In this guide, we’ll walk through the main ways to download music from YouTube along with the pros and cons of each method. We’ll also look at things to keep in mind regarding copyright and ownership. Our goal is to provide options so you can build the music library you want while staying on the right side of the law. Let’s get started!
Methods for Downloading Music from YouTube
There are a few main methods people use to download music from YouTube. Here they are along with some high-level pros and cons:
One option is to use browser extensions or add-ons that allow you to download audio and video files from YouTube. Some popular extensions include:
– Video DownloadHelper for Firefox and Chrome
– YouTube MP3 for Chrome
– Easy YouTube Video Downloader Express for Chrome
– Works directly within your browser for easy use
– Many extensions are free
– Extensions frequently break due to YouTube changes
– Downloaded files may not have complete metadata
Online YouTube Converters
Another option is to use one of the many online YouTube converter sites. These sites allow you to paste in a YouTube link and convert the video to MP3 audio format. Some popular sites include:
– Fast and easy to use
– No software to download
– Heavy ads on free converter sites
– Copyright concerns around many online converters
– Audio quality can be low
Downloading desktop software specifically designed for capturing audio from YouTube is another option. Some top choices include:
– 4K Video Downloader
– Free YouTube Download
– aTube Catcher
– Works for downloading entire playlists
– Often better quality than online converters
– Avoid ads from free online sites
– Need to download and install software
– Features may be limited in free versions
– Requires more storage space on your computer
YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) is YouTube’s premium subscription that offers ad-free viewing, background play, and offline downloading. This is YouTube’s official way to download music.
– Downloads directly from YouTube app
– Ad-free listening experience
– Supports artists through revenue sharing
– Monthly subscription fee
– Lose downloads if you cancel subscription
– Limited number of downloads
Factors to Consider When Downloading from YouTube
When evaluating methods for downloading music from YouTube, there are a few factors worth considering:
YouTube has copyright restrictions in place that dictate what can and cannot be downloaded. Generally, downloading the audio portion only (not the video) is more likely to violate copyright. While laws are still catching up, it’s safest to use downloading methods approved by rights holders.
When you purchase and download music from authorized sources like iTunes or Amazon Music, you obtain ownership rights for personal use. Music downloaded from YouTube falls into more of a legal grey area where you may not have full ownership. If building a permanent library, purchased music has more secure long-term rights.
Depending on the downloading method, the audio quality can vary greatly. Browser extensions and online converters typically deliver lower quality files. Software tools and YouTube Premium offer better quality closer to the original audio. For serious listeners, audio quality may be an important consideration.
Unlike licensed music retailers, artists and rights holders are not paid when their music is downloaded from YouTube. So if supporting artists is important to you, consider purchasing music through official channels when possible. However, YouTube does provide some revenue via Premium subscriptions and advertising.
Malware and Security Risks
Free browser extensions and online converter sites are more likely to deliver malware infections or expose your computer to security risks. Be cautious when using free tools and limit use to reputable sources with good reviews. Software tools and YouTube Premium offer more peace of mind in this regard.
Now that we’ve covered the key methods and factors to consider, let’s walk through the steps to download music from YouTube using two of the best options:
Option 1: Using Video DownloadHelper Browser Extension
Video DownloadHelper is one of the most popular and trusted browser extensions for downloading YouTube videos and audio. Here’s how to use it:
1. Install Video DownloadHelper from the Chrome Web Store or Firefox Add-ons site.
2. Restart your browser after installing the extension.
3. Navigate to the YouTube video page containing the song you want to download. Make sure ad blockers are disabled.
4. Below the video title, you’ll see a DownloadHelper icon. Click the blue downward facing arrow.
5. From the menu that pops up, select “Download MP3” (for audio only) or “Download MP4” (for video file).
6. The download will begin automatically and be saved to your computer.
7. Locate the downloaded file and add it to your preferred music library management system.
Option 2: Using 4K Video Downloader Software
4K Video Downloader is one of the best desktop programs for downloading audio and video from YouTube. Here is how to use it:
1. Download and install 4K Video Downloader on your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.
2. Launch the 4K Video Downloader application.
3. Copy the URL of the YouTube video containing the track you want to download.
4. Paste the URL into the 4K Video Downloader link box.
5. Make sure “Extract audio” is checked below in the format options, then press the download button.
6. Optionally, click the settings icon to specify MP3 quality and where to save files.
7. Downloads will begin automatically once started and be saved to your chosen folder.
8. Add the downloaded MP3 files to your preferred music player or library system.
9. Repeat steps 3-8 to queue up and download multiple songs into your music library.
Top Tips for Building Your YouTube Music Library
Here are some final tips for successfully building your downloaded YouTube music library:
– Stick with trusted browser extensions like Video DownloadHelper that won’t infect your computer with malware.
– Use the best quality settings available in your downloader tool of choice for optimal audio quality.
– Consider purchasing individual tracks or albums you love on other platforms to properly compensate artists.
– Occasionally re-download clips as higher quality source files sometimes get uploaded over time.
– Download entire playlists at once instead of individual tracks to save time.
– Properly tag your downloaded files with title, artist, album, genre, and other metadata.
– Back up your music library to an external drive or cloud storage in case of computer crashes.
– Consider purchasing YouTube Premium for ad-free listening, offline downloads, and background audio.
– Review copyright and fair use guidelines regularly to keep your downloading ethical and legal.
While not always straightforward, downloading music from YouTube to your personal library can be accomplished through various specialized tools and software. Just be mindful of copyright restrictions, audio quality, artist revenue, and security risks when evaluating different methods. With the right approach, you can build an amazing music library full of your favorite tracks discovered on YouTube.