How to Convert Video to Audio (Mp3) using VLC

Sometimes, you want to convert your video and just keep the audio and save it as an MP3. It’s simple to extract music from videos. You don’t have to download any additional software to do it if your computer already has VLC Media Player installed. The convert feature that comes with the free player allows you to remove the video part and just keep the audio or the music. That means you can remove all those moving images and just save it as an MP3 or any other audio format like WAV, FLAC or OGG. This is a great feature if you want to just keep the music from the music videos. You’d be reducing the file size drastically.

To just keep the audio (music) of video files using VLC Media Player:

  • Click on Media > Convert/Save [CTRL + R].
  • Click on Add.
  • Browse and open your video file.
  • Click on Convert/Save.
  • Under Settings, in Profile choose Audio – MP3.
  • Hit Browse and give a destination file name with the extension ending in .mp3.
  • Click Start.

Video to MP3 Audio

The conversion process will begin immediately. You will notice the audio extraction process happen as it is indicated by the player’s progress slider. Once the slider reaches the end, you can browse to and locate the destination audio file. The size will be low and the MP3 file can be easily copied to your smartphone, music player or any other mobile audio playing device.

The conversion from video to audio is not just limited to MP3 format. You must have noticed other formats in the convert dialog. The profiles that come by default are Vorbig (OGG), FLAC and CD. You can also select WAV as the encapsulation in the conversion profile editor. There are also several audio codecs like MPEG Audio, MPEG 4 Audio (AAC), A52/AC-3, Vorbis, Flac, Opus, Speex and WMA2. These are advanced audio formats and just MP3 would be enough for the most of us.

Video Tutorial

97 thoughts to “How to Convert Video to Audio (Mp3) using VLC”

  1. The audio conversion is buggy. Often the first second or so of audio is missing, and quite often the last minute or so is missing too. Incredibly irritating. Some flac files it simply can’t convert without missing audio.

  2. In “Media -convert -profile -Audio -Mp3 edit profile Audio codec” select codec to mp3. then save

  3. Use the dropdown next to Profile to select Audio-MP3. By default the profile is empty when you use Convert for the first time–that tends to confuse.

  4. So I converted a video to mp3, using VLC, and VLC cannot play the mp3. Neither can the music app on my phone. How can I fix this?

    1. Did you remember to add .mp3 to the end of the filename as per the instructions?

      I did a conversion and forgot the .mp3 ~ renamed the file by adding ot and it worked fime 🙂

  5. Thanks VLC,
    Had a mountain of old rave vids, wanted a quick way to .mp3 for listening in the workshop.
    Also have orig audio files/CDs etc but, all over the place in myriad folders :)) the vids were all in one folder Yay.
    Had issues at first,re read the instructions over and over annnnnd over :))
    Profile change function DOH!! :)) once I figured that it was easy.
    my only gripe is having to then copy(D&D) them to new folder.As I’d requested multiple files it could not send all to a new destination folder.No worries,even upped the Hrtz came out nice and crisp.

  6. I searched the internet thoroughly but could not find a detailed explanation, what the options and parameters in the “Profile edition” dialogue mean. Would be nice if somebody would add such informations to vlchelp.

  7. MP3 file I convert from MP3 on MAC is alway empty. At the time of conversion I save the file as .mp3. After saving I don’t see the process bar is progressing. I can see the .mp3 file on the destination folder (desktop) but it has 0 bytes and duration also 00:00

  8. Doest this feature still work? I am trying to convert yt video to mp3 but nothing happens, not even an error. I have swaped youtube.luac to youtube.lua I downloaded from vlc’s github and now I can play youtube videos in vlc but conversion still doesn’t work. When I try to convert yt video to mp3 after swaping youtube.lua then yt video is just being played and 0b file is being created, nothing else.

    1. You’ve likely moved on by now, but just in case this helps somebody else… Yes this still works (v3.0.16).
      I recorded a local copy to mp4 first (not sure if the extra step is necessary but it’s what I did)

      Then when converting the local mp4 to mp3 it wasn’t working for me with the default settings, but under the conversion settings there is a checkbox for “Display the output”. I’m not sure why but when I check this box the conversion works. I’ve tried multiple times with and without that checked and It is definitely needed.

  9. I converted a video to audio, the file type is listed as mp3 – but it won’t play in an audio player, and if I try to play it in a video player, it plays as a video…

      1. Dear Alireza, thank you SO MUCH, this is the most valuable piece of information. I kept on converting and the file extension kept on showing “opus”. After reading your comment I changed the file extension to .mps and it works! I am a transcriber and you just saved me hours. Thank you again, many blessings.

  10. My VCL only converts mp4 to mp4 without the video. It will not give me an mp3 extension. Very frustrating. This not a conversion. My mp3 player will not even see it, which is what I’m doing the conversion for.

    1. I was having the same problem, until I realized that when you go to save the output file where you want it, just add the .mp3 extension to the name of the file, worked perfectly

  11. i’ve been trying literally all night to convert an mp4 video to an mp3 sound file, and even though I go through all the steps EXACTLY LIKE THE INSTRUCTIONS SAY TO DO, i end up with a TEXT/EDIT DOCUMENT saved on my computer that is not music AT ALL!!!!! Within the VLC window – the little box where the action is happening – the file looks and plays like a sound file. But outside of that box, on my desktop, the file is NOT a sound file. It’s gibberish text. I’ve tried to move the playable sound file out of the VLC box into Itunes, or onto my desktop, but it doesn’t move. I have a MacBook Air, OS 10.14.6, so I can’t fathom what’s going on, but I am seriously about to gnaw off my own arms I’m so frustrated.

    1. First make sure you have the newes version of VLC. I got an issue when i opened the file that a want to convert in the VLC player. I had to open the application (VLC) without files.

    2. I have a mac too. It worked for me by just adding “.mp3” at the end of the file name. If not, it was just coming out as a text file.

  12. This will only convert a WAV to MP4. I need MP3 for a reason. It refuses to do it. Automatically defaults to MP4 no matter what I try.

  13. Thank you. This came in really handy. Been struggling with a video file here almost all day. This took less than a minute. Thank you

  14. I’ve been trying to convert an MP4 to an MP3 for about a day now, and everytime I do it, it ends up being an MP3 file that doesn’t have anything on it. I really need to convert the MP4 to MP3.

    1. I don’t believe you can do that. When you are converting video to audio, you are removing the video track, keeping the audio. The remaining audio can be converted to another audio format.

  15. Is there a way to convert more than one mp4 file to mp3 audio at once.I tried but it convert only the last file you clicked on I do consider myself an amateur. I work however by doing one at a time.

    1. When you click Add in step two, you can browse and select multiple files at once. I recommend you put all the MP4 files in a single folder. Then when you browse to select them, choose more than one file by hitting the CTRL button on your keyboard.

  16. Im trying to covert MP4 to MP3, but despite chosing MP3, after selecting destination folder, it only allows me to have MP4 file. Im not sure what to do, some other people are having the same issue, from what I read here. Any one successful at resolving this?

    1. I’m having that issue too. I used to convert files this way and it worked (although sometimes the end of songs would get cut off – but I’m not sure if that was my fault of VLC’s). I haven’t done it in a few years though. I’m trying to do it now but it’s not working.
      I can’t type a destination, I have to click browse and choose it (which Is how I prefer to do it anyway) but the file name comes up with mp4 at the the end and I can’t find any way of changing it. I tried going ahead anyway but it just saves it as an mp4 not much smaller than the original file. I tried playing it in VLC and it does play, it doesn’t have any video (not really the point – it actually needs to be an mp3) and the sound quality was bad.
      Why is it not working?

    2. I am having the same problem. It works once, and then every time afterwards, it forces the new extension to be .MP4 not MP3. I have uninstalled and reinstalled several times. Every time it works once, and then reverts back to forcing .MP4 extensions, despite converting to MP3.

  17. I converted vlc audio to mp3 and all the tracks are either jittery or skip. How can I fix this please? I’ve been spending daaayyyys trying to covert without errors, but to no avail. Please help!

  18. VLC will not convert. I choose to convert a MP4 to a MP3 and I just ended up with an MP4 that was audio only despite me ticking MP3 audio. I even created a profile and it still would no convert the MP4 to an MP3 it only gives me MP4’s that are audio only, that not converting.

  19. I was able to convert the video file to mp3 audio file BUT the size of the audio file did not decrease drastically, (from 40MB video it went to 32MB audio). How can i really reduce the audio file size >>> Thanks!

  20. I used to be able to convert video to mp3 but now I get a message stating that the output file already exists. I click overwrite and I get the same response.

  21. Hello! So I have been able to convert, but my file has gotten much larger. However, I need it to stay the same size. Is there a way to make the MP3 file smaller? I tried lowering the bitrate, but that didn’t work either.

  22. Hi there, when I convert an mp4 file to MP3 audio file using this method, the VLC output file is not readable

    1. Convert process will be very slow if you do not select the “keep original audio track” checkbox in the “Audio – MP3” settings

  23. It’s not working properly for me. I follow the instructions exactly, but my end result is a scramble rather than a clean audio file. When I converted a soundtrack months ago, it worked perfectly fine. I’m doing this now the exact way, and it doesn’t convert properly. How the hell do I fix this?

  24. I’m also trying to convert some video files, and either I’m missing a step or something, because I’m also getting a blank file. Is it possible you need to select the specific item to convert? Are we missing a step here? Thanks.

    1. I think I marked several videos for “add” and then started, and they were all converted, i.e. it is possible to convert several files at once. The process is misleading, however… you have to choose a name for the converted file and can only choose 1 name… but it works anyways, the name of the converted files is the original one but with the new file extension, e.g. .mp3 instead of .flv .

  25. I also cannot find the place to convert mp4 to mp3. Can you possibly advise; Erin in the comments above had the exact problem that I have.

  26. Capture audio directly from YouTube (YT) vid using VLC and without first downloading the video. I have divided the steps into two procedures. It seems long and complex, but once you’ve done it a time or two it’s easy. This was done using a Win 7 computer:

    Proc. 1:

    1. Copy to the Win clipboard the video URL from YT.

    2. Load VLC, use Ctrl-s to get the Open Media dialog box.

    3. Click the Network tab, paste the URL into the network URL entryfield provided.

    4. At lower right, click the Stream drop-down arrow and choose *Play*.

    5. When the vid starts to play (if it does–some YT vids seem to be protected and will not stream/play), pause it with VLC’s Pause button.

    6. Press Ctrl-j to open the Current Media Information dialog and choose the Codec tab.

    7. In the Location entryfield near the base of the dialog, select and copy the entire very long URL string. This is tricky, because the cursor will not appear when the mouse pointer is clicked in the field. Click there anyway, pretend the cursor is there, and press the Home key to get to the far left end of the URL string. Then do Shift-End to select the whole string, then Ctrl-c to copy it. Close the dialog box.

    8. Then, back in the VLC window, click the Stop button to entirely stop the playback and clear VLC for the next procedure.

    Proc 2:
    1. Do Ctrl-s again, choose the Network tab, and this time paste the new long URL into the network URL slot.

    2. Then use the Stream drop-down to choose *Convert* (NOT Play).

    3. In the Convert dialog, to the right of Profile choose Audio – MP3.

    4. For Destination file, click the Browse button and browse to the target folder and enter a name for the .mp3 file-to-be and give it a .mp3 extension.

    5. Click Start.

    6. VLC will now convert the vid to audio at about 2-3x the usual play speed but with no sound. The usual progress bar will display progress in the VLC window.

    7. When it’s done, your .mp3 file should be in the specified folder.

    8. Done. Close VLC.

    If anyone knows how to get the long URL without having to do Proc 1, please post.

    1. Following the websites instructions, I don’t see “Media>Convert/Save” as an option. There is File>Convert/Stream, but when I save it shows up as code on a TextEdit file. And CTRL + R doesn’t bring me anywhere. Also tried David S’s suggestions. Proc 2 #5: There’s no Start, just Save, which also creates a Text file. Help.

      1. Erin, you’re right, I should have included the Save button-press which accepts the filename/location you have specified and closes the dialog box. You’ll see the Start button after the dialog closes. How you might have gotten a .txt file by pressing Save I do not know (unless you didn’t then press the Start button), but you must be sure you’re saving the file as an mp3 file by specifying the .mp3 extension (e.g., “MyAudioFile.mp3”) and making sure that ‘Save as Type’ is set to ‘Containers (*.mp3)’. The latter should already be set by default, but check it anyway. And be sure to press the Start button after the dialog closes.

      2. I have the same situation. I’m trying to create an Mp3, and all I get is a text/edit file, over and over.

    2. At the end of Proc 2, Step 4, click the Save button to accept the filename and location you specified. Then proceed to Step 5.

    3. You are a frickin’ hero. Thank you for this. This saves me a lot of frustration and time. I really appreciate you sharing this info! I followed the steps and it worked incredibly easily and straightforwardly for me.

      In case anyone else has had the issue with “output file already exists” error coming up and repeating over and over, I had this problem, and making sure the track/playlist settings involve NO LOOP is what fixed it for me. If the playlist is set to loop one or loop all, it tries to repeat the conversion over and over and gets stuck.

  27. You should probably tell people to make sure they turn off the “looping” feature before doing this tutorial. When looping is on, VLC just wants to convert the file over and over and it doesn’t stop. It took me a long time to realize that this was my problem.

    1. Thank you ever so much ! I was bothered by that problem and would never have figured that out ! (I had to terminate the process via Task Manager to finally get rid of the loop ! ) . Really that issue should be included in the tutorial.

  28. Easiest process I have found and it works well for me.
    Could another program be interfering on those having trouble. I do run an anti-virus and ad-blocker and they haven’t blocked.

  29. The prior version of VLC allowed a direct stream from youtube to .mp3 without an intermediate save of the .mp4 to disk followed by use of “Convert”. That procedure no longer works–it is much slower and produces only an empty .mp3 file. Is the older more-efficient feature gone, or is there a way to make it work again? Thanks,

  30. Thanks for this. The extracted file contains poor choppy audio despite the input being a high quality blu-ray derived .mkv. Are there any configuration settings/codecs to resolve this?

  31. Followed steps exactly through to clicking on Start and expecting “The conversion process will begin immediately. You will notice the audio extraction process happen as it is indicated by the player’s progress slider”. No, it doesn’t. Just sits there with grayed out buttons and never (after > 1 hour for a 5 minute video) does anything other than creates an mp3 file with a length of 0.

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