaced by 'more efficient audio codecs' such as Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) and Moving Picture Experts Group - high-efficiency coding and media delivery in heterogeneous environments (MPEG-H). Formats such as AAC (Advance Audio Coding) can store more information and deliver higher quality audio.

MP3 files have been a large part of our lives. The format was officially standardised in 1993, but since several parties were working on the technology at the same time, it is hard to work out who exactly invented the codec. For sound quality, today's audio snob prefers FLAC files, a completely free format that compresses files a bit, but still has superior sound quality to the other formats. Instead, services like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal use the less-well-known formats OGG, AAC and FLAC respectively. Back in 1998, the format had become so popular as a tool for internet users looking to transform compact discs (CDs) into easily tradable digital files, that the music industry panicked and launched the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI). In some ways, the MP3 is more alive than ever. This essentially means that not a lot of people are reliant on the MP3 format anymore.

MP3 files shot to fame because they were easier to download, consuming less space on the bandwidth as well as your device's memory. Most of the music we listen to nowadays is contained and organised in virtual libraries, where files are compressed in better than MP3 formats.