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Primus is offering soundboard recordings from 2003 Tour de Fromage in FLAC and MP3 on primuslive.com. More info here and here.

Independent record label Magnatune is now offering their catalog in FLAC and Vorbis in addition to MP3.

Rio has announced a new portable, the Rio Karma, which supports FLAC and Ogg Vorbis.

livephish.com is now offering recordings in FLAC format in addition to MP3.

FLAC has joined the Xiph project; see here for the press release.

Xiph.org is behind other free codecs such as Vorbis, Theora, and Speex. Our merger with Xiph will bring FLAC into the ranks and lead to better integration with the Ogg multimedia framework.

Note that the FLAC format is not changing, native FLAC will continue to exist, and the command-line tools and plugins will continue to work as before. The codec libraries will now be available under Xiph's BSD-like license.

last updated 2003-Nov-11

what is FLAC?

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. Grossly oversimplified, FLAC is similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without throwing away any information. This is similar to how Zip works, except with FLAC you will get much better compression because it is designed specifically for audio, and you can play back compressed FLAC files in your favorite player (or your car or home stereo, see links to the right for supported devices) just like you would an MP3 file.

FLAC is freely available and supported on most operating systems, including Windows, "unix" (Linux, *BSD, Solaris, OS X, IRIX), BeOS, OS/2, and Amiga. There are build systems for autotools, MSVC, Watcom C, and Project Builder.

See the features page for a complete list of features, or the comparison page to see how FLAC compares with other lossless codecs.

The FLAC project consists of:

  • the stream format
  • reference encoders and decoders in library form
  • flac, a command-line program to encode and decode FLAC files
  • metaflac, a command-line metadata editor for FLAC files
  • input plugins for various music players

When we say that FLAC is "Free" it means more than just that it is available at no cost. It means that the specification of the format is fully open to the public to be used for any purpose (the FLAC project reserves the right to set the FLAC specification and certify compliance), and that neither the FLAC format nor any of the implemented encoding/decoding methods are covered by any known patent. It also means that all the source code is available under open-source licenses. It is the first truly open and free lossless audio format.


Visit the download page for links to the source code or pre-built binaries.


The documentation is available online as well as in the distributions. The general installation and usage documentation for flac and the plugins is here. For a detailed description of the FLAC format and reference encoder see the FLAC format page.

id registration

If you have an application that uses FLAC and would like it to be able to tag FLAC files with custom metadata, visit the registration page to register an ID for your application.

11-Nov-2003 :
  Primus offers live shows in FLAC
13-Oct-2003 :
  Magnatune catalog available in FLAC
11-Aug-2003 :
  New Rio Karma supports FLAC
23-Jun-2003 :
  livephish.com offers FLAC shows
09-Feb-2003 :
  ReQuest adds FLAC support
29-Jan-2003 :
  FLAC joins Xiph.org!
26-Jan-2003 :
  Version 1.1.0 released
24-Sep-2002 :
  Version 1.0.4 released
22-Aug-2002 :
  FLAC support for Rio Receiver
03-Jul-2002 :
  Version 1.0.3 released
13-Feb-2002 :
  FLAC goes hardware
03-Dec-2001 :
  Version 1.0.2 released
14-Nov-2001 :
  Version 1.0.1 released
20-Jul-2001 :
  FLAC 1.0 is here!
(all news)

SourceForge project page
Freshmeat page
Hardware supporting FLAC:
AudioReQuest music servers
PhatBox and Kenwood Music Keg
Rio Karma portable
Rio Reciever and Dell Digital Audio Receiver via RioPlay client
Turtle Beach's AudioTron via Bery Rinaldo's Samba VFS Module
Software supporting FLAC:
abcde (A Better CD Encoder)
Arson: KDE ripper/burner
Boss Ogg: Audio client/server
Cooledit FLAC filter (source code here)
crip: console ripper/encoder/tagger
EasyTAG versatile tagger
FLAC frontend (Windows GUI)
getID3(): a PHP4 script for extracting metadata
GiantDisc: Linux jukebox + Palm remote
GStreamer streaming media framework
HASAS HydroAcoustical Signal Analysis System
J-Ogg Java libraries for Ogg decoding
JReceiver servlet-based audio server
MacFLAC Mac OS X FLAC distribution
MAREO multi-format encoder for EAC
MediaXW includes FLAC DirectShow filter
MMIOFLAC, Multimedia IOProc for OS/2
MPD, Music Player Daemon
MPEG Audio Collection
MythTV: Linux PVR and more
Ptarmigan media parser for XML
rawrec/rawplay recording/playback tools
Rhythmbox, music management application for GNOME
rip command-line ripper/encoder
SDL_sound audio add-on to SDL
Soepkip TNG music playing daemon + web interface
sonice FLAC to Vorbis transcoder
Split_wav WAV+CUE splitter
Tag comprehensive tagger (frontend available)
VideoLAN client
Xine multimedia player
XMMS: X MultiMedia System
Communities supporting FLAC:

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 Copyright (c) 2000,2001,2002,2003 Josh Coalson