What is the best way to extract audio from a youtube video?
July 25, 2012 10:21 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to find the best, easiest and free way to extract audio from youtube.

This seems like it would be a pretty simple thing to do, but I've tried a bunch of free sites including the perennial favorite www.listentoyoutube.com, which 1) doesn't seem to work for me at all and 2) is a pretty spammy site.
Any suggestions for how I could extract audio from a youtube video that meet the following requirements:

1) Best- If it actually works, it will be the best. I have tried a few different sites, including:
There were some others, but I can't remember what they were. ):

In terms of non-internet based audio programs, I have not even attempted any. I have Garage Band, that's it.

2) Easy- I want to do this, but not enough to spend 8 hours screaming at my computer.

3) Free - As discussed in (2) I am not motivated enough to spend an inordinate amount of time on this, nor am I willing to make any sort of monetary investment.

Other relevant info: I am using a Mac and just trying to get a somewhat high quality mp3 of audio from a youtube video.

Any help is appreciated. Thank you.
posted by firemonkey to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

What browser are you using? I have the easy youtube video downloader addon installed in my Firefox, and it is super easy. It makes a Download button appear on YouTube pages, click, select download format, done.
posted by theatro at 10:28 PM on July 25, 2012

Let me add that the formats available to choose includes mp3, not just video.
posted by theatro at 10:29 PM on July 25, 2012

Try zamzar.com
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:37 PM on July 25, 2012

Try snipmp3.com

Copy and paste the address of the youtube video into the field, and click the Convert button.

Then, click the "Download MP3" link below.

It is standard quality, if you want better quality then that, you can use VLC Media Player, which is free. But that would involve downloading the youtube video in mp4 format first, using a site like keepvid.com
posted by Eradicator! at 11:02 PM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

*"than that"

... dammit
posted by Eradicator! at 11:04 PM on July 25, 2012

theatro (& others): Easy Youtube Video Downloader, at least in the past, has been pretty spammy/scammy itself - don't know if this is still the case, but it used to install the Yontoo adware/hijacker/plugin even if you'd de-selected the option during install. And it'd keep re-installing it silently with every update.

Despite my personal reluctance to give out my email address to random sites, I use Zamzar a lot for converting files. Generally works well, and I've never had any spam.
posted by Pinback at 11:50 PM on July 25, 2012

I've only done it twice, but I do:

1) kickyoutube.com to download the video

2) open the video in Camtasia

3) Delete the video portion while keeping the sound

Then I toss em on my ipod.

I don't know - you might be able to do step 2 in Garage Band.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 11:55 PM on July 25, 2012

I use a program called youtube-dl to download the video and then ffmpeg to extract the audio. I usually keep whatever audio format the video had instead of re-encoding, it's usually AAC or MP3 anyway and they'll fit in an mp4 wrapper just fine.

It's pretty much just:

youtube-dl UUGB7bYBlq8
ffmpeg -i UUGB7bYBlq8.WHATEVER -vn -acodec copy 'Artist -Title I Want.mp4'
and done. Except I have it scripted enough to extract, crop, resize a frame from an offset in the video to use as cover art, and set proper tags. Suits my mix of easy and flexible.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:59 AM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

You could also try audio hijack which allows you to record anything that's running on your computer. The free version allows 10 minute recording (it adds static once you're past 10 minutes), but that should be enough to record most youtube videos.
posted by Scottie_Bob at 1:31 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Video Download Helper is a well-behaved YouTube downloader for Firefox. It has a file conversion option that can use either ffmpeg or mencoder as a backend.
posted by flabdablet at 2:02 AM on July 26, 2012

Offliberty is an online youtube downloader that offers video and audio downloading and has been very reliable for me.
posted by brilliantmistake at 3:09 AM on July 26, 2012

You can't get easier than YouTube to Mp3 Converter. Open the app, open the youtube page you want, copy the link and paste into the app. Done.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 3:10 AM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm going to assume this is for legitimate purposes.

– Use Safari to open the Youtube page.
– Use the Activity Window to find the movie file.
– Use MPEG Streamclip to open the video URL.
– You can export the audio from that.
posted by stackhaus23 at 3:51 AM on July 26, 2012

Get the URL, and feed it to VLC as a new Network Stream (CMD-N). Then open the Streaming/Converting Wizard (or whatever they can it -- CMD-SHIFT-W) and set it to use the "dummy" video codec and the MP3 audio codec.

Full notes here for Windows & Mac: http://khom.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/convert-mp4-and-flv-video-to-mp3-with-vlc/
posted by wenestvedt at 6:43 AM on July 26, 2012

Audio Hijack as Scottie_bob recommended is an easy and fast way to do this.
posted by olecranon at 8:40 AM on July 26, 2012

YouTube to Mp3 Converter.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:17 AM on July 26, 2012

Youtube-mp3.org is what I always use. No ads, lightning fast, and always decent quality.
posted by hasna at 3:36 PM on July 26, 2012

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