The MP3 is possibly the best known audio format . It is still not the only one, nor is it the best. But in spite of that this format has established itself as the leader in independent audio distribution.
What is MP3?
As we have just said, the MP3 is a format for storing audio . This is an industry leading format, and is one of the options to consider when distributing audio. However, the years have long since begun to take their toll. Remember that it is a format that has more than 20 years behind it.
MP3, already a classic in audio codecs.
MP3 is a lossy audio compression format. And what does this mean? First of all it is a format that compresses the audio so that it takes up less space. But it’s a lossy format , which means that at the cost of reducing the size even further, it also reduces the quality.
In addition, a very important section to be mentioned is the issue of the license . This is a proprietary format , as well as being fee-based. Therefore, in theory at least, anyone who wants to make a player that supports this format must pay a fee to Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the company behind this format. For example, Apple had to pay for the iPod to support this format.
Chart with audio formats and type of license.
Fraunhofer IIS patent has expired
The person who had the rights to this format a few hours ago was Fraunhofer IIS , who made a statement today. In this statement the company mentions that will no longer license MP3s , and therefore invites to use better formats like AAC or MPEG-H.
But will MP3 really disappear?
In many websites of great importance due to lack of knowledge have said that this format will tend to disappear, as no more players can be created with this format.
But that information is completely false . The fact is that these media have distorted the information. Even if from the words of Fraunhofer IIS it can be understood that this format is going to die, this does not have to be the case.
The iPod, an MP3-compatible device.
The only thing that happened was that the patent that this company had has expired . So it’s not that no one will be able to use the format, but that anyone will be able to use it. In other words, this is not the end of MP3, but rather a new life that you will receive, outside the chains of a company.
Now that the MP3 algorithms are free various free software associations have already announced that they will consider incorporating the MP3 into their software as it is now not subject to any patents. In fact, Fedora has already announced that will include native MP3 support in the next release of its operating system. Until now very few open source projects included support for this format, with VLC being the most prominent case.
Fedora, a very free software conscious Linux distribution that will now include MP3 support after its release from the patent strings.
AAC, a great alternative to MP3 according to Fraunhofer IIS
According to the company that licensed the MP3 format, they recommend the use of AAC or MPEG-H from now on. Why these words? This is something we don’t know. Sounds strange , because they imply that now that the patent has expired they don’t want anyone else to use the format. Not only that, but they recommend the use of two other formats because they are better than theirs.
One of them is the AAC . The AAC, or Advanced Audio Codec , is an audio format based on a lossy compression algorithm, just like MP3. Like MP3 this is a very popular format . ACC is used in both audio files, but is more widely used for videos and movies, as it is included in “MPEG 4” (H.264) video codec.
It should also be noted that AAC is Apple’s preferred format for audio files. For example, songs distributed through the iTunes Store are in this format. Also, when we make a recording in iOS or macOS, it is made in AAC (extension *.m4a”).
MP3 and ACC are not the only audio formats. There are other large formats available such as Opus or Vorbis.
So, is the MP3 format going to disappear? The answer is a resounding no . Even if the patent has expired and the company is going to stop licensing it, that should be good news. Certainly AAC is a great format, and superior to MP3 in many ways, but it still has a lot of work to do…
Now all that remains is to know, will companies and associations be able to put the new freedom over MP3 to good use? While the battle over the predominant audio format of videos seems to be won by AAC and MP3 seems to be the leader in audio files, there are many formats , and each has its benefits.