Monday, May 22, 2017

Because MP3 is not nearly Dead

Subject:  MP3 ... Still very much alive

There has been an avalanche of dim witted or perhaps misleading reports in the technical press this week about the end of MP3.  Perhaps it is a case of Chinese whispers whereby an initial idiot journalist misunderstood something and then others copied it?

Let's make a test then
This test asks you to goto the website in fact to URL

Don't worry this is quite legal, you are just looking
(NB: Other torrent sites are available :-)

01 Choose at random 10, torrent hyperlinks, with decent file sizes, lets say something above 60MB

02 Check the details and keep going until you have 10 descriptions that indicate what type of musical format you are downloading MP3, AAC etcetera

03 You may to look at a lot more than 10 links, because the format is not always written, I know, these illegal posters are so sloppy, it's annoying right :-)

----  My First 10 results ----
00 Album : Happy Hippie Presents: Backyard Sessions
Genre : Pop  
Release : 2017
Tracks : 11
Quality: Mp3, 320kbps
Total Time: 00:38:10
Total Size: 98 Mb

01 Genre: Trance
Label: VA
Year: 2017
Audio Codec: MP3
Type rip: Tracks+Image
Audio Bitrate: 320 kbps

02 Year: 2016
Style: Heavy Power Metal
Country: USA
Format: 320 mp3
Size: 90.21 MB

03 Year: 2017
Style: Thrash Metal
Country: United Kingdom
Format: 320 mp3
Size: 94.52 MB

04 Genre        : Dansband
Year         : 1990
Tracks       : 14
Playtime     : 00:45:51
Size         : 82,87 MB
Codec        : MPEG 1 Layer III / 253 kbps

05 Year: 2017
Style: Hard Rock
Country: Sweden
Format: 320 mp3
Size: 102.83 MB

06 Genre : Hip-Hop/Rap
Release : 2017
Tracks : 17
Quality: Mp3, 320kbps
Total Time: 00:55:57
Total Size: 131 Mb

07 Genre : Pop Rock, Alternative Rock, New Wave
Release : 2017
Tracks : 12
Quality: Mp3, 320kbps
Total Time: 00:40:55
Total Size: 94 Mb

08 Year Of Release: 2017
Label: Bad Boy/Interscope Records
Genre: Hip-Hop, Pop
Quality: MP3 320 kbps
Total Time: 00:45:57
Total Size: 105 mb

09 Content: Audio, Music
Type:    DJ Mix
Genre:   House, Tech House
Format:  MP3
Encoder: LAME 3.99.3
Quality: 320 kbps, 44.1 kHz, Stereo
Runtime: 01:18:00

So, forgive the small sample size, but in the above quick and dirty investigation, 10 out of 10 Audio torrents that declared their format, all 10 were MP3

What really Happened then?

Fraunhofer released this press statement

On April 23, 2017, Technicolor's mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.

We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades ... etcetera

But in most territories except for the USA the MP3 encoding and decoding was patent free, since patents had expired by 2012.  To quote Wikipedia:

The basic MP3 decoding and encoding technology is patent-free in the European Union, all patents having expired there by 2012 at the latest. In the United States, the technology became substantially patent-free on 16 April 2017

To Marcus, the fact that MP3 encoding is now Patent free worldwide only enhances it's appeal.

Those claiming or wishing for the death of the MP3 encoding format are both delusional and stupid.

Our Recommendation
Marcus and Agata feel that to listen to a wide variety of music, legally, in 2017+,  and with the minimum of fuss Streaming Music is the way to go.

In a way this is very wasteful in the sense that it uses a lot of Internet Bandwidth.

How much?

Since Marcus and Agata monitor most aspects of our lives we can say that per day, Marcus, streams upward of 0.5GB of music via Spotify and BBC Radio 4.

Yep that is 512MB per day people, because we are living in 2017 not  1993, the birthdate of MP3.

Users of a streaming Music service are not permanently storing their Music locally, so the format on which it is actually stored on the host is pretty much irrelevant, what counts is the quality of the transmitted files and what audio equipment you play it on at your end.

We would recommend Spotify Premium or Family because

- You get all the music you can possibly want legally
- The cost is about 10 GBP / month premium
- The cost is 15 GBP/month for family membership
- Instantly browse your virtual music library
- Create Playlists of your favourite music
- Have Spotify make Playlists based on your current Album and Artist selections
- Temporarily Download Music to your Smartphone so that it can be played whilst you are without the Internet
- Downloaded Files are held in Ogg Vorbis format with DRM, so cannot be extracted and played elsewhere
- Best streaming is at 320Kbps currently in 2017

Martin Solveig: When I'm not With You
(Clearly he is really talking about MP3)