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My internet connection is quite slow (128 kbps while browsing) and I want to know if I can disable video streaming on YouTube and listen only to the audio portion.

There are many songs on YouTube that I want to listen to with no need to watch the video. Will the streaming rate increase?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com May 23 '11 at 13:38

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

I do not believe the audio and video are on different files at youtube so streaming then separately or ony 1 of them seems very hard. – Mythje May 23 '11 at 13:41
yes that is the whole point...... any workarounds – t0mkaka May 23 '11 at 13:44
Well aside downloading them instead of streaming them i don't think there is. – Mythje May 23 '11 at 13:46
It is now possible to download the audio and video parts of a youtube video separately, directly from youtube. The command-line tool youtube-dl can do this. Use the -F option to list available formats, and the -f option to select an audio-only format (e.g. 140 or 141). I'm not aware of any webapp which assists with this, or any way to get the youtube site to play audio-only. – Sam Watkins Oct 27 '15 at 9:56
@Minimihi, no, that is not correct. We can download the AAC audio part separately using youtube-dl, and even play it while it's downloading. I have done this dozens of times. For most HD videos, the command to download the best audio stream is youtube-dl -f 141 $URL. I would post this as an answer, but I can't do that because certain other muffin-heads posted bad answers so the question is locked down a bit. I'll go seek some reputation and come back later! – Sam Watkins Jan 24 at 23:15
up vote 12 down vote accepted

A service like FetchMP3 creates an MP3 version of the audio in the YouTube video. Other services which can do this include Listen To YouTube and Save YouTube

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Here's another one: offliberty.com, can also download video, works with multiple sites, has a bookmarklet, etc. I think it's the original / classic among such sites. – Sam Watkins Jan 25 at 0:50

Try http://navarr.me/ytaudio/

You usually need to check the "Allow YouTube to collect cookies" option for it to work. I've been using it with my slow DSL service and for things you want to hear and don't care about video, it works great.

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looks interesting. are you sure it is only streaming audio part of video, even in background? – Kostanos Apr 28 '14 at 15:57
Works great! Yes cookies have to allowed for it to work. – tutak May 30 '14 at 20:11
I think you're misinformed, this simply generates an embeded YouTube player, if you set the video to none it simply hides the playback. See the render code for the app here: github.com/navarr/ytaudio/blob/master/src/AudioPlayer.php#L842 – Aren Jul 10 '15 at 22:04
..or see the description: "YTAudio does not extract the audio from YouTube videos, nor does it eliminate the overhead of processing YouTube videos when playing the files." – Greg Dubicki Oct 23 '15 at 11:59

If you just want to listen to a song then use Pandora or Last.FM. Other web services out there just like these two.

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Pandora is not available outside US. Last.fm is paid-only outside US & UK – Sathya May 25 '11 at 4:35
@Sathya Media Hint may help. I'm in Spain and listening to Pandora. – jberger May 23 '14 at 19:41

I'd suggest loading the video(s) in separate tabs. Pause them as soon as they start, come back and listen to them once they have fully loaded. This should give you adequate time to compensate for your internet connection.

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this doesn't work anymore. youtube only streams on demand as you need the content. – anon58192932 Apr 6 '15 at 19:52

I 'listen' to YouTube videos all the time while I am working on my laptop.

...I minimize the video and voila I only get audio.

Hope this helps.

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I think this would not help, because @t0mkaka looks for a solution that does not transfer the video at all, since his internet connection is quite slow. Secondly, it would save traffic. – Tim Büthe Aug 16 '13 at 15:05

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