MP3, the format that defines the way we listen to the music since the 90s, has been officially retired. The German research institution that invented the format and licenses patents for it, announced that it had terminated licensing for certain MP3 patents.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, wrote in their official blog post: “Technicolor’s mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.”

“We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades.”

In its place, the director of the institute told NPR that Advanced Audio Coding, the AAC format has become the “de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones and can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates.”

In the late 1980s, researchers from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and Fraunhofer Institute joined forces and worked on to invent the MP3 standard. The format takes up 10 percent of the storage space of the original file.

By the end of the 90s, these tiny MP3 files became the major source of digital piracy and ruled illegal sharing for years as popular sites like Napster and Kazaa hosted popular peer-to-peer services allowing users to download songs with a click.

Apple, later dominated the MP3 player market after it brought on the iPod. It’s iTunes store, though gave users the option to use AAC from the start, and that format proved to be the ultimate MP3 successor. But the MP3 format deserves its place in history and it is just not easy to let it go.

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