We were under the impression that Ogg Vorbis was a minor character in Game of Thrones – either a member of the Thirteen of Qarth or else a sellsword in the employ of Tyrion Lannister – but it turns out we were wrong.

Ogg Vorbis is a music encoding format, similar to MP3 or AAC, but unlike those two, it’s open source, meaning you don’t have to pay for it. It’s also the format used by Spotify, for that exact reason. The next generation version of Ogg Vorbis, called Opus Codec, could vastly improve the streaming service. Via Hypebot:

Evolver.fm confirmed with Spotify spokesman Graham James that Spotify currently uses Ogg Vorbis on both desktop and mobile. Meanwhile, Xiph’s Montgomery says patent concerns with Ogg Vorbis (and by extension Opus) have largely evaporated:

“There are two sides to the patent thing,” said Montgomery. “A few commercial outfits did have legitimate concerns it could be a risk. Mostly, though, MPEG and the direct competition love harping on the patent angle for marketing and buzz-kill purposes, regardless the actual risk. Lots of sabre rattling, not much actual swashbuckling. Remember Steve Jobs telling everyone he was coming after Theora? Yeah.”

On top of that, Opus Codec has been through the Internet Engineering Task Force standardization process. So the door should be open for Spotify to switch to it and start using less working memory on your phone — and, if the above chart is accurate, maybe sounding a little better too.

If that’s a little hard for to follow, we’ll bottom line it for you; a move from Ogg Vorbis to the newer Opus would mean that Spotify would sound better and be less of a data hog on mobile. Cool?

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to look at sexy GIFs of Daenerys Targaryen.

(The Daily Swarm would like to apologize to anyone who’s never seen Game of Thrones, or read the Song of Ice and Fire books. We’d also like to ask what the hell is wrong with you? That show is freakin’ great.)

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