MP3, the darling file format of every Napster/Limewire user in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, is set to be phased out. Or at least let go into the wild… the Fraunhofer Institute (which developed the format) has decided to give up it’s licensing. According to Gizmodo, the institute is stating that other codecs like AAC “can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to MP3.”
This has been widely known, and is one of the major reasons Apple never adopted the MP3 format for it’s iTunes store. However the advent of the MP3 was crucial to the development of portable digital music players, eventually allowing Apple to step in with the iPod and put forth a radical shift in how music was consumed.
Nowadays however, the impact on the audio industry will be fairly minimal as other formats have already taken precedence. Also, 2016 was the first time ever that vinyl sales actually outweighed digital downloads (in money spent, not units purchased).
Whether or not this will help lead to a disappearance of MP3 use is yet to be seen. Lars Ulrich must be happy somewhere.