There are a lot of songs, song variations and even full concerts on Youtube that aren’t available for streaming through the large list of music streaming services. You don’t always have the option of streaming Youtube videos for the music, and if you’re on a limited mobile-data plan through your phone service, unless you’re paying the $9.99/month for the premium version of Youtube Music, you’ll have to stream entire videos just to enjoy the audio that you want to listen to.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to download audio files only from Youtube. This works perfectly regardless of whether you want the audio from a single Youtube video, or if you want to download a full playlist full of audio files.
Step 1 – Download jDownloader
jDownloader is a cross-platform download manager and is free. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux. You can download it here.
I’m going to assume you know how to install an application, but if you need help, just leave a comment and make note of your operating system.
Step 2 – Change jDownloader Settings
You can tell jDownloader to download audio files only from Youtube with some settings changes. I’ll write out some expanded instructions here, but if you prefer, you can check out the video below.
Once jDownloader is open, you need to visit the Settings tab. If you just installed jDownloader, you’ll need to click on Settings from the top menu, then click on Settings again.
Next, on the Settings page:
- On the left side, click on Plugins
- Then, select or type in youtube.com into the Plugins field
- Finally, under Allowed Media Types and Types (first option), uncheck Description, Images, Subtitles and Video
You uncheck the unwanted types, otherwise for every audio or music file you want to download, you’ll get several files which you may or may not want or need.
By default, this will get you the highest quality audio file available for the video or playlist you’re downloading. However, if you are limited to a certain file extension, for instance, you can only use an .mp3, not necessarily .m4a, you can specify that in the Filetype settings:
Following our example of only wanting an .mp3 file, you would need to uncheck AAC Audio, M4A Audio and OGG Audio, leaving MP3 Audio checked.
Step 3 – Adding files and playlists to jDownloader
By default, jDownloader uses what they call LinkGrabber, which is a clipboard monitor. So, in order to add a Youtube video or even Youtube video playlist to jDownloader, you simply need to copy the Youtube video link or playlist link to your clipboard.
For me, highlighting the Youtube page link in my browser’s address bar is easiest, then pressing Control+C (for copy), but you can also highlight the Youtube page link, then right-click your mouse and choose Copy from the context menu:
Now, if you click on a playlist URL in your browser’s address bar, you should get a prompt from jDownloader asking you whether you want to download the entire playlist, or the video itself:
If you do not choose an option, the playlist will be added to jDownloader automatically after about 15 seconds it seems.
Step 4 – Starting downloads
You start downloads from the Linkgrabber tab, which should open automatically once you start adding Youtube audio files to the download queue. There’s a blueish play button on the left-hand side. Just highlight the files you want to download within the linkgrabber window (Control+A will highlight them all), then press the play button, as indicated below:
If you’re downloading a lot of files from Youtube, or even a lot of files from jDownloader in generaly, I recommend you read over the guide on how to increase jDownloader download speed. However, if you’d just like a quick recommendation, I might use these settings to download a bunch of files from Youtube or any specific website at once:
The max simultaneous downloads per hoster setting is definitly recommended. Unless you’re paying a service or website to download files from them (like filehosting services, it’s best to minimize the number of simultaneous connections to a site when downloading from them. I can’t see Youtube blocking you unless you’re being endlessly abusive (if they even do that), but other sites: absolutely.
Second: if for some reason Linkgrabber is not showing your Youtube audio file after copying the Youtube video page link or playlist link to your clipboard, you can try clicking File, Analyze Text with Links, then be sure the Youtube URL is in the top box, then press Continue at the bottom. I’m not sure if this is specific to Linux or my setup, but semi-often I will manually have to start Linkgrabber on the first download after opening jDownloader. It just doesn’t seem to detect the download link on its own sometimes.
Download Youtube Audio Files Only – Settings Video
This will be viewed best in full screen at 1080p if your browser or monitor will support it.
If you have any questions, feel free to let me know.