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As known to every person on earth, MP3 is the second name of music. Music can never die! or could it? This question is haunting a lot of music lovers nowadays as the news broke out that MP3 is abandoned by its creators and is now left to die an contributed death after serving billions of people for years! especially when people had no alternatives.

MP3 started its service around the 1990s when the Internet was not widely available and people were dependent mostly on radio and cassettes. Only those who had decent internet connections and modern media equipment back then were using Internet-supported media formats like ‘WAV’. Notably, the file sizes of MP3 files were way lesser than their WAV counterparts. Thereby, as soon as MP3 landed on the Internet, its popularity got viral and it quickly became the most popular music file format available on the internet for download.

However, the real reason for the popularity of MP3 was not only the low file size but the high music quality it had to offer. Due to this, MP3 became the easiest option for downloading high-quality music over snail speed dial-up connections (of the 1990s). Soon enough, music industries also adopted MP3 as an alternative to their mainstream media formats. Thereafter, MP3 was unstoppable. Especially, with the boom in several internet connections and ever-expanding bandwidth limits, MP3 rapidly made its way to nearly every storage device on earth.

What went wrong with MP3?

To answer this, let’s first understand the term ‘Bitrate’. Bitrate in layman language represents an audio quality level and is commonly used between 64 and 320kbps. Higher bitrate leads to higher audio quality and higher file sizes as well. In the early stages of MP3 technology, the most popular bitrate used was 64kbps, as everyone wanted to fit as many of their favorite tracks as possible in their expensive 64MB microSD cards. Overall, the audio quality of 64kbps was not very exciting, though it was a fair trade between audio quality and file size, especially considering the price tag of microSD cards and smartphones available back then.

However, with time the technology improved and storage devices moved from megabits to gigabits. Parallelly, everyone moved from low-quality 64kbps MP3 files to 128kbps, 320kbps, 1411kbps, and even 2116kbps MP3 files. As it may seem, with the increase in bitrates of audio files, file sizes also increased proportionally. This defeated the first purpose of using MP3 technology, i.e., data compression ratio. It was not what the creators of MP3 technology aimed for when they started their research back in the 1980s

What is going to be the fate of everyone’s MP3 music collection?

There is no need to worry about MP3 files and its music collections, as there will be continued support available for MP3 files and everyone will be able to enjoy their MP3 music forever. The fact is, MP3 technology is now in public domain, which may even boost its usage for upcoming years. The reason for the boost is that now everyone is allowed to play around the MP3 technology and to enhance it as per their requirements.

Moreover, as the MP3 technology is outdated, we will soon see music files coming with new file extensions, probably ‘AAC’. No wonder if most of us might have already been using AAC file formats for a while now, specially iTune users. There are many other file formats available also, such as FLAC, MPEG-H, Ogg Vorbis, etc. These all are the advanced data compression standards that produce better quality audio with higher data compression rates. Most importantly, these all are compatible with the advanced technologies and equipment we are using in 2017.


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