When it was first launched in 1993, MP3 revolutionized how humans experienced music, moving over the hassle of carrying Walkman and Musicassettes to iPods, gaining the ability create playlists, and share instantly. Napster and LimeWire may have now been long forgotten but back in the day, MP3 sharing made their creators overnight millionaires. And although numerous lawsuits dug their graves pretty rapidly, the idea of sharing MP3 for free continues to shine brightly, both legitimately and illegally.
Now, MP3 has grown old, according to its creators at the Fraunhofer Institute, who have recognized the advent of new and improved file formats for audio and video in this IoT and cloud computing driven World, and have decided to expire their patent.
Your Music Library is Safe
Fraunhofer Institute relinquishing its license for MP3, by no means, is an invitation to the funeral ceremony of MP3. It has just aged, not quite dead as yet, and your existing music library will still be playable for quite some time to come, including the Blowfish and Hootie tracks. Although, humanity has already began the paradigm shift to other formats such as AAC, which offer improved quality of music as well as an ability to restrict access.
This second feature of “restricted access” is believed to be the biggest influencer of the end of MP3, with piracy eating a significant chunk out of the music industry. Once again, like with iPod for MP3, Apple are the pioneer company of this shift, already using iTunes for their iPhone and iPad users to download songs, music, and other audio files. In 2014, Amazon rebranded Amazon MP3 to Amazon Music, shifting to file formats that offer robust security and easy streaming over the Internet.
MP3 Can Hope to Go the GIF-way
The creator of GIF, Steve Wilhite, gave up his patent back in 2006 and since then, various software developers have used the free license to innovate. As a result, GIF has not only survived, it continues to gain popularity. Will MP3 follow the suit?