How to Create an MP3 from a YouTube Video

I hope that this topic does not violate any policy here. If it does, moderator please delete it immediately.

Someone asked how he/she could create an MP3 music file (to play in the car) from a YouTube Video download. I wanted to reply but the post was closed.

I am quite certain that downloading YouTube videos, at least the ones which are not restricted, is perfectly legal.

As was mentioned in the original post, the best way to download a YouTube video, in my opinion, is by using the youtube-dl program.

To convert one of those resulting files (either MP4 or MKV) to audio is very easy. There are two programs which I use: SoundConverter or SoundKonverter.

SoundKonverter is much more sophisticated than SoundConverter but, for the most part, the SoundConverter program is perfectly adequate for the job. I have done this sort of thing several times and the audio comes out fine and plays perfectly in my car.

I repeat that I believe that doing this is perfectly legal. Note that, at least in the United States, music recorded before 1972 is not under copyright; the copyright law was not amended until that time so that music recorded afterward would be covered.

So, if you want to have, say, a Bix Beiderbecke record (recorded 1920s and/or early 1930s) to play in your car, and you find it on YouTube, why I am sure that you can download it and convert it with absolutely no legal ramifications.

I have even downloaded the videos and converted to an MP3 files certain current political speeches. (I don’t need to watch them but, as they are “history,” I want to have them.)

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, if this information violates any terms whatsoever here on this forum, please, moderator, delete it.

I do thank you for reading this and I hope that it may be of some help to some people.


An alternative way to do that is to let youtube-dl do it for you. Like this:

youtube-dl -x --audio-format mp3

Dear dalto,

Thank you for this information. I hadn’t known about this command. When doing it this way, can one set the bit rate? Sometimes I will use 128 kbps but other times, if appropriate, I will use a different one; this is easy to do with SoundConverter.


Yes. You can set a specific bitrate or use one of the VBR profiles. To set a specific bitrate you can do it this way:

youtube-dl -x --audio-format mp3 --audio-quality 128K

THANK YOU! This may save me some time in the future (though, frankly, I do not download anything from YouTube all that often; my wife does though).


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If I pull something at YT, which is quite rare, then I use ‘ClipGrab’.
Straightforward, reliable and sufficient, IMHO.

Just as an addendum and additional tip: you can often download an audio version directly. Show available formats:

youtube-dl -F <ULR>

Look for “audio only” and the desired bitrate. Then use the format-code (first column):

youtube-dl -f <format-code> <URL>

Big “F” to list formats, small “f” to download a format. Same options are available via GUI e.g. with jDownloader.


I think I can summarise all of the above youtube-dl variants:

youtube-dl --help
man youtube-dl



As well as

tldr youtube-dl

for those who do not like to read a lot. :rofl:

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