MP3: The world’s favourite music file format
After much effort and study of the problem, a group of clever researchers came up with the “MP3” format, which was a “lossy” audio format. This development made it possible to convert wave files to the MP3 format, which took up much less storage, thus paving the way for the digital music revolution. (This development was also paralleled in the digital images industry, where images were first scanned and digitized as bitmaps… with the extension “BMP”. That all changed with the rise of “lossy” encoding, through the JPEG file format.)
But then, the dark days came.
Sharing got a bad name then.
And then the digital music renaissance happened.
… and then the digital subscription model took off.
All of it was made possible by MP3.
|The team that helped create the MP3 format (photo from 1987).|
On April 23, 2017, 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.
The development of mp3 started in the late 80s at Fraunhofer IIS, based on previous development results at the University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular amongst consumers. However, most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H. Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3.