The MP3 audio file is set to be phased out.
The Fraunhofer Institute, which developed the early digital audio format and licenses it to software developers, has ceased its licensing agreement. As Gizmodo reports, the institute states that newer, MPEG codecs such as AAC files “can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to MP3.”
While the impact on the music and audio industries will be largely minimal, due to most streaming services already using newer formats, the MP3’s impact on the digitisation of music is undeniable. Most notably, the MP3 allowed for Apple to become the dominant force in music distribution it is today, through the proliferation of downloadable music and the iPod. These days, Apple is a market leader through Apple Music.
It was recently discovered that MP3s can make your music sound “more depressing”, with researchers at the Audio Engineering Library revealing that MP3 compression tended to strengthen neutral and negative emotional characteristics of a song, which the study defined as “mysterious, shy, scary and sad”. On the other hand, MP3s can dull positive emotional characteristics, such as “happy, romantic or calm”. However, they had no effect on songs that were categorised as “angry”.
Last December also saw vinyl sales outweigh digital downloads for the first time ever.
The ERA provided figures that showed that, in week 48 of 2016, £2.4m was spent on vinyl, while only £2.1m was spent on the digital download of albums.