What is the difference between an MP3, an FLAC and an ALAC file?

MP3 is a “lossy” compression file format that permanently throws away bits of data and sacrifices the quality of audio to keep the size of the file relatively small. We typically only offer 256kbps and 320kbps MP3 downloads.

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) & ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) are both “lossless” file formats that reduce the size of the file but do not cause a decrease in audio quality. Both FLAC & ALAC are the equivalent of listening to a CD. Both FLAC & ALAC are 16-bit with a sample rate of 44.1 KHz. File sizes are much larger than MP3s.

FLAC & ALAC also support high resolution audio which is greater than the quality of a CD. When available, there will be a FLAC-HD & ALAC-HD option available in the store. These files are 24-bit with sample rates up to 96 KHz. File sizes are much larger than standard FLAC & ALAC files and significantly larger than MP3s.