Mp3 died, long live mp3!

The official website of the institute notes that the MP3 format is still very popular among consumers, but modern media services that carry out audio and video broadcasts are usually used by more modern and advanced ISO-MPEG codecs like the AAC family or currently being developed by MPEG-H. The latter are able to provide more opportunities, higher quality with a substantially reduced bitrate compared to mp3. Today they gain popularity and compression formats without loss of quality like FLAC.

The development of MP3 began in the late 1980s by the working group of the Fraunhofer Institute under the leadership of the Karlheinz Brandenburg based on the workings of the University of Erlangen-Nournberg. MP3 was created on the basis of the experimental codec ASPEC (Adaptive Spectral Perceptual Entropy Coding). In 1994, L3enc was released, the first coder in the MP3 format, and a year later the first software mp3 player appeared — WinPlay3.

Mp3 — This is a format with a loss of quality, designed for the features of the perception of sound by an average person. Of course, it was created to save disk space. Compressed files at a size of 10 % of the original provided an almost indistinguishable sound quality for most people. It was a huge breakthrough, but at the time of the appearance of the format, far from every desktop PC had sufficient power to ensure reproduction in good stereo. As a result of a number of problems and corporate sabotage, the Fraunhofer Institute ultimately allowed ordinary users to use the codec to compress data from compact-disks and storage on computers, trying to charge patent deductions only from commercial companies.

Karlhainz Brandenburg, 2010

Karlhainz Brandenburg, 2010

One way or another, but in the field of music and sounds, the mp3 has become the same as JPEG for encoding images: despite the fact that the format (also with a loss of quality) has long been outdated and there are many more advanced analogues, most of the imagesIt is stored in JPEG, and even professional cameras and flagship smartphones are primarily retained by the pictures in this format — Everything for compatibility.

But the real MP3 boom began in the late 1990s thanks to the development of the Internet and the golden era of piracy. Music in this format for years has been the most popular content, which was exchanged by users of such peering services as Napster and KazAA, which allowed you to load the necessary compositions literally in one click. The emergence and distribution of compact MP3 players additionally increased the popularity of the format.

Of course, unrestrained network piracy also spurred the development of legal services in which users could equally easily purchase music in digital format. Today, among these services, Apple Itunes dominated, which won the market in the wake of the popularity of iPod players. But there were still pirates in this area in this area.

Almost from the very beginning, Apple allowed users to choose a better AAC as an alternative format, which de facto has become the heir to MP3. But the mp3 deserved its place in history, showing ordinary users a real (albeit not quite legal) potential for the exchange of information in the nascent worldwide network.

By the way, termination of the licensing program — Only a formal format death sign. Otherwise, he will continue to live his former life — All millions of compositions and many thousands of devices and software players will still reproduce files in this format. Moreover, the cessation of patents means that organizations and manufacturers can use mp3 without any deductions to the licensee (many, however, have not done it for a long time). Let’s hope that for audio equipment manufacturers, this will become an extra incentive to finally switch to more advanced standards.


  • Engadget
  • Fraunhofer

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