.flac

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.flac is the file format used to store lossless audio. It is the ideal way to store audio over time. Lossless means that you only compress the audio data, no data is lost.

[edit] HOWTO split large .flac + .cue file pairs

CD backups are sometimes made as a huge .flac file with a .cue file to store meta information like the track numbers. These .flac/.cue file pairs with multiple tracks can be split into multiple files with shntool (manual)

Shell command:
shntool split -f *.cue -o flac *.flac

Then use cuetag to tag the files

Shell command:
cuetag example.cue split-track*.flac

[edit] Flac to MP3

Save this script as flac2mp3 and use it in any folder with .flac files:

Shell command:
#! /bin/sh

for a in *.flac; do
    OUTF=${a%.flac}.mp3

    ARTIST=$(metaflac "$a" --show-tag=ARTIST | sed s/.*=//g)
    TITLE=$(metaflac "$a" --show-tag=TITLE | sed s/.*=//g)
    ALBUM=$(metaflac "$a" --show-tag=ALBUM | sed s/.*=//g)
    GENRE=$(metaflac "$a" --show-tag=GENRE | sed s/.*=//g)
    TRACKNUMBER=$(metaflac "$a" --show-tag=TRACKNUMBER | sed s/.*=//g)
    DATE=$(metaflac "$a" --show-tag=DATE | sed s/.*=//g)

    flac -c -d "$a" | lame -m j -q 0 --vbr-new -V 0 -s 44.1 - "$OUTF"
    id3 -t "$TITLE" -T "${TRACKNUMBER:-0}" -a "$ARTIST" -A "$ALBUM" -y "$DATE" -g "${GENRE:-12}" "$OUTF"
done

[edit] Release standard

                       ---------------------------------
              ----==== Official.FLAC.Standard.Rules v1.1 ====----
                       ---------------------------------

+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| INTRODUCTION                                                                  |
|  To satisfy the long lasting audiophile's demand for a music scene of higher  |
|  quality than LAME mpeg compression encoding, and since nowdays space and     |
|  bandwidth are able to accomodate more, this set of rules were made to        |
|  initiate the LOSSLESS music scene space.                                     |
|  To avoid mistakes made in the music scene in the past, a group of old farts  |
|  gathered to decide upon these rules. A common understanding amongst all is   |
|  that material from non-physical media can easily be doubtful of its          |
|  origin of source and hence of questionable quality. To keep things simple    |
|  and to avoid mess as experienced in existing music scene, these rules        |
|  decided to strictly consider only physical media as a valid source.          |
|                                                                               |
| NOTE: The definitions of these keywords are to be interpreted as follows:     |
|       MUST=obligatory (not allowed if not comply).                            |
|       SHOULD=suggested.                                                       |
|       CAN+MAY=optional (allowed if not comply).                               |
|                                                                               |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| GENERAL                                                                       |
|  1.1 Releases must contain an SFV, NFO, JPG (proof).                          |
|  1.2 Currently valid media sources are: CD, VINYL for the time being.         |
|  1.3 Bonus tracks from previously released albums must be released separately.|
|      Mandatory " BONUS_TRACKS " dir tagging (ref to rule 3.6).                |  
|  1.4 Releasing a previously released album again is only allowed if:          |
|     .1 The previous release was ripped from a lower quality source.           |
|        Higher to Lower: CD > Vinyl                                            |
|     .2 The new release has 30% or 5 tracks more.                              |
|     .3 The new release has bonus tracks and the previous release is older     |
|         than 91 days.                                                         |
|  1.5 Trackfixes are not allowed, bad quality rips require a complete repack.  |
|      Obligatory -REPACK- dir tagging (ref to rule 3.6).                       |
|  1.6 The following reasons can be a reason for a bad quality rip:             |
|     .1 One or more tracks from the release are incomplete or contain skips.   |
|     .2 The tracks are distorted and constantly clipping (eg. vinyl rips).     |
|     .3 The tracks contain a constant hiss which was avoidable (eg. vinyl rips)|
|      NOTE: A -PROPER- rip with no hiss should exist. (also -PROPER- must      |
|            mention which release its propering in nfo).                       |
|  1.7 If tracks from release were already pred as bonus or inside any other    |
|      reissue/limited/special/deluxe editions they will be considered as dupes.|
|  1.8 The maximum directory and filename length is 128 characters. Directories |
|      and filenames must only contain valid characters: a-z A-Z 0-9 _ . - ()   |
|  1.9 Releasing a retail is not allowed if its 100% identical to advance       |
|      release.                                                                 |
| 1.10 All CD releases (including mixed CD's / e.g. DJ-Mixes) MUST be ripped    |
|      as separated tracks according the TOC (Table Of Contents) on the CD.     |
|      The only occasion where a CD is released as one single track is when     |
|      there is only 1 track on the CD.                                         | 
|  NOTE: Lossless data compression excludes the possibility of the introduction |
|      of padding, all lossless audio file formats are inherently gapless.      |  
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| ENCODING CD/VINYL                                                             |
|  2.1 Releases must be encoded using FLAC 1.2.1 with compression level 8 (best)|
|  2.2 Encoding quality must be: 44.100 Hz / 16 bit PCM (2.0) for CD sources    |
|      and 48.000 Hz / 24 bit PCM (2.0) for VINYL sources.                      |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| RELEASE NAME                                                                  |
|  3.1 The FLAC tag must be included in the release name before YEAR-GROUP.     |
|  3.2 Release name MUST contain: Artist, Title, Source, Year, Group.           |
|  3.3 Using CATALOGUE number in a release name is optional but recommended.    |
|  3.4 Currently valid SOURCE tags:                                             |
|      .1 CD, CDS, CDM, CDR, MCD, CDEP (2CD, 3CD etc.)                          |
|      .2 VINYL, VLS, LP, MLP, EP (2VINYL, 3VINYL etc.)                         |
|  3.5 Currently valid TYPE tags:                                         |
|      - Advance, Bonus, Bootleg, Deluxe, Digipak, Ltd, Limited, Mag, Magazine, |
|      - Promo, Reissue, Remastered, Retail, Sampler, 7-Inch, 10-Inch, 12-Inch, |
|      - Special, Collectors, Ed, Edition, Extra, Flexi, Split, Demo, Tracks.   |
|  3.5.1 TYPE can be a combination of the keywords featured in 3.5 rule using   | 
|        the _ (underscore) space replacement. (eg. -Deluxe_Special_Edition-)   |
|  3.6 Currently recommended ADDITIONAL tags:                                   |
|      - DIRFIX, NFOFIX, PROPER, READNFO, REPACK, BONUS, RERIP.                 |
|  3.7 LANGUAGE (LANG) must follow the ccTLD identifiers (2-chars):             |
|      http://www.iana.org/domains/root/db/                                     |
|  3.8 Mandatory release name formats:                                          |
|      - Artist-Title-SOURCE-FLAC-YEAR-GROUP                                    |
|      - Artist-Title-LANG-SOURCE-FLAC-YEAR-GROUP                               |
|      - Artist-Title-LANG-TYPE-SOURCE-FLAC-YEAR-GROUP                          |
|      - Artist-Title-(CATALOGUE)-LANG-ADDITIONAL-SOURCE-FLAC-YEAR-GROUP        |
|      - Artist-Title-(CATALOGUE)-LANG-TYPE-SOURCE-FLAC-YEAR-GROUP              |
|      - Artist-Title-(CATALOGUE)-LANG-ADDITIONAL-TYPE-SOURCE-FLAC-YEAR-GROUP   |
|  3.8.1 Any spaces in ARTIST and TITLE should be replaced with _ (underscore). |
|        If ARTIST or TITLE has . (dots) or - (dash), it is encouraged to be    |
|        kept as close as they appear on the cover/booklet/physical medium,     |
|        but they do not have to be nuked if not.                               |
|  3.9 .1 Internal releases must be tagged GRP_iNT or GRP_INT.                  |
|      .2 Internal releases must follow FLAC ruleset.                           |
|      .3 Internal releases must not dupe an existing one that is 732 days old  |
|      or newer.                                                                |
| 3.10 YEAR tag must be the year when the record company/artist published it.   |
|      (example: release originally released in 1990, but rip is from 2000      |
|      reissue correct year would be 2000, with additional TYPE tagging.        |
| 3.11 LANGUAGE tag is MANDATORY for non english releases.                      |
|      If the vocals are non-english and the majority of them must be described |
|      using one TLD country code abbreviation, then the most appropriate       |
|      TLD SHOULD be chosen and MUST be used as a tag in the release name.      |
| 3.12 Typos in a release name ARE NOT TOLERATED. A proper ADDITIONAL tag must  |
       be used to fix it -DIRFIX- (ref to rule 3.6).                            |
|                                                                               |
| NOTES:                                                                        |
|  - CATALOGUE + TYPE are optional tags. Altho when using, must be placed in    |
|    correct order.                                                             |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| FILENAME                                                                      |
|  4.1 Filename must at least contain: Track number, Track artist, Track title. |
|  4.2 All filenames (including SFV, NFO, JPG) should always be lowercase.      |
|  4.3 Track titles must be exactly the same as written on the covers/cd/inlay  |
|      and contain all additional infos like featured artists or remixers as    |
|      long it does not exceed the maximum filename length (see rule 1.8).      |
|  4.4 Recommended filename formats:                                            |
|      - nr-artist-title.flac                                                   |
|      - nr-artist-title_(remixer_or_featured_artist).flac                      |
|      - nr-artist-title__remixer.flac                                          |
|      - a1-artist-title.flac                                                   |
|      - b2-artist-title.flac                                                   |
|  4.5 Including -groupname in the filenames is allowed but not recommended.    |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| TAGS                                                                          |
|  5.1 Filenames must only contain vorbis comment tags.                         |
|      Mandatory ogg comment tags must be unique                                |
|  5.2 Tags must at least have: TRACKNUMBER, ARTIST, TITLE, ALBUM, GENRE,       |
|      DATE (format: YYYY).                                                     |
|  5.3 FLAC PICTURE block must be empty. Any cover, booklet scans go with       |
|      additional covers, apply to rule 7.5                                     |
|  5.4 Tag field contents allow UTF-8 character encoding but it is recommended  |
|      to use ASCII characters as much as possible. The field contents should   |
|      not be internationalized; this is only a concession to simplicity not an |
|      attempt to exclude the majority of the world that doesn't speak English. |
|  5.5 For the time being GENRE tag MUST be the same for all the files of the   |
|      release and it MUST be one of the genres listed in the id3 specification |
|      list: http://www.id3.org/id3v2.3.0#line-1089 and the additional nullsoft |
|      genres index number 125 onwards. namely:                                 |
|      Goa, Drum & Bass, Club House, Hardcore, Terror, Indie, BritPop,          |
|      Negerpunk, Polsk Punk, Beat, Christian Gangsta Rap, Heavy Metal,         |
|      Black Metal, Crossover, Contemporary Christian, Christian Rock,          |
|      Merengue, Salsa, Thrash Metal, Anime, JPop, Synthpop, Unknown.           |
|  5.5.1 These additional genres are considered valid for the previous ruleset  |
|        as well and any nuked releases for that reason should be unnuked.      |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| PROMO/BOOTLEG                                                                 |
|  6.1 Promo releases can always be duped by any retail release even if the     |
|      tracks on both releases are identical.                                   |
|  6.2 Promo releases with voice over, silence, cuts on tracks are not allowed. |
|  6.3 A bootleg is a release or recording that was not officially released by  |
|      the artist or record company (unofficial / unlicensed recordings).       |
|  6.4 Conditions for bootleg releases are:                                     |
|      - There are no signs that the record company really released it.         |
|      - The artist or record company did not confirm the release as valid.     |
|      - The record company has no connection to the artist on the release.     |
|      - The record company does not exist and the release not self-released.   |
|      - The release is not available at at least three retail stores.          |
|  6.5 Currently valid retail stores (alphabetic order):                        |
|      - www.amazon.com                                                         |
|      - www.boomkat.com                                                        |
|      - www.bestbuy.com                                                        |
|      - www.cduniverse.com                                                     |
|      - www.decks.de                                                           |
|      - www.deejay.de                                                          |
|      - www.hmv.com                                                            |
|      - www.juno.co.uk                                                         |
|      - www.sonymusicstore.com                                                 |
|      - www.virgin.com                                                         |
|      - www.ukdancerecords.com                                                 |
|      - www.walmart.com                                                        |
| NOTE: The shop itself must sell the record, no private sellers.               |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| PROOF                                                                         |
|  7.1 Releases must always contain a proof CAMERA picture in JPG format.       |
|  7.2 Proof camera pictures must contain both, medium and cover together.      |
|      If cover isnt possible, a booklet or promo sheet or anything valid       |
|      proving ripper has release. If the medium/cover/booklet contain anything |
|      that may expose your identity, then that part of image can be blurred or |
|      blackened.                                                               |
|  7.3 The proof picture MUST include small piece of paper over medium and/or   |
|      cover with GRP name.                                                     |
|      Artist, title and any other relevant info that proves release, must not  |
|      be hidden behind the piece of paper.                                     |
|  7.4 GROUP tag must be photographed in the proof picture, software-edited     |
|      tags are considered invalid proof. Camera picture proof must not be      |
|      changed except to hide anything that might expose ripper (read rule 7.2).|
|  7.5 Additional scans may be added but DO NOT count for proof.                |
|  7.6 Proof camera pictures resolution must be at least 640 width and 480      |
|      height in JPEG format.                                                   |
|      Artist and/or album/single title must be clearly readable.               |
|  7.7 Proof fixes are not allowed, missing proof picture or bad resolution     |
|      requires a complete repack.                                              |
| NOTE: EXIF metadata should be removed from JPEG files! Uniquely identifying   |
|       information such as the camera serial number and GPS coordinates can    |
|       pose a security threat if not removed, so this is very ESSENTIAL!       |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|                                                                               |
|  CHANGELOG:                                                                   |
|                                                                               |
|  2011-10-03 first version (v1.0)                                              |
|  2011-10-10 rule 1.10 with NOTE added to forbid single file+cue unless        |
|             source is single track with index.                                |
|  2011-10-10 rule 3.5.1 added (explanation for TYPE tag).                      |
|  2011-10-10 rule 3.8.1 added (explanation for ARTIST and TITLE tags).         |
|  2011-10-10 rule 5.1 adjusted                                                 |
|  2011-10-10 rule 5.5 adjusted                                                 |
|  2011-10-10 rule 5.5.1 added                                                  |
|                                                                               |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|                                                                               |
|  Rules signed by (in alphabetic order):                                       |
|                                                                               |
|  2Eleven AUDIO BriBerY dL FWYH GRAVEWISH LITF MANDY PsyCZ SATURN SCORN SPL    |
|                                                                               |
|  FLAC rules V1.1  apply from 2011-10-03 00:00:00 GMT.                         |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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