What’s A Possible MP3 Successor?

To address the elephant in the room, AAC is a potential successor to MP3, an audio file that was created by a German company, Fraunhofer.

But then again, Band camp’s view is also a notable contender; they default it to variable bit rate MP3 for downloads. The truth is, there are a lot of potential MP3 successors, and even though AAC comes close, there are other factors that you may want to look up before settling on an audio file format.

Here are some of the characteristics you should be


More Efficient Format

AAC is more efficient regarding lower bit rates as compared to MP3. However, there are other audio file formats that are more efficient by 10 to 100 times. The ability to give the listener high-quality audio experience can eventually provoke them to make the switch.

Opus can perform even better than AAC when it comes to low bit rates, but AAC is freely licensed; however, neither of them has its development shifted away from MP3.

Bandwidth Contention

Another hindrance one may think of when it comes to switching from MP3 is the bandwidth contention. Since the 1990s, storage capacities, as well as bandwidths, have shown an increase in today’s audio market. Being able to distribute 240 bit lossless FLAC or WAV is not the standard in most digital music stores. MP3’s issue of being small enough is not important unless the user has a relatively poor internet connection.

This supports the idea that a revolution in compression technology is required to convince the users to switch to something new, something better.

As observed by developer and blogger Marco Arment, JPEG has been surpassed; yet, it’s not quite “dead.” The truth is that most of the images you still see today online are still in JPEG format.

Fast Encoding and Decoding

Here’s another potential barrier: any new format would immediately require enough fast encoders and decoders for it to be available. However, only the most dedicated are going to spend their precious time encoding an audio file, when they can do the same in just a few seconds now.

The decoding feature is possibly even more vital. Much listening is done on cellular phones and devices with still comparatively poor battery life, which means charging your phone daily isn’t out of the question for most devices with a substantial amount of use.

Playable Everywhere

Such a format needs to receive support so that the creators would know that their content is playable everywhere. Computers, as well as mobile phones, are extendable through new apps, but there’s so many legacy hardware that doesn’t necessarily receive upgrades to play this new imaginary MP3 format. Remember, if that particular hardware can play MP3 audio files now, it will continue to do so quite happily.

Feature Enhancements

The act of adding features that can offer more options for the listener might help a new format dethrone the previous reign of MP3. If there is one thing that comes to mind, it is functionality.

Still, it’s not entirely impossible that someone comes up with a clever concept that would disrupt how we think about listening to songs. There could be an improvement analogous to how FaceApp has changed how its users would think about having to interact with images of other people.


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