LAME library

I downloaded a royalty free mp3 file from audionautix, Audacity did not succeed to open the mp3 (I don’t know why), I read that you can add this LAME in order to fix it.
The problem is that on the LAME page I read this:
“LAME is free, but in some countries you may need to pay a license fee in order to legally encode MP3 files.”

I am from Italy, I need to pay the license fee or not? Taking into account I use Audacity for podcast.

It’s not a licensing problem.* The MP3 patents have expired and LAME is for encoding/making MP3s, not for decoding/opening. In the past Audacity didn’t include LAME because nobody was paying license fees so it was a “gray market” 3rd-party download. Now it’s built-into Audacity.

Anyway… Most likely you have a slightly non-compliant MP3. There is a [u]work-around using FFmpeg[/u] which is less finicky than the default built-in decoder. If you haven’t already installed FFmpeg you’ll have to [u]download and install it[/u].

Or, you can use a 3rd-party converter (such as Kabuu Audio Converter or TAudioConverter) to convert the MP3 to WAV.


  • MP3 doesn’t support copy protection or DRM. A license WAS required if you wanted to distribute an MP3 encoder or decoder and I THINK you needed a license to distribute MP3 but as long as you had a licensed CODEC you could make your own MP3s or play them. For example, it you had Windows, or iTunes, or an iPod you had a licensed decoder and you could legally play MP3s.

As DVDdoug wrote, LAME is now included in Audacity as the patents that previously restricted distribution have now expired.

Test the MP3 on this page: MediaInfoOnline - MediaInfo in your browser
What does that say about the file format?

What does that say about the file format?

Complete name : AcousticBlues.mp3
Format : MPEG Audio
File size : 2.33 MiB
Duration : 2 min 32 s
Overall bit rate mode : Constant
Overall bit rate : 128 kb/s
Album : MED
Genre : BLUES
Writing library : LAME3.91
BPM : 2:32
ISRC : QM-QFZ-13-00004

Format : MPEG Audio
Format version : Version 1
Format profile : Layer 3
Format settings : Joint stereo / MS Stereo
Duration : 2 min 32 s
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 128 kb/s
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Sampling rate : 44.1 kHz
Frame rate : 38.281 FPS (1152 SPF)
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 2.33 MiB (100%)
Writing library : LAME3.91

That looks OK.

What exactly happens when you try to import it?

If you are not already doing so, try importing it with Audacity’s “File menu > Import > Audio”.

Audacity said me that miss FFmpeg, I tried to follow the link and I came up with this question about LAME, because I need to install LAME

Which version of Audacity do you have? (Look in “Help menu > About Audacity”)


The current version of Audacity is 3.0.5 and it includes LAME. It is available here:
Note that if you are using 32-bit Windows, you will need the 32-bit version of Audacity.

I would recommend uninstalling Audacity 2.4.2 before installing 3.0.5.

See also here for important information regarding differences between Audacity 2.x and 3.x:

I unistalled the previous version than I installed the new one. I imported the file and again it said me that I miss the FFmpeg library.

Very strange. I wonder why it is doing that.

Go to “Edit menu > Preferences > Extended Import”
Does it look like this?

Yes, I don’t know maybe is the file, you can download it here
Sometimes when I click on preferences, windows say the app does not respond for 1 or 2 seconds, than everythings works well.

I’m getting a “403 Forbidden error” from that link.

The new 64-bit Audacity requires the [u]64-bit version of FFmpeg[/u]. The file you’ll download and run to install is named FFmpeg_v2.2.2_for_Audacity_on_Windows_64bit.exe (which is slightly different from the name of the link).

I searched for the file instead of using the link and I was able to download the file (AcousticBlues.mp3) and it opened in Audacity 3.0.4 without going-through FFmpeg!

Look in “Help > Diagnostics > Show log”
Do you see lines like this:

19:42:27: Opening with libmad
19:42:27: Opening with libav
19:42:27: Open(... acousticblues.mp3) succeeded

I think that’s quite likely.
Is this the same file? File:Audionautix-com-ccby-acousticblues.mp3 - Wikimedia Commons

Yes that is the file.

I’m pretty sure there is something wrong with the file (and I assume you can open other MP3s) but I could open it with no issues. Maybe try downloading it again.

You can play the file in Windows Media Player (or whatever you normally use), right?

Try converting the file with [u]Kabuu Audio Converter[/u] or [u]TaudioConverter[/u]. That’s virtually the same thing that happens when you open an MP3 in Audacity except Audacity doesn’t automatically put the decompressed audio data into a WAV file.

There are sometimes “bad” MP3s that play OK but won’t open in Audacity, and sometimes files named MP3 are actually a different format. You really DO have an MP3 but we don’t know if there is something wrong with it.

Audacity has gone-through some changes where some versions are less-picky and some are more-picky about “imperfect” MP3s.


BTW - What are your plans for this MP3 file? Maybe you don’t even need Audacity… :smiley:

There is a program called [u]MP3directCut[/u] that can do some limited editing without de-compressing and re-compressing the file.

As you may know, MP3 is lossy compression and additional “damage” happens if you open an MP3 in a “regular” audio editor and then re-compress to MP3 again. (You may not hear any quality loss and sometimes it can’t be avoided, but it’s something you should be aware of.)

I have a program called [u]MP3diags[/u] that can diagnose and repair many different MP3 problems. It’s an “advanced hacker tool” and I don’t fully understand it so I’d only recommend it as a “last resort” but it does give me a warning with your MP3 file:

Unknown stream found. Since other streams follow. it is possible that players and tools will have problems using the file. Removing the stream is recommended.

I didn’t bother “repairing” the file since I didn’t have any trouble opening it anyway.

…If you can get the file open in Audacity, re-exporting will create a new file and it will be OK.

Follow the instructions here to install FFmpeg: Installing FFmpeg for Windows - Audacity Manual

I believe there is a minor problem with that file that is causing Audacity’s built-in MP3 decoder to fail, but if you have the current version of Audacity and FFmpeg for Audacity, then Audacity will try importing with FFmpeg as a fall back. On my machine, this works and Audacity successfully imports the file using “libav” (FFmpeg).