How to download music from YouTube

Anita George

Ripping songs from YouTube videos is a fairly common practice, and countless websites and software are available to help people with doing so. But not every service out there is completely trustworthy. In fact, some of these websites may infect your computer with malware or just produce poor quality audio files. 

If you want to download music from YouTube, you’ll need to first make sure that the websites or apps you use for doing so won’t hurt your device.  That said, for this guide, our team has found a couple of methods to make the process safer and easier.

But we do need to issue this warning first: Ripping audio from YouTube is a breach of the streaming video site’s terms of use, which could get you into trouble. There are ways to enjoy music from YouTube without violating its terms of use, such as via Google’s new YouTube Music service — so we do recommend that you consider trying legitimate options first.

You should also be aware that some of the YouTube ripping sites out there may contain malware and/or use money-making practices like cryptomining. While we do our best to recommend services that are safe and that don’t engage in such activities, if you notice that your system is running hotter or harder than usual while visiting these sites, you should make sure that you don’t stay on those sites for longer than necessary. And if you choose to download software for ripping audio, be sure to have your chosen antivirus service scan the software for threats prior to installing or using it.

Desktop method: 4K YouTube to MP3

While you may not want to download another app, using an installed app tends to be safer and more reliable when it comes to ripping audio from YouTube videos. Fact is, most YouTube ripping sites, even ones that seem safe at first, may eventually fall victim to hackers and malware, and so it may be best to use dedicated software on your desktop for your audio-ripping needs. That said, even when you download software, you should always exercise caution before installing it, by making sure to scan it with your trusted antivirus software.

But downloading and installing a new app doesn’t have to be a struggle. In fact, 4K Downloader’s dedicated 4K YouTube to MP3 app features a pain-free installation and a user-friendliness that rivals most online YouTube ripping services. It’s also available for multiple operating systems, including Windows, MacOS (10.13 and later), and Ubuntu. 4K YouTube to MP3 is also free to download and use. You can also upgrade to a premium version that includes features like “unlimited playlists download” and no ads. But the free version should be enough for most people.

Step 1: Download and install 4K YouTube to MP3

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Navigate to the 4K YouTube to MP3 website and click on the blue Get 4K YouTube to Mp3 button on the left side of your screen. The site should automatically detect which version is compatible with your system and download that one, but if it doesn’t, you can find the version you need by clicking on the Another Version? link underneath the blue button.

Follow the onscreen prompts to install 4K YouTube to MP3.

Step 2: Copy your chosen YouTube video’s URL

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Navigate to the YouTube video whose audio you want to rip. Then highlight the URL from your browser’s address bar, and copy it to your clipboard. You can also right-click on the video itself and choose Copy video URL from the menu that pops up.

Step 3: Paste the video URL into 4K YouTube to MP3

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The best thing about 4K YouTube to MP3 is that you don’t have to do much to start ripping audio. Once you have the link copied to your clipboard, all you have to do is paste the link into the app by clicking on the green Paste Link button in the upper left corner of the screen. After that, the app immediately gets to work on ripping the audio. To give you an idea of how fast the app was at creating the MP3 file: It took less than a couple of minutes for it to process a 10-minute YouTube video.

Step 4: Locate Your File

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Once the MP3 file has been created, the app automatically saves it to your desktop. To locate the file, you can just mouse over the name of the track displayed in the middle of the app and a Show in Folder button will appear. Click on that button, and you’ll be directed to a File Explorer window that displays your new MP3.

Online alternative: YouTube to MP3

If you’d rather not download a dedicated app for your audio-ripping needs, you can still use online services like YouTube to MP3, which is a website that features a free converter for YouTube videos. But we must caution you again: YouTube-ripping online services have a tendency to be safe at first and then become infected with malware later. So please make sure to use your antivirus software to scan these sites and any files you download from them. As of June 2020, YouTube to MP3 appears to be a safe-to-use audio-ripping site, in the sense that our virus scans did not detect any malware or phishing attempts when we tested the site.

That said, YouTube to MP3 appears to work similarly to our featured desktop method: Just copy and paste the URL of your desired video and let the website convert the video into an MP3 audio file. With this service you don’t have to install anything, and it offers the ability to upload your new MP3 track to Dropbox, instead of just saving it to your computer.

Note: When you download your MP3 file to your computer, the YouTube to MP3 website may open another tab to display a pop-up advertisement. This ad appears to be harmless, but it may appear. When we tested the site, our antivirus software did not flash any warnings. This website still appears to be safe to use, but you should always exercise caution when using sites like this and be sure to run a virus scan after using them.