The Death of the MP3

A file type that all but destroyed the music industry as it had existed for decades, the MP3 has reached the end of its life. Developed by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in the late ’80s as a means to transmit sound information in small packages, MP3s then became a valid means to store information—until Fraunhofer started to give away a software that consumers could use to “rip” CDs into MP3 files. From there, we entered the age of piracy. As for its death, iTunes and many other services now employ the more efficient, functional AAC file type. And streaming services prefer “Master Quality Authenticated” files, which more accurately deliver sound playback the way our ears prefer to hear things. The iconic MP3 was a disruptor and an enabler, but that’s just about it.