I have a number of FLAC files that I'm converting into MP3 files with the following:

flac -cd file.flac | lame ... - file.mp3

Is there a utility which will copy Vorbis (FLAC and OGG) metadata, convert it to appropriate ID3 tags, and tag an MP3 with the same tags as the FLAC file?

  • You can use avconv for the conversion and have it copy the metadata. ("Trivial answer converted to comment" -- why, thank you SE!)
    – Raphael
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 6:02
  • I'm trying to piece something together with mutagen to translate and copy the tags. I'm a purist and like to deal with the actual flac and lame binaries ;) Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 6:05
  • Happy tinkering then; from my reading, there's no clean method but "read all tags with tool A and write them with tool B" since the tag formats are incompatible. See here, for instance. (Note that avconv uses flac and lame internally.)
    – Raphael
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 6:10

2 Answers 2


Quod Libet comes with a command line tool called operon that does this and more:

operon copy song.flac song.mp3

Since Quod Libet is built on Mutagen, it knows about a bunch of obscure tags and how to translate them among the various tagging formats, which is important for some workflows. The only quirk I noticed is that it doesn't copy tags with empty values, but that doesn't bother me.

  • 1
    ffmpeg overwrites "Encoding settings", while operon preserves them. That's exactly what I needed. Thank you! Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 18:20

FFmpeg can do this

ffmpeg -i infile.flac -c copy outfile.mp3


  • With the plain -c copy option, ffmpeg will attempt to raw copy everything - including the actual flac data - into an mp3 file. That'll fail because mp3 files aren't specified to contain flac, and isn't wha thtey were after anyway.
    – Dan Pritts
    Commented Jun 27 at 19:58

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