Remember, during the 2000′s, how popular the MP3 player was? In late 2000, I purchased the Creative Labs Nomad Jukebox, which had 6GB of internal storage. It looked like a portable CD player, except you didn’t need any CDs. You had to be there in 2000 to understand how cool it was.
Then, the first iPod came out in late 2001, but it didn’t take off immediately. It was supposedly only compatible with Apple computers, but there was a fix to load music on through your PC. By the end of 2002, the iPod was compatible with all computers, and it took off in a big way.
MP3 technology was originally condemned by record companies, but they eventually had to give in. By the mid-2000s, everybody had an MP3 player. Then, smartphones became MP3 players. Who would have ever thought that one day, the MP3 file would become irrelevant?
Part of the reason why the popularity of MP3s is going down is because of streaming services, such as Spotify, Tidal, or Apple Music. Currently, the AAC format, which allows a higher quality listening experience, is the most popular. In fact, AAC is the format that is used to bring files into iTunes now. It’s the best format for streaming, and even television and radio broadcasts use it today as the standard.
In May of 2017, Gizmodo reported that the developer of the format announced that is has officially terminated its licensing program. So, does that mean all of your MP3 files will go to waste? Not at all, at least not in the near future.
There isn’t a smartphone or computer that doesn’t support the MP3 file, and it’s not likely to lose support anytime soon. But it might be a waste of time to convert all your files to MP3s these days. Then again, it may be a waste to have files at all. Streaming is the way most people listen to their music these days. If you have Spotify or Apple Music, you can have streaming access to most songs or albums.
Even though the MP3 file is something of the past, the format is historical in that it was the first that allowed listeners to “obtain” high quality music without going to the record store (which is mostly extinct now). Don’t throw out your old MP3 players; they will become expensive souvenirs in the future.