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After getting a complete, confirmed Artist's account on Google Play Music and attempting to upload my podcasts, I realized there was a requirement that all provided files must be FLAC or WAV files under 250MB. My files are already in the highest "compression" that FLAC offers, but the smallest one is ~260MB. Does anyone know how to compress a 1.5- to 2-hour FLAC (or WAV if you're a wizard) file to under 250MB?

I already talked with Google Play Music Artist Support, and they said this:

Unfortunately this is out of the artist support area of knowledge and expertise. We can only advise that for files larger than about 250 MB, you'll need to either break them apart, or try downgrading the file type. There are many forms you can check out where other users might be more helpful.

Well, I figure there is no forum better at this than a Stack Exchange one, so... here I am!

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Perhaps you would be better off editing for time. You don't have much farther to go down. –  Brad Aug 18 '13 at 4:08
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3 Answers

The problem is that Google Play Music does not currently have support for Podcasts. Due to this, it is going to be next to impossible for you to get a file down to the necessary size without breaking it into sections and publishing them as an album.

Even at the 320kbps quality that Google Play produces for end user consumption from the FLAC files, you would be looking at over 250MB for two hours of audio, so even going against the guidelines and trying to apply compression prior to making a FLAC would result in a vastly sub-standard result (because FLAC isn't going to be as small as the compressed audio you worked from most likely).

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Maybe you could try to reduce the sample rate. Does they say anything about a required sample rate ?

I guess you're recording in 44Hz, you should try to reduce it to 22Hz. It will lower the quality, but it can be unnoticed, especially if it's mostly voice, and your file will be around half the initial size.

I just tried it on a FLAC song and the result is pretty good (and I go from 62 MB to 36 MB)

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I just went to try that... but nope. It says "Confirm your tracks are the correct format, either .flac or .wav at 16, 24 or 32 bitrate, 44.1 kbps." –  Supuhstar Aug 26 '13 at 4:26
    
And I guess your bitrate is 16 :) –  Julien N Aug 27 '13 at 9:22
    
Yes, and I've used the highest level of FLAC compression :c –  Supuhstar Aug 27 '13 at 13:39
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If you don't care about some quality loss, you can run the original audio track for each episode through a lossy audio encoder first (creating an mp3 or AAC file, for instance), then run the resulting file through a lossless FLAC or WAV encoder. The result will be an exact copy of the lower-quality audio in FLAC or WAV format, which should technically work under Google's guidelines. This is not an ideal solution, since quality is lost, but if you have exhausted all other measures, such as editing, it's viable.

How much compression you will need in the lossy phase is hard to predict, you'll just need to experiment. Make the lossy encoder settings as high-quality as possible while keeping the final output under 250MB. Also keep in mind that even if the lossy file is pretty small, making it FLAC or WAV will increase its size dramatically, so your experimentation will need to include both steps in the processing chain.

I hope this helps.

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This also appears to be against Google's guidelines. They say here to never encode from a lower quality format in to a higher quality one. –  AJ Henderson Aug 17 '13 at 15:59
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Lossy codecs work in dramatically different ways than FLAC. Going from a lossy-compressed source to FLAC may even increase the size of your file than if you would have went from the original, depending on the source material. Definitely going to WAV from a lossy-compressed source won't make a bit of difference at all. –  Brad Aug 18 '13 at 4:07
    
As stated above, this method is intended as a last resort, when other options are no longer viable and only a small size reduction is needed. –  Tortilla Aug 18 '13 at 7:16
    
Unfortunately, a substantial size reduction is needed. Also, this won't work at all; the FLAC will just assume that the lossy distortions are intentional and re-encode them as precisely as possible –  Supuhstar Aug 18 '13 at 17:33
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It seems my final sentence was nothing more than a naive prayer. –  Tortilla Aug 18 '13 at 21:29
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