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For audio while working I like last.fm:

  • it's great for ambient, jazz, world, and instrumental/non-vocal generally
  • it runs well on linux and in firefox (both of which I use)
  • it's free in the US

However they recently switched to a YouTube-based player, which combines video and audio, increasing the service's bandwidth. Can the video bandwidth be reduced, ideally to zero? Some things I've tried that don't work completely:

  1. FlashBlock. With the old last.fm player I could FlashBlock the video portion of the player, but the new player will play neither audio nor video unless I whitelist youtube.com, in which case I get both the video and audio.
  2. YouTube player settings--i.e., the gear icon. This allows one to set video quality (e.g., 144p, 360p), so I tried just setting to the lowest quality/bandwidth=144p. This works for awhile, but seems to regularly reset itself to higher quality.
  3. YouTube account settings. I had hoped one could set the default video quality to, e.g., 144p. However, the best one can do is set "Never play higher-quality video" which seems to allow any setting below HD.
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No it cannot be reduced without affecting the content.

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

See Disable videos in YouTube, listen to the audio only

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