Preamble: The techniques described in this guide are intended for educational purposes and should not be used to bypass copyright restrictions or download copyrighted material without consent from the respective owners/licensees. In the below example I use a track by Nine Inch Nails for this demonstration for two reasons:
1. I already own this album (in fact I own every Nine Inch Nails album; I’m what you would call a “loyal fan“).
2. The album was published under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. This means I could give you a copy of the song because I purchased it. Look out for musicians who publish their works under licenses like this.
So let’s get to using this Youtube Downloader thingy!
First, download the software from Download.com by clicking here.
Run/Open the file once you have downloaded it to install the software. Once installed, you’ll have a new shortcut in your Start Menu. This is what the program looks like when it’s running:
Leave this window up and go visit Youtube. Find a video you like and then copy the URL from the address bar at the top…..
…into the first box in Youtube Downloader, like this:
Now click Download.
Once the video is downloaded you can convert it to an MP3 by changing the selector at the top from “Download a video…” to “Convert or play a video…”, like this:
Now all you have to do is click the Browse button to search for the file you just downloaded, and change the “Convert Video to:” box to read MP3, like this:
Now click Convert. It will ask you about quality settings (and of course it’s best to just leave it on “Best Quality” and click okay). That’s pretty much it. A conversion process will happen, taking perhaps 30 seconds, and you’ll be given an MP3 file that you can play on pretty much any portable audio player out there. It’s up to you if you want to delete the original video file.
A word about piracy/file-sharing
Piracy/file-sharing can be a very polarizing topic to talk about, especially when the conversation occurs between professional musicians who make their living off writing music. On one side of the fence you’ve got your Lars Ulrich and Gene Simmons who see piracy of their music as a direct threat to music sales and thus their paycheck. On the other side of the fence you have bands like Radiohead and musicians like Trent Reznor who see the sharing of their music as a marketing platform that can increase band exposure, increase their fan base, and subsequently increase their physical merchandise and ticket sales. Both sides are entitled to their opinions but I lean towards the latter group when thinking about this stuff.
Along the lines of music piracy is software piracy. There is a software developer who goes by the name Notch who created a computer game called Minecraft by himself that has earned him nearly one million dollars in under a year, and it was still in the Alpha stage when it hit that impressive number. He has a very keen insight into piracy and I would like to suggest you check out his blog post about the topic if you have the time. It mostly boils down to distinguishing (or debating) the difference between the loss of potential revenue versus actual revenue lost, determining a fair way to measure the differences.
In marketing there is a strategy known as “loss-leader” and pirated music could be thought of as a loss-leader for a musician who has additional products to offer, like vinyl, or limited “deluxe edition” packages, not to mention concert tickets and who knows what else (one of my favorite musicians offers up everything from autographed cover art by Strom Thorgenson to 5 hour long studio workshops with the band and their very own equipment). Then there’s new, up-and-coming musicians who don’t yet have anything better to hope for than a chance to be listened to and are willing to let people preview their entire collection in the hopes of turning them into a loyal fan who will go buy all their albums and other merchandise someday down the road.
Shameless plug: Check out my Kompoz profile to listen/download/pirate my music.