The digital audio encoding format MP3 has been officially confirmed as ‘dead’ by its original inventors.
Those who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s will fondly remember downloading MP3s to build their music collections.
The MP3 format was widely credited with turning the music world ‘on its head’, as it were.
It allowed digital audio files to be compressed without having a significant effect on the quality of the sound.
The introduction of MP3 eventually meant trends shifted from bulky Walkmans to compact digital listening devices such as the iPod.
However, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, the German agency that invented the format, has officially terminated its licensing program.
The move has since been interpreted by tech experts as MP3s “official death warrant”.
Thankfully though, this era-ending decision doesn’t mean that MP3s already stored on your hard drive will stop working.
Music lovers are however warned not to expect many newly-developed devices to support the format from here onwards.
While MP3s can still be used should you wish, this removal of support signals an official shift in the industry.
According to reports, better quality formats that offer more efficient compression and more functionality are now the standard.
The current ‘streaming phenomenon’ has also heaped pressure onto MP3 files.
Bernhard Grill, a developer of MP3 technology, recommends turning to Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), which he also helped create.
He told National Public Radio that AAC was the “de facto standard for music downloads and videos on mobile phones”.
Grill, 56, also said that the ACC format was “more efficient than MP3 and offers a lot more functionality”.
AAC is currently the default setting for bringing CDs into iTunes.