Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

It’s Official: Vinyl has outlived the MP3

When the MP3 file burst on the scene at the turn of the century, vinyl was almost a dead format – the domain of collectors, DJs and those folks who stubbornly insisted “it just sounds better, maaaaaan.”

Well who’s laughing now? As the popularity of LPs continues to snowball, the creators of the MP3 file have now pronounced it dead.

Related: Best turntable 2017

The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, which helped to develop the format way back in the 80s, has announced the “licensing program for certain MP3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.”

Of course, just because the format that carried Apple’s iPod to global domination has been laid to rest, it doesn’t mean the entire digital music sector is going the same way.

Vinyl sales may have overtaken digital downloads, but these days it’s all about streaming. The Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), which the Fraunhofer Institute also helped to create now reigns supreme.

In an email to NPR Bernhard Gill says AAC is the “de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones.

“[It is] more efficient than MP3 and offers a lot more functionality.”

Ironically, this isn’t the first time MP3 has been consigned to history.

Way back in 1995, the format was “on life support,” as NPR puts it. It was struggling to acquire licensees and so Fraunhofer decided to give the CD-to-MP3 conversion software away for free.

That, as history has shown, changed things a bit.

Do you think MP3 might enjoy a revival one day? Nah, neither do we. Drop us a line with your comments below.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.