Thousands years ago it was a time of slow and expensive dial-up internet. We spent about an hour to download just one track. 1 album a day. We had lack of free space on a hard disc. The average volume was 8 GB for everything: for Windows 98, for Microsoft Office, for games, for documents, for music collection.
MP3 format makes audio track smaller. It was a real cure. But music quality suffered like deluted orange juice. Same taste but in fact it was just water with orange smell. It is unacceptable in modern world with 4, 6, 10 TB hard drives, with 10, 50, 500 Mbps broadband connection, 10+ Mbps smartphones. Quality now wins. FLAC is more and more popular every day. On fingers FLAC works like WinZIP: it compresses Audio CD to about twice smaller file without quality losses. We can play compressed file with a quality of compact disc.
Main advantages of FLAC:
FLAC is a lossless audio format. That means a high-quality audio recording will maintain that level of quality when converted to FLAC. Some other formats (MP3, for example) carve out parts of the audio. This keeps the file sizes small, but makes a noticeable reduction in quality.
While FLAC plays back audio in its full, uncompressed state, it also keeps its files sizes small. It does this magic the same way zipped files online keep big information in a small package. Basically, it strips out bits of data from the file, remembers what it stripped out, and adds it back in whenever the file is played back. It’s more complicated than that, but you get the jist. FLAC files aren’t as small as some other formats (MP3 again), but FLAC files can be as much as half the size of an uncompressed audio file.
FLAC is an open file format. This means that anybody can use it for any purpose free of charge. By comparison, MP3 has a long and tangled history of litigation and patent fights.
There are a ton of audio players for Windows, Mac and Linux that will play FLAC, most Android devices support the format, and many online music shops will sell you albums in FLAC as well as MP3.
Finally, you can encode your FLAC files in about any bitrate and sample rate you want. A file encoded in FLAC can easily be converted to any other file format. FLAC also supports metadata tags, though it apparently doesn’t play well with ID3 tags commonly used by MP3.
FLAC sounds the same as (or better than) CD, still saves you disk space, is an open format, and all you need is a free player that would even let you convert it to another format you can use anywhere. So then, why wouldn’t you want FLAC formated music?