Download Songs From YouTube From the Command Line

If you for one reason or another want to download YouTube videos as MP3 tracks, you can do that with a one-liner from the GNU/Linux command line. I do it because I like to save songs on my hard drive in case they get taken down, get censored in my country, or for listening to if I don't have an Internet connection. I also like to have my own music collection that I have full control over.


First you have to install youtube-dl and FFmpeg. On Ubuntu systems (and probably on others too, with Python pre-installed):

sudo pip3 install youtube-dl

If you already have youtube-dl installed on Ubuntu the regular apt-way, I recommend installing it with pip3. That way you have a new version of it installed and it doesn't give you errors when trying to download videos and audio. To do that, run the following:

sudo apt purge youtube-dl
sudo pip3 install youtube-dl

To update youtube-dl, just run the following command:

pip3 install -U youtube-dl

Download a Single Song

Download the song you want with the following command:

youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 --prefer-ffmpeg <song URL here>

If you want the best possible audio quality, but not necessarily in the MP3 format, then run:

youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format best --prefer-ffmpeg <song URL here>

Download a Playlist of Songs

Just use the same commands as above, but with the playlist URL in the end instead.

No Uptime

No Uptime

I'm the only author on this blog and I do all the administration stuff. I guess that makes me the administrator.
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