Do you use YouTube for the music? If you want to save your favorite YouTube videos as audio files, certain websites and software can strip out the music tracks and convert them into MP3 files, which you can then save to your computer and listen to offline.
To download YouTube videos, we have a guide for that too, but here we’ll focus on the task of downloading them as audio files.
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; just search YouTube for “public domain” and “non-copyrighted” content. But 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 Service prohibit 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 Some Sites
You should also be careful with online video conversion sites. Many of them can be buggy, or worse, attempt to infect your system with malware. Before you check out any such website, make sure you’re running dependable and updated antivirus software to block any malicious attacks, just in case.
With those caveats in mind, let’s check out how you can convert YouTube videos into audio files.
MP3FY is a website that lets you copy and paste the URL of the YouTube video you want to convert. Just add the link and click the Convert button. Click Confirm to verify the name of the video and then click Download MP3. Save the MP3 file to your computer, where you can play it in your favorite music player.
MP3FY can also convert a video to MP3 directly from YouTube. Add the letters fy between youtube and .com in the URL for the YouTube video you want to convert. That takes you to the MP3FY website, where you follow the same steps to convert and download the MP3 file.
Motionbox’s YouTube to MP3
Motionbox’s YouTube To MP3 tool is another reliable and hassle-free conversion site. Copy and paste the URL for the YouTube video in the appropriate field. After conversion, you can preview the audio before you download it. To save it to your computer, click the Download MP3 button and then click Trim and Download MP3.
4K YouTube to MP3
Here’s a conversion program you download, install, and run on your Windows PC or Mac. The basic version of 4K YouTube to MP3 is free. If you want to cut out the ads, download YouTube playlists and channels, and receive future updates to the software, the premium version costs $15 for three personal licenses.
With 4K Video Downloader, you can convert and download YouTube content as video or audio files. For audio files, choose among MP3, M4A, and OGG formats, and opt for the original quality, high quality, medium quality, or low quality. You can choose your options each time you convert and download a video or set your default options by clicking the Smart Mode icon.
Copy a YouTube URL and then paste it directly into the program by clicking the Paste Link button. If you chose not to use Smart Mode, pick the format and quality of the audio as well as the download location. Click the Extract button. To play the resulting audio, double-click the file in 4K Video Downloader or in the folder where you saved it.
MediaHuman’s YouTube to MP3 Converter
MediaHuman offers a free conversation program called YouTube to MP3 Converter for you to install and run on your computer. Though simple to use, the software provides an array of advanced options. To get started, just copy and paste or click and drag the YouTube URL into the program, then click the Start Download button. You can even convert and download multiple videos all in one shot.
The video is converted and downloaded to your computer, with a handy bar graph showing the progress. To find the file, click the Locate Downloaded File button in the converter to open File Explorer or Finder and play the audio. There’s also an option that automatically adds the audio file to your iTunes library.
To venture beyond the basic features, click the General options icon on the bottom toolbar, 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-a-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 tunes. With YouTube Music for iOS/iPadOS and Android, you can browse and search for music from different artists, albums, and genres on YouTube. Songs can’t be downloaded for use outside the app, but a YouTube Premium paid subscription will allow you to add offline listening
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.
The basic version of YouTube Music is free, but YouTube Music Premium is a paid option that strips out the ads, can play music in the background while you use your device, and lets you download music and playlists for offline listening within the app.
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. There are family and student plans for $14.99 and $4.99 per month, respectively.