Getting Audio from Videoportals


Videoportals (for example youtube) provide a lot of music videos – but if you want to get the music played on an mp3-player (or burned on an Audio-CD) there are two problems to solve:

- Many videoportals don’t provide download links for their Videos.
- The Videos (mostly flash videos) can’t be played on most mp3-players.

Here are two different methods to solve these problems:

Online converter

Online converter often provide to load a video directly from various portals and convert it to various (audio) file formats. (Links:  online converter download)

Advantages and disadvantages of this method:

  • Accessible from everywhere without any additional installations (you only need a web browser and an internet connection)
  • Audio is reencoded →
    • The target format can be choosen
    • Quality loss if a compressed format is choosen or a much bigger audio file if an uncompressed format is choosen
    • Mono audio (used in most youtube videos) is often converted to ‘stereo’ → redoubled filesize (the same audio information is saved two times inside the audio file)
  • The amount of free conversions may be limited
  • If the online converter is used by many people at the same time it may be very slow

Example: Convert a youtube-video to a mp3-audiofile with

  1. Go to the youtube-page of the video you want to get the sound of (for example
  2. Copy the URL of the youtube-page from the adress bar
  3. Go to the web page
  4. Paste the URL into the textfield
  5. Click the NEXT STEP button
  6. Choose the file type to convert to (mp3)
  7. Enter a name for the output file into the textfield
  8. Click the NEXT STEP button
  9. Click the NEXT STEP button again (leave the additional options at ‘No changes’)
  10. Wait until download and conversion are done
  11. Click the DOWNLOAD NOW button
  12. Choose where to save the mp3-file

Download with Video DownloadHelper and audio extraction with mplayer

The firefox-extension Video DownloadHelper provides download-links for many different videoportals.
The application mplayer is able to extract (dump) raw compressed audio from video files:

extract mp3 from flash-videos with mplayer on the commandline
mplayer -dumpaudio «source-file.flv» -dumpfile «target-file.mp3»

Our script flv-to-mp3 automaticaly executes this command for every *.flv – file that’s dragged  & dropped  on it’s Icon.

Advantages and disadvantages of this method:

  • It’s necessary to have the Video DownloadHelper and mplayer installed
  • You have to use the commandline or our script flv-to-mp3
  • Audio is raw dumped – not reencoded
    • No quality loss
    • No waste of storage space
    • No guarantee that the raw dumped audio can be blayed on all devices
      (All players and devices I tested were able to play the files without any problems but some players showed strange file informations)

Example: Download a youtube-video with Video DownloadHelper and extract audio to a mp3-audiofile with mplayer using the script flv-to-mp3

  1. Go to the youtube-page of the video you want to get the sound of (for example
  2. Click on the triangle on the right site of the Video DownloadHelper – Symbol
  3. In the opened context menu click on the video you want to download
  4. Select the folder where you want to save the downloaded video or leave it at the default location ~/dwhelper
  5. Click OK
  6. Wait until the download is finished
  7. Open the folder where you saved the video file(s)
  8. Drag and drop the video file(s) on the symbol of the script flv-to-mp3