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How to convert MP3 music files to open-source formats on Linux

The Mp3 codec is the most famous music file format of all time. However, it is closed-source and proprietary. As a result, some Linux distributions do not support this format. If you’re using a Linux distribution that does not support MP3, here’s how to convert your music to open-source formats.

Installing Sound Converter

It is possible to use the built-in audio tools on Linux to convert audio files to open-source formats; however, these tools are confusing to use, especially for beginners to Linux. So, instead, we’ll be using the Sound Converter tool, an easy to use GUI app that can convert audio files into any format, including open-source ones like Opus and Ogg.

To get started using Sound Converter, you must install it. To install it, open up a terminal window on the Linux desktop. Press Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, with the terminal window open, follow the command-line installation instructions below that correspond with the Linux distribution you use.


In Ubuntu, you’ll be able to quickly install the Sound Converter application from the “Universe” software repository using the following Apt command.

sudo apt install soundconverter


The Sound Converter application is available to all Debian releases (10, 9, 8, and Sid) via the “Main” software repository. If you’re using Debian and you’d like to install it, use the Apt-get command below.

sudo apt-get install soundconverter

Arch Linux

On Arch Linux, Sound Converter is available to all users via the “Community” software repository. To enable the “Community” software repo, start by opening up your Pacman.conf file in the Nano text editor.

sudo nano -w /etc/pacman.conf

Inside of Nano, use the Down Arrow key to move toward the bottom of the file till you see “Community.” Then, remove the # symbol from in front of “Community” along with any lines directly below it. When you’ve finished editing the file, press Ctrl + O to save, and Ctrl + X to exit Nano.

After you’ve finished editing the Pacman.conf file, use the Pacman command below to re-sync Pacman, and set up “Community.”

sudo pacman -Syy

Finally, install the Sound Converter application on your Arch Linux PC with:

sudo pacman -S soundconverter


Every version of Fedora Linux (31, 30, 29, and Rawhide) have Sound Converter available. To install the software on your system, use the following Dnf command.

sudo dnf install soundconverter


On OpenSUSE Linux, the Sound Converter app is available for installation on all releases (15.1, 15.0, and Tumbleweed) via the “Oss all” software repository. To start the installation, use the Zypper command below.

sudo zypper install soundconverter

Converting MP3 files to Ogg Vorbis

Out of the two dominant open-source audio formats available on Linux (OGG and OPUS), Ogg is the most used. As a result, you might have the best chances of support on Linux by converting MP3 files to Ogg. To start the conversion, launch the Sound Converter application on your Linux PC and follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Click the settings icon at the top right to access the app’s settings.

Step 2: Find the “Where to place results?” section of Sound Converter at the top of the app. Click “Into folder,” followed by “Choose.”

Step 3: Locate a folder on your Linux PC where you’d like to save the converted files, and click “Open.”

Step 4: Find “Type of result?” and change it to “Ogg Vorbis (.ogg).”

Step 5: Click “Add file” to add individual MP3 files to the app. Alternatively, click the “Add folder” button to add files in batch.

Step 6: Click the “Convert” button to begin the conversion process.

When done, open up the conversion folder to access the converted files.

Converting MP3 files to Opus

If the Ogg Vorbis format isn’t to your liking, the second-best audio format to use is Opus. To start the conversion of MP3 to Opus, open up Sound Converter on the Linux desktop. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Click on the settings icon in Sound Converter to access the settings.

Step 2: Locate “Where to place results?” Click the box next to “Into Folder.”

Step 3: Select “Choose” and set the folder you’d like to send the converted files to. For best results, try creating a new folder called “converted-songs” in the home directory (~).

Step 4: Locate the “Type of result?” section of the settings, and change the menu so that Sound Converter uses Opus as the conversion format.

Step 5: Close the settings window. Then, locate the “Add file” button, and select it to add individual MP3 files to Sound Converter. Or, select the “Add Folder” button to add in a batch of MP3 files to convert to the Opus format.

Step 6: Click on the “Convert” button to start the conversion process.

When the conversion process is complete, all of your MP3 files will be converted to Opus and in the folder set up earlier in the step-by-step process.

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