Is there a reliable YouTube video converter than can download music videos?

I am a professor teaching overseas and often download music videos for classroom use. For example, gospel songs and Christmas songs for my Intro to the Bible course.

ClipConverter use to download both talking and musical vids, but now blocks musical videos.

  • 2
    Welcome to Ask Different. It would help us if you provided additional info, such as the types of devices, OS, etc. Please see How to Ask for how to ask good questions that have a better chance at being answered.
    – fsb
    Apr 6 '18 at 0:08
  • Let’s assume this is macos requirement.
    – bmike
    Apr 6 '18 at 1:13
  • Possible duplicate of How to download youtube videos in Safari?
    – slhck
    Apr 6 '18 at 12:17
  • I don't know if it gets around these restrictions, but there are applications simply for downloading youtube videos, such as Airy or 4K Video Downloader.
    – Joonas
    Apr 6 '18 at 12:30
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    I am creating a website to download video with out any advertisements or non sense you get with other ones. I post the code here once I have finished if you would like. It will use youtube-dl from Nimesh Neema's answer.
    – JBis
    Apr 7 '18 at 20:24

If you use command-line (Terminal.app in macOS) or even if you have a passing familiarity with it, youtube-dl is a highly recommended tool.

youtube-dl is available for macOS, Windows as well as Linux. The usage is very simple, just type the following command-line in Terminal (I have used an example video for demonstration purposes. Replace the URL with the appropriate one as desired):

youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgxpBpa9A48

That's it. It will download the video in the best available quality. There are no ads or any questionable content involved. Also there is no risk of downloading any inadvertent software/malware. youtube-dl downloads videos at best available speed for your Internet connection (unlike many other tools). It also supports download resuming (helpful if the connection breaks midway).

youtube-dl is not a built-in command in macOS. The easiest and best way to install it would be via using Homebrew. Follow the instructions on the linked webpage to install Homebrew. Once installed, run the following command to install youtube-dl:

brew install youtube-dl

Using youtube-dl, you can also easily download the video in lower resolution (for e.g. to watch on mobile device or to share over messenger) or just the audio only or video only stream from the video.

To select the download quality or type, simply, execute the command with an additional -F option to list all the available formats as:

youtube-dl -F https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgxpBpa9A48

The output will show all the available formats as:

[youtube] dgxpBpa9A48: Downloading webpage
[youtube] dgxpBpa9A48: Downloading video info webpage
[youtube] dgxpBpa9A48: Extracting video information
[info] Available formats for dgxpBpa9A48:
format code  extension  resolution note
249          webm       audio only DASH audio   50k , opus @ 50k, 3.19MiB
250          webm       audio only DASH audio   79k , opus @ 70k, 4.87MiB
171          webm       audio only DASH audio  112k , vorbis@128k, 6.98MiB
140          m4a        audio only DASH audio  128k , m4a_dash container, mp4a.40.2@128k, 8.70MiB
251          webm       audio only DASH audio  143k , opus @160k, 9.06MiB
278          webm       236x144    144p   83k , webm container, vp9, 30fps, video only, 2.79MiB
160          mp4        236x144    144p  129k , avc1.4d400c, 30fps, video only, 5.18MiB
242          webm       394x240    240p  188k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 4.55MiB
133          mp4        394x240    240p  271k , avc1.4d400d, 30fps, video only, 11.95MiB
243          webm       590x360    360p  347k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 8.06MiB
134          mp4        590x360    360p  487k , avc1.4d401e, 30fps, video only, 9.38MiB
244          webm       786x480    480p  508k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 13.20MiB
247          webm       1180x720   720p  910k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 25.75MiB
135          mp4        786x480    480p  957k , avc1.4d401f, 30fps, video only, 18.18MiB
302          webm       1180x720   720p60 1561k , vp9, 60fps, video only, 28.76MiB
136          mp4        1180x720   720p 1806k , avc1.4d401f, 30fps, video only, 36.16MiB
298          mp4        1180x720   720p60 1973k , avc1.4d4020, 60fps, video only, 37.02MiB
17           3gp        176x144    small , mp4v.20.3, mp4a.40.2@ 24k
36           3gp        320x194    small , mp4v.20.3, mp4a.40.2
18           mp4        592x360    medium , avc1.42001E, mp4a.40.2@ 96k
43           webm       640x360    medium , vp8.0, vorbis@128k
22           mp4        1180x720   hd720 , avc1.64001F, mp4a.40.2@192k (best)

To download the desired variant, simply pass the mentioned format code with -f option, and that particular audio/video stream will be downloaded and saved. For e.g., execute the following command-line to download the medium sized variant, suitable for playback on mobile devices:

youtube-dl -f 18 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgxpBpa9A48

There are many more advanced options like looking up available subtitle files and downloading a specific one. The aforementioned options should suffice for casual usage.

Note: youtube-dl supports downloading from over a 1000 popular streaming websites like Vimeo, Dailymotion etc. apart from YouTube. youtube-dl can be easily installed using Homebrew.

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    Check my answer. Using your answer I added a php script to download the videos. Thanks for the idea!!
    – JBis
    Apr 15 '18 at 0:40

I use Wondershare Video Converter to extract videos from Youtube, Vimeo, etc. Just paste in the URL of the video into the interface and it will extract and convert the video into many different available formats for all types of devices. It has never failed to work for me.

Disclaimer: I'm a satisfied user of Wondershare Video Converter. No financial or other connection to the developer or owner of Wondershare.

If you like command line tools - the youtube-dl tool is amazing. It can download, convert, process and slice and dice all manner of video and audio content that's hosted on the web.

$ brew info youtube-dl
youtube-dl: stable 2018.03.26.1, HEAD
Download YouTube videos from the command-line
/usr/local/Cellar/youtube-dl/2018.03.26.1 (12 files, 2.0MB) *
   Built from source on 2018-03-30 at 19:07:56
From: https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew-core/blob/master/Formula/youtube-dl.rb
  • Mind if I edit in the home brew command line tool youtube-dl in to this as an option? I can make a stand alone answer, too.
    – bmike
    Apr 6 '18 at 1:12
  • Have at it, @bmike!
    – IconDaemon
    Apr 6 '18 at 12:19
  • Done - looks like Nimesh beat us to the edit.
    – bmike
    Apr 6 '18 at 15:49
  • @Nimesh Neema is a diligent dude!
    – IconDaemon
    Apr 7 '18 at 0:50
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    I shouldn’t say beat. It’s always great to have several people contributing good answers or in this case, great answers.
    – bmike
    Apr 15 '18 at 14:45

youtube-dl is great but if you want a GUI way to download video from YouTube and almost anywhere else, I highly recommend Downie.

It works great, it's constantly being improved, it's developed by a named, reputable developer (unlike some tools out there which seem a little "fly-by-night"), and it has some nice Mac-specific features.

There is a free trial available, and it's also part of Setapp.



Great website. Never had a problem with downloading videos. It does take a bit longer than most sites, but its worth the wait. You can select from many different qualities (1080p, 720p, etc.) and file type (mp4, mp3, etc).

Note: As usual for sites like this there are some "questionable" advertisements. Some that are inappropriate. And some that are PopUps of fake software. I would suggest to get an ad-blocker. Use at your own risk.

P.S. There are many different options just do a Google search of "Youtube to mp4" or "Youtube to mp3". MP4 is a video file format and MP3 is a audio-only file format.

As promised I have created a PHP script to download Youtube Videos with youtube-dl.

Note: You must have ffmpeg and youtube-dl installed

Update: 9/13/19 This is coincidentally exactly one year since my last update. I have since archived the project. I do not suggested using it. Instead use something like Node.js YouTube-dl or this PHP wrapper.

Heres the link: https://github.com/jbis9051/YouTubeDLWeb

  • Thanks for the caution about tracking / advertising / malware and just pushy ads.
    – bmike
    Apr 6 '18 at 15:48

If you use Firefox to browse YouTube, you will find that it has a plethora of add-on's that will allow you watch their videos without annoying ads, and even one-click to download buttons to quicken the video grabbing process.

Since Firefox is a browser aimed at security and privacy protection, you have less to worry about installing third party software and any potential monkey business kind of threats.

Add-ons are easily installed, disabled and removed and generally consumes fewer resources and leaves a lesser footprint on your operating system. Some allow specific folders for the video files to be saved in and allows to begin download immediately without dialogue boxes further quickening the grabbing process, while some allow downloading only the audio track as mp3 files.

Since the best one changes from time to time and differs from person to person, I will not list specific add-on names here. Hope that helps.

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