Neil Young's Pono has been in the news a lot recently, but not many people know that the new player is designed as a way to playback FLAC files, primarily those bought from PonoMusic. While you could wait till the Pono Web store comes online sometime in the next year, there are ways you can get your hands on FLAC music right now.
If you want to listen to better-quality digital music, then FLAC files are a great way to do it. They typically use half the storage space of uncompressed music files and should sound identical to music played from a CD. And yes, you can use apps like FLAC Player to listen to them on iOS devices. Or the PonoPlayer of course.
Like MP3s, there are two main ways to get FLACs legally: rip them from CDs, or buy them directly. While we cover how to rip your own music to FLAC format here, there are several sites that offer FLAC album downloads for less than the price of a CD, and yet offer the same level of quality. You'll find that most of these sites are independent and that's because major labels have yet to embrace fully lossless downloads, presumably because of the ever-present "piracy concerns."
Below are the best stores that sell the FLAC format. If you're interested in higher-than-CD quality, some of the following sites also offer 24-bit "HD" downloads for an extra charge.… Read more