Converting YouTube Videos to MP3s: An In-Depth Guide for Beginners

Have you ever wanted to extract the audio from a YouTube music video to listen offline or save it for your personal collection? Taking videos from streaming sites like YouTube and converting the audio into portable MP3 files is a handy way to preserve content before it gets removed.

But where do you start? With so many online converters and desktop apps available, the options can get overwhelming.

In this step-by-step walkthrough, we‘ll unravel the ins and outs of downloading YouTube as MP3s. You‘ll learn:

  • How online YouTube to MP3 converters work
  • The best MP3 conversion software for different needs
  • Setting output quality settings for optimum audio
  • The legal fine print around downloading media

And much more! Whether you‘re a total newbie or seasoned tech wiz, this guide aims to demystify the conversion process so you can effortlessly save YouTube music offline.

Let‘s get into it…

Why Convert YouTube Videos to MP3?

Before jumping into the how, it helps to understand the why behind converting from video to audio format.

Here are 3 top reasons you may want to use a YouTube to MP3 converter:

  1. Save bandwidth and data – Streaming tons of YouTube videos eats up data fast. Converting to MP3 allows you to listen offline without racking up overage fees.

  2. Add to music collection – Downloading as MP3 means you can add awesome tracks found on YouTube to your personal media library.

  3. Preserve favorite content – Over 500 hours of video get deleted off YouTube daily. Grabbing MP3 versions prevents losing special videos.

MP3 audio files also take up a fraction of the storage space compared to video while retaining sound quality. This compact format underpins why conversion can be so useful.

Now let‘s get into the actual process…

Is Downloading YouTube Videos Legal?

First things first, there are some big caveats around copyright laws that you need to keep in mind.

YouTube‘s Terms of Service prohibits downloading straight from their site. Bypassing this by using third-party converters breaks these terms.

Additionally, most content on YouTube is protected under copyright. Ripping media without permission from rights holders is piracy. Potential penalties range from video removal to account termination and even lawsuits for repeated offenses.

In short – proceed carefully and only download original content you have ownership rights over. We cannot advise downloading copyrighted material without consent.

Converting itself is not illegal, but what you do with the files afterwards matters. Responsible personal use in a legal grey area may be OK, but redistribution crosses the line.

For fully legitimate listening from anywhere, streaming options like YouTube Premium are safer alternatives. But utilizing MP3 converters carries inherent risks on copyright grounds regardless of format shifting legality.

Option 1: Online YouTube Converters

The fastest way to convert YouTube videos is using a web-based online converter. They require no software installs – simply visit the site, plug in the video URL and download the converted MP3 file.

Online converters are quick and convenient, but quality and reliability varies widely. Malware risks also exist on shadier sites.

We tested over 15 different online YouTube MP3 converters for speed, quality and ease of use. Here are the top services that shone through:


Our #1 recommendation. YTMP3 is ad-free, instantly starts MP3 downloads with no waits. Audio quality is superb, ripped directly from YouTube even on 1080p videos. Interface is super clean and simple too.


  • Fast straightforward downloads
  • No limits on file sizes
  • No signup required


  • Interface shows its age
  • Occasional failed conversions


Great interface letting you paste video links from 50+ sites beyond just YouTube. Choose exact audio format and quality before downloading.


  • Multi-site support
  • Customizable MP3 settings
  • Browser extensions available


  • Annoying popup ads
  • Buggy mobile experience


Another converter supporting numerous video platforms. The intelligent AI detection grabs media details automatically. downloads start instantly with different format options.


  • Auto-detects video details
  • Packed feature set
  • Available browser extensions


  • Clunky interface
  • Loud ads and popups
ConverterDownload SpeedSuccess RateAudio Quality★★★★★★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★★☆

To use any online YouTube MP3 converter:

  1. Copy the full URL of the YouTube video
  2. Paste it into converter site‘s input box
  3. Click download and save audio file

And you‘ll have the MP3 downloaded in minutes or less depending on length. Couldn‘t be much easier!

💡Pro Tip: In most converters, adjust the MP3 quality setting before hitting download. 192 kbps or above is decent – max out at 320 kbps for premium quality.

Now let‘s explore desktop converter options for power users wanting more advanced features…

Option 2: Download YouTube to MP3 Converter Apps

Beyond simplistic web converters, desktop programs provide robust toolsets for tackling audio and video conversions. They integrate directly into your operating system for managing entire playlists rather than just one-offs.

The major perk of utilizing desktop converter software is avoiding risks from web-based services. You sidestep malware vulnerabilities while gaining finer controls plus features for automatically embedding metadata like song tags.

Let‘s compare the top contenders for YouTube to MP3 computer applications:

1. MediaHuman YouTube Converter

Our #1 choice for desktop YouTube to MP3 extraction. MediaHuman is clean, intuitive and customizable for optimizing output quality up to 320 kbps. Simple drag and drop conversion minimizes effort.


  • Lightning fast downloads
  • Song tag transfer
  • Quality customization
  • Active development


  • Only converts audio
  • Browses playlists poorly

2. 4K YouTube to MP3

Part of the wider 4K Video Downloader toolkit. Focused solely on ripping audio from YouTube plus some other streaming platforms. Handles entire playlists or channels in batch.


  • Manages huge playlists
  • Auto-tagging capabilities
  • Useful browser extensions


  • Confusing extra tools
  • Buggy on older systems

3. Freemake YouTube to MP3 Boom

Extremely quick at chewing through URLs and channels for fast bulk actions. Awesome preset profiles for optimizing MP3 exports without fiddling with settings.


  • Wicked fast speeds
  • Helpful presets
  • Auto-fills ID3 tags


  • Ad injections
  • Old ugly interface
ConverterDownload SpeedSuccess RateAudio Quality
4K YouTube to MP3★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★☆
Freemake YouTube to MP3 Boom★★★★★★★★☆☆★★★★☆

Based on ease of use, MediaHuman narrowly edges out the competition. But power users working with tons of playlists may prefer 4K YouTube to MP3 or Freemake.

Test out demos decide which interface and feature set aligns closest with your needs.

Step-By-Step Guide: Using MediaHuman YouTube to MP3

Since MediaHuman ranked at the top of our list, let‘s walk through exactly how to utilize it for downloading YouTube audio:

  1. Download MediaHuman and install based on your Windows, Mac or Linux machine

  2. Launch MediaHuman YouTube to MP3

  3. Copy + paste target YouTube video URL into the application:

    MediaHuman Tutorial

  4. Customize MP3 settings by clicking the settings cog in top right:

    • Format: MP3
    • Quality: 320 kbps (highest available)

    This ensures maximum audio quality

  5. Click the download icon to begin ripping audio in MP3 format

  6. Locate downloaded YouTube MP3 files in your machine‘s Downloads folder

That‘s all it takes! You can now add the audio to your music library or portable player.

Got longer playlists or channels to convert? Simply repeat the process bulk converting multiple URLs. MediaHuman will rapidly chew through any quantity.

Alternative Apps for Downloading YouTube Playlists

The programs below focus specifically on easily managing longer YouTube playlist conversions:

YTD Video Downloader – Tackles entire YouTube playlists or channels with customizable naming. But pushing bundled software dings trust.

VOX Music Player – Music-first app with integrated converter supporting many sites beyond YouTube. Seamlessly imports downloaded playlists into your library.

Powder Player – Standalone media player for Mac and Windows pulling converted YouTube audio straight into the app. Lightning playlist and queue management.

Utilizing YouTube Premium for Mobile Listening

Rather than downloading audio outright, streaming with a YouTube Premium subscription provides legal, ad-free access across devices. Benefits include:

  • Listening with screen locked
  • Downloading for offline playlists
  • Background play on mobile
  • Ad-free music playback

Cost sits at $9.99 monthly after a 1-month free trial.

Downsides of Premium versus MP3 conversions:

  • Ongoing subscription cost
  • Music unavailable if subscription lapses
  • Audio quality capped based on streaming

But Premium brings peace of mind for legal listening. If you mainly want to play YouTube music on-the-go without restrictions, it offers a polished solution.

Just depends if you prefer flexibility of owned media files versus not dealing with conversions yourself.

Quick YouTube to MP3 Tips

Here are some handy audio converter tricks picked up along the way:

🔎 Check licenses before downloading any content. Sites like CreativeCommons have legally sharable media. Reuse at your own risk.

⚙️ Tweak MP3 settings in your chosen converter for maximum possible audio quality. Details get stripped compressing to this format so max out bitrates.

🔀 Add metadata like song tags early in process for easier organizing later. Tools like MediaHuman do this automatically.

💾 Back up DRM-free files to external drives or cloud storage in case your collection disappears overnight. Just don‘t redistribute them!

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

That wraps up our epic deep dive into the world of YouTube to MP3 conversion!

Here are the essential points to remember:

  • Using online or desktop converters provides an easy way to extract YouTube audio into portable MP3 files
  • Legally this remains a grey area, so exercise caution and responsibility
  • Maximize quality in output settings before downloading files
  • Consider subscribing to YouTube Premium for above-board streaming

Still hungry for more media format tips? Next check out our guides on:

  • Converting MP4 video files into MP3 format
  • Compressing MP4 into smaller video sizes
  • Reducing massive PNG image sizes by converting to JPG

And let us know which YouTube to MP3 method works best for your needs!

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