Goodbye MP3, Hello AAC!
After almost 25 years, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits that patented the MP3 in the late 80’s has announced that it will not be renewing the license on it’s technology and that MP3s will soon disappear from the market.
How many of us have had the opportunity to collect and discover a treasure trove of music thanks to the introduction and the practical use of the MP3? The big boost for this format came when Napster made illegal sharing of people’s music collections so easy in 1999. After that everyone had MP3s on their computers and then the iTunes store and various other legal online portals and streaming services came to pass. That’s quite a big legacy!
The MP3 technology works by removing parts of the audio which are meant to be “inaudible” to humans. However more recent research by the Audio Engineering Library has pointed to the fact that these missing psychoacoustic elements also drains the music of some emotion. Additionally it was found that MP3s drains music of its positive emotions and enhances the negative ones.
The unintended side effect of the MP3 was that the easiness of copying large libraries of music for free has seriously devalued music for media applications. As soon as people expected to get music for free then they also balked at the idea of paying so much to get music composed. Combined with the advancement of cheaper recording equipment, it meant there was a flood of music libraries offering cut price tracks as well.
It seems like we’ll be moving on with AAC which was developed with the cooperation and contributions of companies including AT&T Bell Laboratories, Fraunhofer IIS, Dolby Laboratories, Sony Corporation and Nokia. It’s more efficient than MP3 and offers a better sound quality.
Whatever format we listen to our music in it won’t change the idea in people’s heads of getting music ‘for free’. This is the biggest challenge for musicians like us at Make This Noise – creating a specially composed piece of music that fits to picture, or is unique to a brand and who’s rights can be assigned freely is still a very special thing. It can benefit a brand in so many ways. However the composers with all this brand knowledge will only be able to exist if the clients have budgets to pay for our services!
It will be really interesting to see how specially composed music fares with the exciting growth of experiential marketing and Virtual Reality in the years to come. In the meantime: Bye bye MP3…