How to download audio from NPR stream?
June 8, 2011 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I want to download the audio from streams of concerts hosted on NPR's website - these are audio broadcasts that one can stream in their NPR Media Player (I'd like to be able to listen to these while not connected to the internet). Is there an easy way to do this? I've got Windows 7 on a laptop and XP on another. Thanks for any help.

Several of the specific concerts include:

James Blake at SXSW 2011 (his studio work cannot compare IMHO)

Tom Waits at the Fox Theater, Atlanta 2008 (I've got the record but prefer the specific versions from this concert)

Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo from Newport Jazz Festival 2009 (and they do have a duet album coming out, hallelujah)
posted by J0 to Technology (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I used Audiohijack Pro on macs for this and have been told that this "Total Recorder" thing fulfills the same role on the windows side. I have no personal experience with it, but it might be worth checking out.
posted by Winnemac at 10:49 AM on June 8, 2011

You can use any simple audio recording software, such as the free Audacity, to record whatever sound is produced by your PC. This is the most basic way to capture these things. You'll just need to set the recording input to be the output of your soundcard. You will need to record live, in real time. There will be ways to download the broadcasts directly, but these might be fiddly, though you will probably get answers helping you out there.
posted by cincinnatus c at 10:49 AM on June 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

In the iTunes Store, I see the Tom Waits concert listed under podcasts (which is free). Just search through iTunes for the other shows (if you are an iTunes user)
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:30 AM on June 8, 2011

One note: The Tom Waits podcast is weird, it doesn't all me to skip ahead on my iPod. But it's there on my iPod, and it's wonderful.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:54 AM on June 8, 2011

Best answer: NPR uses a Flash frontend to play back media files, but we can find out what files the player is requesting. You'll need a web browser that's capable of showing you what URLs are being requested, or a plugin that does the same. I'm using Google Chrome, so the steps below are for it in particular.

1. In Chrome, open the NPR homepage. In a new tab, you'll open Chrome's Internal Network Tools by entering chrome://net-internals in the URL bar.
2. Click the Events tab in the tools window.
3. Enter "npr" in the filter box.
4. Switch back to the NPR homepage and find the audio you want to download. Click the link that opens the media player with the content you want to download.
5. Switch back to the tools window. The log should be full of requests to various NPR servers. You are looking for a URL that looks like this: (there will be a lot of other information where I've placed xxx in this URL). Copy the URL and open a new tab and paste it in.
6. You will see an XML file appear. About half-way down, you'll find an audio container with a link to an MP3 in it. This is the programme you want to download. The URL will look like this: (again, the xxxs will be replaced with actual programme information).
7. Copy and paste the MP3 URL into another tab. Chrome's MP3 player will start to load the audio and play it.
8. Right click in the grey background area of the player and choose Save As..., give the file a descriptive name and hit save. The download appears in the status bar. You can close the MP3 player or keep listening.
9. Once the download is complete, you'll have your copy of the programme. Load it into your favourite software or hardware player and you can listen any time you want without being connected to the Internet.

To test my steps, I've downloaded the three concerts you've mentioned in your post. If the steps above have made your eyes glaze over, MeMail me and I'll see about getting the files to you so you don't have to go through the above.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 12:22 PM on June 8, 2011 [21 favorites]

When I said there would be ways to download the streams directly though it would be fiddly, I didn't realise it would be as fiddly as NordyneDefenceDynamics makes out!
posted by cincinnatus c at 3:31 PM on June 8, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks NDD!

I will admit; I was afraid. But, the thing is, with instructions... follow them. So I did. And it worked. Fiddly? No, only perception of fiddly. Hu-rah!
posted by J0 at 7:15 AM on June 10, 2011

Just would like to point out that NordyneDefenceDynamics' walk-through also makes downloading from the type of players here incredibly easy as well (At least on CBC and their players):

Open Chrome
Go to page, find desired audio
Begin playing audio
Paste chrome://net-internals/
Click Events tab
Filter mp3
Copy URL
Go to MeFi and make a link in a comment box so you have something to right click and Save Link As... (You may have your own way of Save Link URLS)
Make sure you don't post that link as a comment or you'll look weird with a sting of garble linking to some random mp3.

Apologies if this isn't on-topic, or is blisteringly obvious to everyone already, but it's something that's bugged me for a long time and I'm really jazzed to find a solution. Thanks again, NordyneDefenceDynamics! I am in your debt, good sir.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:27 AM on July 2, 2011

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