If you want to listen to the sound from a YouTube video offline, you could use an ordinary YouTube downloader to save the videos and then use a separate tool to extract the audio and save it in your preferred format, but why go to such lengths when a free YouTube to MP3 converter can perform both tasks with a single click?
There are lots of websites that can strip the audio from YouTube videos and send you the audio file to download, but here we've chosen to focus mainly on desktop software.
These programs have several advantages: they're faster than browser-based tools, they don't require you to submit your email address (and therefore leave yourself open to spam), and they often allows you to rip the audio from multiple videos at once.
Here, we've rounded up the very best tools for extracting audio from YouTube videos and downloading it as an MP3 – or any other audio format you prefer.
You should only download content when you have the copyright owner's permission. YouTube's terms of service explicitly prohibit unauthorized downloading.
1. Any Video Converter Free
The best converter – just paste an URL to convert and save
You would be forgiven for judging Any Video Converter Free by its name and believing it to be a tool for converting from one video format to another. While this is part of what it can do, it can also be used to download videos from YouTube and save them as MP3s – exactly what we’re looking for!
As downloading as MP3s is not the sole purpose of the program, it is rather larger than you might expect, but this should not put you off (but take care not to install the optional adware during setup).
It seems almost overkill to use what is a powerful and versatile piece of software for just one task, but downloading MP3s is as simple as pasting in the URL of a YouTube video and waiting for the download to complete. You can then select MP3 as the output format, and hit the Convert Now button. It's a shame there's no one-click option, but it's hardly a major hardship.
2. 4K YouTube to MP3
Quick, easy to use and surprisingly flexible
4K YouTube to MP3 is very similar to 4K Video Downloader (further down this page), but dedicated specifically to stripping the audio from videos.
Despite its name, 4K YouTube to MP3 also allows you to save the soundtracks from videos in OGG and M4A formats, and you can take your pick from various bitrates so you can choose a suitable balance of speed and quality (though in our experience, even downloading at the highest bitrate is quick and painless).
It doesn't just support YouTube, either; you can also use it to save the sound from videos hosted on Vimeo, Flickr, Facebook, SoundCloud and others. Just copy the address from your web browser and click the green 'Paste URL' button to get started.
Perhaps best of all, unlike some YouTube to MP3 converters, 4K YouTube to MP3 comes with no bundled extra software. Upgrading to the premium version for a one-off fee will allow you to download entire playlists, but the free software is perfect for everyday use.
3. Free YouTube to MP3 Converter
Download and convert music, complete with album artwork
Free YouTube to MP3 Converter does exactly what you'd expect, and it's perfectly safe to judge it by its name. Unfortunately, like Any Video Converter Free, there is bundled adware from ByteFence to avoid, so be watchful during the installation and uncheck any additional bits and pieces you don't want.
Once installed, however, you're in for a treat. There's no need to fiddle about with options, you can just get on with downloading the music you're interested in immediately. Use a simple drop-down menu to choose the quality and format you would like to save your audio file, paste the URL, and click Download. Files are saved and converted in one fell swoop.
The beauty of Free YouTube to MP3 Converter is that there's no messing about, nothing superfluous, and nothing confusing. It has one purpose in mind, and it has been designed to do it as efficiently as possible. Definitely worth a try – we're sure you'll love it!
4. 4K Video Downloader
Save audio from YouTube videos in MP3, M4A or OGG format
It might not be the most stylish software around, but like 4K YouTube to MP3 above, 4K Video Downloader is brilliant.
It works in a similar way, too, but because this app is chiefly for downloading whole videos, there are a couple of extra steps involved. Copy the URL of a video from your web browser (it supports YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Flickr and DailyMotion) and click 'Paste URL'. Select 'Extract audio' and pick MP3, OGG or M4A, then click 'Extract' and the audio will be converted and saved to the destination of your choice. Done.
The free version of 4K Video Downloader lets you download up to 24 videos in a playlists, which is particularly useful for grabbing several songs by a particular artist. You can download and convert longer playlists to MP3 format if you buy a license key, but the software's free features are very impressive.
Just copy a YouTube video URL and ClipGrab will handle the rest
An utter delight of a program, ClipGrab keeps things nice and simple – aside from the bundling of the Opera browser, which is easy to skip if you'd rather avoid it.
The wonderfully simple interface gives you a pleasing hint of just how easy things are going to be, right from the word go. Copy a YouTube URL to the clipboard and ClipGrab will spring into action, offering to download the related video for you.
Even if this doesn’t happen – you might not yet have the program running, for instance – a quick paste into the relevant field is all it takes. You can then indicate that you are interested in downloading the audio as an MP3 before you click the 'Grab this clip!' button to do just that. The MP3 you seek will be yours in next to no time.
- Enjoy your MP3s with the best free music apps for Windows
Check out our video below for the best free video editors.