Do you use YouTube to listen to music? YouTube Music exists, but it costs money. If you want to save your YouTube videos as audio files, certain websites and software will strip out the music tracks and convert them into MP3 files, which you can save to your computer and listen to offline.
If you simply want to download YouTube videos, we have a guide for that, but here we'll focus on the task of downloading them as audio files. This way you don't have to worry about skipping those annoying ads when you're just trying to listen to music.
A Legal Warning
Before diving in, let's get one thorny issue out of the way: Is this type of conversion and download legal? That depends on the video. You can certainly convert and download your own personal YouTube videos, as well as public domain and non-copyrighted videos.
You can find this kind of content by searching YouTube for "public domain" and "non-copyrighted" content or filtering your search to include videos with music licensed by Creative Commons. Otherwise, you can't legally convert and download copyrighted videos without the owner's permission.
As a word of warning, a spokesperson for Google had this to say: "Our Terms of Serviceprohibit the downloading or copying of videos on YouTube without explicit consent from the copyright holder. Once notified of an infringing tool or service that allows the downloading of a YouTube video without permission from the content owner, we take appropriate action."
Beware Buggy and Malicious Sites
You should also be careful with online video conversion sites. Many of them can be buggy or even try to infect your system with malware. A site may start off as safe and reliable but then become malicious over time. Before you try using any website to convert a YouTube video, make sure you are running dependable and updated antivirus software.
With those caveats in mind, let's check out a few websites and programs that can convert YouTube videos into audio files.
At the Dirpy website, you paste the URL of a YouTube video into the search field and click the Dirpy button. This will show you various details about the file, including the name, duration, and ID3 tag data.
In the Record Audio section on the right, set the format to mp3 and set the quality to the highest (320 kbps). Click Record Audio and, you are prompted to save the MP3 file to your computer.
Motionbox's YouTube to MP3
Motionbox's YouTube To MP3 is a conversion website that lets you convert YouTube videos into multiple file formats. For our purposes here, make sure the conversion option is set to MP3. Paste the URL for the YouTube video in the appropriate field.
After the conversion, a mini audio player appears. You can listen to the audio by clicking the Play button. To download the file to your computer, click the three-dot icon and select Download. The only glitch here is that the player and download function work fine in Chrome and Microsoft Edge, but not in Firefox.
A purveyor of different software utilities, AceThinker also offers a YouTube conversion site. Pste in the YouTube link and click the Download button to the right. After the name of the song appears, click the Download button underneath it. By default, your audio conversion options are limited to 128K. Click the Download button next to that option and save the MP3 file to your PC.
If you want a higher-quality audio formats—and faster downloads—you will need to install AceThinker’s Music Keeper software, which you can grab by clicking the Free Download button on the conversion page. You can then convert YouTube videos directly from the app.
After a free trial, it costs $39.95 for a lifetime license, $25.95 for a one-year license, and $9.95 for a one-month license.
4K YouTube to MP3
4K YouTube to MP3 is a conversion program you can install on your Windows or Mac computer. The free version limits you to 15 conversions per day. To increase that number and serve up additional benefits, the seller also offers several paid versions.
The program tries to make the conversion process as quick and simple as possible. Just paste the video's URL at the software’s home screen, and the conversion automatically kicks off. The resulting file is automatically downloaded to a 4K YouTube to MP3 subfolder in your Music folder. You can then play the audio directly from the software or from another program on your PC.
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MediaHuman's YouTube to MP3 Converter
MediaHuman offers a free conversion program called YouTube to MP3 Converter for you to install onto your computer. Though simple to use, the software provides an array of advanced options. To get started, just copy and paste or drag and drop the YouTube URL into the program and then click the Start Download button.
You can even convert and download multiple videos at once. After the file is added to your computer, right-click on it in the program and select Locate Saved File. File Explorer or Finder appears with the audio ready for you to play.
To venture beyond the basic features, click the General options icon on the bottom toolbar and then select Preferences. Here, you can opt to automate link pasting and downloading, control downloads, tweak network bandwidth, play with the iTunes settings, and change the audio format and download folder.
Though you get all these features for free, a $9.99-per-year Turbo Boost mode significantly speeds up converting and downloading to just a few seconds.
If you just want to listen to songs on YouTube and don't need an MP3 file, YouTube Music allows you to listen to your favorite music. Songs can’t be downloaded for use outside the app, but a YouTube Premium paid subscription will allow you to add offline listening, remove ads, download music for offline listening, and play music in the background while using your device.
With YouTube Music for iOS and Android, you can browse and search for music from different artists, albums, and genres on YouTube. Select your favorite artists, and the app spins up a playlist of recommended channels; popular videos are served up through a video hotlist. The app keeps track of the music and channels you access so you can easily return to them. And you can create your own library of favorite music.
After a one-month free trial, YouTube Music Premium is $9.99 a month on Android or $12.99 a month on iOS. That extra $3 on iOS is to cover the 30% fee Apple charges developers for in-app payments, but you can avoid the added cost by signing up on the web for $9.99 and accessing your premium account on your iPhone or iPad. YouTube also offers family and student plans for $14.99 and $4.99 per month, respectively.
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