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HOWTO: Turn YouTube videos into MP3s

Ever have an urge to rip the audio from a YouTube movie into an MP3? Well, I have a fairly easy way to do it. The only required software to use is VLC Media Player. Audacity is optional, but recommended, for additional audio editing. The process uses the VLC command-line to transcode a Flash video file (.flv) into an MP3. Let’s get to it.

1. Download the software

First, you need to download VLC media player. I also recommend Audacity for any additional editing (which I will not get into — it’s up to you).

2. Get a FLV of a YouTube video

Find a YouTube video of your liking and head over to to get a FLV download of it. Once you download the FLV, I recommend you move it to the VLC installation folder, just to keep the paths simple on the command line. The typical installation folder is at
C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC.

3. Transcode the audio

Open up the command prompt (Start > Run > “cmd” [Enter]). Change the directory to the VLC installation folder using the cd command. Once you’re in the VLC folder (with your .flv in the same folder), enter in the following command and swap in your source name and export MP3 name:

vlc.exe "source.flv" :sout=#transcode{acodec=mp3,ab=192,channels=2}
:duplicate{dst=std{access=file,mux=wav,dst="export.mp3"}} vlc:quit

Try to put all of that code into one big line. Once you hit enter, this command will open VLC, go through the GUI and actually transcode the video to an audio file for you, then it will close VLC. This command is actually just the command-line version of going through the VLC GUI from File > Wizard…

Have any additional hints for this in VLC? Let it fly in the comments.

Published in multimedia


  1. bee bee

    did you happen to try!!
    it does the same thing

  2. dierampe dierampe

    Another way to do this with only a browser and without command line is:
    The Online FLV Converter

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