MP3 is dead, long live AAC


MP3, the format that revolutionized the way we consume (and steal) music since the 90s, has been officially retired — in a manner of speaking. The German research institution that created the format, The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, announced that it had terminated licensing for certain MP3-related patents…in other words, they didn’t want to keep it on life support, because there are better ways to store music in the year 2017. Rest now forever, MP3.

In its place, the director of the Fraunhofer Institute told NPR, the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format has become the “de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones.” It’s simply more efficient and has greater functionality, as streaming TV and radio broadcasting use the format to deliver higher-quality audio at lower bitrates than MP3.

Interesting development. I still use MP3 for all my audio needs.

  • TWF


  • NB

    It’s not dead, this is just propaganda from the licensing company. The MP3 patent expired, so they want to make it out like the format is dead.

    Now what is arguable is that MP3 is all but dead due to streaming music services and YouTube being much more convenient than pirating music.

    • drx1

      Yes, the MP3 format is perfectly fine … 256Kbps and up is good.

  • Dana Pellerin

    I still use MP3 as well. I’m not re-ripping all 400 of my CD’s!

    • I didn’t either. iTunes Match (or whatever it was called at the time) upgraded them to AAC, and they sound better now.

    • drx1

      MP3s are fine – 256kbps, no issues!

  • Zepfhyr

    It amazes me that anyone with an Apple device would ever use MP3. Even my music purchased from Amazon or Google Play is matched by iTunes Match so that I don’t have to keep the MP3s around. Apple has long utilized hardware decoding for AAC to improve battery life on their devices, but MP3 still uses software decoding.

  • why would you still encode in MP3 when there have been better options available for years? built right into itunes even. sheesh.

    • Mo

      Seriously. As soon as I learned AAC was more efficient, I switched over immediately. I only generate mp3s now for the occasional tech-averse recipient who might complain for some reason.

      And remember when Apple-haters were still dissing AAC because they believed it was proprietary? Always good for a laugh.

  • brucej

    Fraunhofer terminated their licensing program because the patents expired, so licensing is no longer required.

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