I was just searching the internet for this, but could not find anything.
Why is there no such thing as a single-file music album format? That is, a single file with the album cover as the icon, that contains all songs (in lossy or lossless format), and can be played by a music player. Basically something like a digital Audio-CD. I think a self-contained single file would make much more sense than having a folder with the single songs.
Does anyone know if there is something like this and I just missed it?
I think an .ISO file fits this description.
I can get an ISO of a CD then drag it into VLC to play it.
As for why standalone players (probably) don’t do this is memory. Havin to load an entire album into working memory to extract and play each song would up the hardware requirements.
But this may be mostly a historical issue; a problem when the first MP3 players came out, likely quite feasible today.
(I have an old Phillips CD/MP3 player that plays MP3s off a CD-R, so technically it worked off a single ISO image.)
FLAC allows this. I’ve seen a lot of people rip their CD collections with each CD being a single FLAC file. When doing this, you generate a cue file with all the track data. I believe there are other formats that allow this, as well.
I think the only reason you don’t see this in distribution is simply lack of interest/demand.
True, ISOs and FLAC with cue file indeed allow for this. Haven’t thought about these! Was more thinking along the lines of a zipped folder that contains the individual files, including album art file. Apparently some players can play those kind of zip files!
I think the problem with using cue files would be that it is not self-contained, as you always need the cue file in addition. And ISOs do not support several formats.
Drafted a specification and made an example player for it: https://zipped-album.github.io/