I am after a desktop software to download YouTube files into audio, preferably, MP3 to listen on the move. I would like the software to be free from ads. I prefer Windows 8.1 but I have Linux box that in case I can use.

  • 1
    Any specific reason why it should be desktop software and not just a web app? Because there are tons of those, many of which are ad free or can be ad free if you have an ad-blocker in your browser
    – Michiel
    Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 13:46
  • Are these kind of questions allowed on SE? Downloading from YouTube is illegal, is it not?
    – BCLC
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 13:25
  • Must it be free?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 8:30

7 Answers 7


If you use VLC there is an easy way for such conversion.

To convert Youtube video to mp3 these are required steps:

Start up VLC Media tab chose Open Network Stream & in new pop up screen add URL address of youtube video you want to convert. Add media Url Screen From Play drop down menu chose convert (keyboard shortcut is Alt+C

In new screen make sure to fill in needed information. enter image description here
Choose the destination file by clicking on Browse.

In the Settings section, you can choose the format that you want to convert to. VLC support conversion to MP3, Flac & Vorbis audio formats.

When everything set click Start to convert file. When seeking on main VLC screen is complete, the conversion is completed.

Note that mentioned method will work with radio streams too, or any web page where specific file URL can be grabbed.

  • 2
    I do not know whether somebody else had similar experience, but for me this worked only after setting Tools>Messages>Verbosity to 1. (When it was set to 0 I only got an empty file.) Anyway, this answer was useful for me, thanks for posting it. +1
    – Martin
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 6:29

I use youtude-dl for downloading videos from YouTube. It's a console program (without any ads), written in Python. I've used it on Windows and Linux (it worked well) and according to the official site it should work on Mac OS X too.

It also supports extracting audio. You can set the format too, for example:

youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=..."

On Ubuntu you might need the libavcodec-extra-53 package for the MP3 conversion.

  • I recently discovered youtube-dlg, a simple and no bloat GUI for youtube-dl. Works beautiful.
    – danijelc
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 14:02
  • You can also use TGV media downloader which is essentially a GUI for downloading videos and converting to audio.
    – Axx
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 15:52

JDownloader used to work great (free, ads-free, Windows). Right now there is a bug that makes the mp3 download unavailable, but hopefully it should be fixed soon.

enter image description here

  • Recommending software with bug making it unable to meet OP requirements? Jdownlader is also kind of cross-platform app
    – danijelc
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 18:38
  • @danijelc Well Jdownlader is widely used as it has many useful features (many more than the apps mentioned in the other answers) and is straightforward to use, so I think it's useful to mention it even though there is a bug right now. Yes, Jdownlader is available for Win/Mac/Linux. Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 18:48

Freemake offer a Youtube converter to many different formats including mp3. Whilst I have never used it, I can vouch for their products as I have used both their Video Converter & Video Downloader with great success. Its a free download with no registration required.


enter image description here

Platforms: Windows XP/Vista/7/8


Today I've tried the free studio from dvd video soft for youtubeToMp3 and it was quite easy and straight forward.

Their app work as modules where you can choose which feature to download & install, they have a full studio program which works as (audio video DVD converter for mobile and iPhone devices)

Free studio screenshot:

Free studio screenshot

As for the youtube to mp3, all that you have to do is to copy the video link, and then paste it into the youtube mp3 app. After it completes, you will find the file (mp3) download in the output folder.

Youtube to mp3 screenshot:

Youtube to mp3 screenshot

You asked for ads free yet you didn't mentioned whether you are looking for a free or paid app, they have ads free version but you have to pay for it though.


I recommend SnipMP3.

It is a web-app rather than a desktop program. It also (last I tried anyways) didn't properly load on Firefox although it used to so that could have just been a security mixup or something (or due to me using an alpha Firefox - may investigate if I get some time later). Just tested with Chrome on Win 7 and it works fine there.

It does require you to enable Java and use it's Java applet.

For example see here - one of my favourite bands - you just insert the youtube address in the search bar, click convert and then download mp3


Total Video Converter(ad-free, freeware/shareware, supports WIN/MAC) is great for such task.

I have used it but unlike some software listed above, you need to have the video file downloaded to your PC before converting.(If you need a software to download youtube vids check this question)

Total Video Converter HomeScreen

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