How Can I Extract Audio From An MP4 Or YouTube Video?

Watching YouTube videos is great – but what if you want to just listen? Stripping the audio from a video can let you enjoy YouTube content anywhere. You might even distribute a video podcast on Hangouts as an audio podcast!

Dealing With YouTube’s Vast Volume Of Content

There is a lot of content on YouTube. You’ve probably noticed, and found yourself watching video after video well into the night on at least one occasion.

But what were you watching? YouTube features everything from pop videos to classic adverts, TV event reactions to instructional pieces covering cooking, computers, nuclear fission, putting on makeup and much more.

YouTube video Brandweer Nederweert

The fact is, you won’t want to watch all of these. But with over 6 billion hours of video to view, there is a good chance that the clips you are really interested in might be too long to enjoy in video form. It makes sense, therefore, to strip the audio from these clips and experience them at your own leisure, perhaps in the car or on your MP3 player as you drift away at night, much like a free audiobook.

How Easy Is Stripping The Volume?

After holding some video podcasts on Google Hangouts (inspired by James’ videocast guide), it struck me that the regular listeners of my weekly show (upwards of 2000) would be missing out if they didn’t get their hands on an audio copy of the event on iTunes and Audioboo.

It seemed sensible that there must be a method to strip the audio from the Hangouts session. Following this it would be a simple task to top and tail the audio with the usual intro/outro music and present it as a usual podcast.

After searching for the most effective method, I eventually settled on one very clever, quick and easy way to strip the audio. This is made possible using an app that has proved again and again to be one of the most versatile media apps ever developed…

Surely Downloading YouTube Audio Files Is Easy?

Various services and apps out there enable you to download the audio from a YouTube video. However, these have their downsides.


Some are adware, while others charge a fee if you need more than 5 or 10 minutes. If you’re looking for something simple and free, with no limitations, then the app you need is our old friend VLC Player from

Using this app, YouTube video audio can be stripped and saved as an MP3, ready for you to enjoy or distribute as needed.

Extracting Audio From A YouTube Or Other MP4 Video

You’ll need to begin by downloading and installing the remarkably versatile VLC Player, if you don’t already have it on your system. Versions are available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems, as well as Android. The instructions here are for VLC Player on the desktop.


You will also need to have the YouTube video downloaded to your computer. This is usually easier with your own videos, which can be downloaded from Video Manager > Edit > Download MP4.

Open the VLC, then Media > Convert/Save. Under the File tab, click Add then browse for the downloaded MP4. It doesn’t have to be a YouTube video – this method will strip the audio from any MP4 video and convert it to an MP3 audio file.


Use the Convert/Save button to select Convert, then change the Profile to your preferred output option – presumably MP3, but FLAC and OGG are also available. If you have problems with the output for MP3, switch to Audio MP3 (MP4), and if necessary change the .mp4 suffix to .mp3 if your MP3 player cannot play the resulting file.

You will then need to specify a destination filename and location. Click Browse to specify a directory to save the audio file to – if you don’t, the video won’t be saved, even if you have entered a filename.

Click Start, and wait as the audio is ripped from the video and saved in your preferred format. Once complete, the audio file should be ready for you to listen to or edit!

Enjoy YouTube Content Without The Tube

After successfully stripping audio from YouTube videos – or any MP4 videos you might have access to – you can enjoy the content perhaps on a car journey or while you’re at the supermarket.

This method is easy, straightforward and gives good results. As long as the video you use is not corrupt, the extracted audio should work.

Image Credit: YouTube Flames by Maurits Knook via Flickr

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