CD Baby Artists’ Music Now Available in FLAC, MP3-320, or Standard MP3

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FLAC Files Available from CD BabyCD Baby now offers your music in a “lossless” audio format

Good news for CD Baby artists (and audiophiles): your fans can now choose between FLAC, MP3-320, and standard MP3 when they purchase your music on cdbaby.com.

So what exactly is the difference between these file formats?

Audio file formats offered by CD Baby

MP3  — CD Baby encodes MP3s using the standard preset of the lame encoder, yielding Variable Bit-rate MP3s with a target bit-rate of around 200kbps.

MP3-320 — According to ISO standards, MP3-320 is the highest bit-rate MP3 file that audio decoders are required to produce (though some encoders can create MP3s up to 640 kbit/s).

FLAC  — FLAC files are “lossless,” meaning they’ve been compressed without any loss of audio information. They’re CD-quality!

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For any customer who wants to purchase the highest fidelity digital files available, FLAC is the answer.

Note: some media players cannot play FLAC files, but you can download free programs like Media Monkey, Songbird, or xACT to play/convert FLAC files.

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  • YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Now this is what I call digital music distribution at its truest. Time to get those digital-only releases in lossless format! (Scheming Star, Feel This, Glorious …)

  • I would also suggest that they offer different lossless versions. HDTracks offers Aiff, WAV and even Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC). But still, a step in the right direction, CDBaby!

    • Guest

      it is better to be able to Upload with at least 24 bit wave, and then work your way down. If CDbaby isn’t allowing for the best possible upload then the “customers” are being led to believe that they are getting a choice of a better sound. If the artists/musicians as “customers” parade over the fact that the other “customers” can have a choice then we are just a party to the fraud

  • That's good news.

  • m/ !!!

  • Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Now CDBaby has a distinct digital distribution advantage over iTunes/Amazon/etc. Thank you CDBaby for listening!

  • Jimmy

    This gives justification to the work people do to make their songs sound flawless. Hopefully consumers will transition to these ” lossless ” formats.

  • Christopher North

    this is flipping awesome! now, how about a "buy all" button??? for artists with multiple releases (with a price set by the artist as a steal deal)

  • hans timmermans

    Fantastic! As a composer of Electro Acoustic (Art) Music I favor to get my music at the best quality at the listener. Thank you CDbaby!

  • Hugh Caley

    How about Apple Lossless? Could that be done without a license? It would be handy; there are a lot of Mac users that could play those without having to download a special music client.

  • Hugh Caley

    Definitely a step in the right direction! Nice to see CD Baby being aggressive about adding new features. Makes me glad my work is here.

  • Completely Brilliant! I had been trying to figure out, for my next release , a way of getting around mp3, with flac. You guys rock, now if we could just up the ante and get people intp SACD, Or at Least Dvd -a, and like ending the loudness wars, end the Lowest common denominator when it comes to listening to music. I've always felt bad trying to get people to buy mp3.

  • It’s about time. For classical music, anything less than MP3 @ 320kb isn’t really acceptable. The difference in clarity, dynamic range, and depth is very noticeable between an MP3 at less than that and the original uncompressed .WAV file, particularly with large ensembles (symphony orchestra, concert band) when there’s a lot going on at the same time. Thanks for doing this.

  • Jeff Wyatt

    This is such good news. Thanks!!!

  • Scott Dennis

    I am very excited about this. It's about time music consumers have access to a lossless format. The MP3 was useful when network speeds were slow and storage was limited. Now a smart phone or other digital music playing can hold upwards of 40,000 songs. Time for a lossless high quality format.

  • Thanks for sharing our excitement about lossless audio!

    @ChrisRobley

  • No plans in the short term, but I'll see what our developers can do. Thanks for the suggestion.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Hackej

    It would be even better if we also could upload higher resolution files (24/96 etc) and not have to convert and resample our masters to 16/44.1. Any plans for that?

  • Sorry. No plans for the near future.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Is this only for new material, or will CD Baby be encoding the existing catalog into lossless formats?

  • Well, the customer is getting the choice of a better quality audio file. We enable 16-bit wave file uploads, which is CD-quality. When we convert those to FLAC, there is no loss — and so what the customer hears is CD-qaulity too — which is, of course, better than an MP3.

    @ChrisRobley

    • Dusan

      I’m recording new classical music “cd” at the moment.
      I would like to distribute it through CD Baby BUT,
      I would like to sell same audio tracks in HD quality (192/24,96/24) too (on my own website or other HD music websites).
      How can it be regulated?
      Thanks,
      Dusan

  • jglll

    Hi, i just bought “Terrestrial Exiled – Duodecimal Levorotation” in flac version on your website, but the spectral view shows an audio compression as if your flac version was taken from a lossy mp3! Is it possible that your flac version is not lossless???? if it is i’m very disapointed!

  • The only way that would happen is if the artist uploaded an MP3 when they signed up the album, which we strongly strongly strongly urge all artists NOT to do. We always ask for CD-quality files to make sure we're starting with the best audio. I'm not sure if the album you purchased falls into the rare category of 'artist who uploaded crappy audio,' but please feel free to write cdbaby@cdbaby.com or call us (1-800-Buy-My-CD) and we can look into it for you.

    @ChrisRobley

    • parapher

      So does this mean CD Baby is not ripping the tracks from CD but instead lets the artist/company provide/upload the audio however they please? I purchased a binaural track from Monroe Products, which I had already purchased before on their website as a 320 CBR MP3 but I wanted the FLAC version, which they did not provide. So when I saw the FLAC version at CD Baby I purchased it again, thinking you guys ripped it from CD directly. But now your comment is casting doubt on the purity of the original file. Please comment.

  • Hi Dusan,

    You're more than welcome to set up your own music store on your website to sell songs directly to fans. Sales on cdbaby.com are non-exclusive, so you're totally free to do that AND work with us.

    @ChrisRobley

  • We rip right from CD unless the artist prefers to upload themselves (which is the case for digital-only releases). In that case, it's just up to the quality of the upload from the artist, so obviously we want them to send us great sounding files to begin with, thus limiting the damage when it's compressed to something like "standard" MP3.

    @ Chris Robley

    • parapher

      Sure. So how do I know if I’m getting a straight CD-rip, which is the only reason I bought from CD Baby in FLAC format? To get a FLAC conversion of a 320kbps CBR MP3 and pay another $20,- I cannot stomach. And yes, the album I downloaded says “available for download only”. Sigh.

      This should really not be this way. If you offer FLAC you cannot then provide lossless version of files originally in a lossy format if the artist/company offers those track on CD but can’t be bothered to provide you with lossless. That is plain misleading and an extremely grey area (how would anyone even know?). Especially if the artist/company of the album has all those tracks available in CD format as in this case. Plus, the site is called “CD” Baby which I thought would have sealed it.

      I understand your efforts in providing FLAC and applaud them, but I have just spent $40,- on an album that I already bought for $20. Now I have a FLAC converted file of an MP3. Hemi-Sync products used to provide FLAC as well, so it surprised me I could only get MP3 from them when I first bought it from them directly in the first place. This album in particular (‘Into the Light) I need in lossless format. So when I saw CD Baby’s offering, saying they were providing FLAC, I thought I found my download.

      How do we resolve this? I’m sorry but I’m not paying another $20 for something I already bought a week ago from another company who *used to* provide FLAC, etc.

  • I just sent this info to our customer service team and they'll be in touch, and can figure out the best solution for you.

    @ Chris Robley

  • Robertaz

    It’s “Media Monkey”, not “Media Money”. Secondly, the sentence should read “but you can download free programs……”, not “but you can download a free program…..”

  • mpitts1

    Thanks for the chance to download Vernon Drozd and the Texas Brass. My dad, Otis Pitts was one of the musicians on that album. He played the tenor saxophone. He passed away 10 years ago, and this has brought back pleasant memories of that time, when he was with the group. He played in the US Navy Band during WW2, and in my opinion was a better saxophone player than Vernon. I wish the CD was available so I could have the cover and liner notes. I was thrilled to see his name listed in the description of the artists. My dad loved to play that horn and at one point played 14 months , 7 nights a week, and worked at the Houston Post newspaper 5 days a week, at the same time. He never missed a set, or a day at work. Thanks for all those memories, as I went with him many times and listened to him play. I am 61 years old now and will treasure this for the rest of my life.

    Thanks,
    Mathew Otis Pitts,III

  • Hi Matthew,

    Nice. I’m glad the recording brought back lots of warm memories. Sounds like your dad had an unfailing work ethic. Impressive. Now I think I should go listen to the music.

    @ChrisRobley