The Fraunhofer Institute announced it isn't licensing its MP3 patents any more.
"On April 23, 2017, Technicolor's mp3 licensing program for certain MP3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated," said The Fraunhofer Institute.
"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," the Fraunhofer Institute said. "Most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as AAC and MPEG-H...those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3."
Currently, there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features, but MP3 remains very popular amongst consumers. Media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H.
MP3 dates back to the 1980s and includes work from Alcatel-Lucent, Thompson, and AudioMPEG, co developed with the Fraunhofer Institute. Like any new technology, the companies patented their work, and patents eventually expire.
Without those patents, the Fraunhofer Institute can't make money off licensing.