How to Rip the Soundtrack From MP4 Files

Small MP3 players usually don't have video playback options.
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Video files take up a lot of disk space compared to just their audio tracks. If your playback device is an MP3 player without a display, the extra file size isn't providing you with a benefit. Because video file formats such as MP4 are packages of multiple data types, one of which is the synchronous sound file, extracting the audio track is something you can do with commonly available -- and free -- software.

1 Using iTunes

2 Select a video file in iTunes

Select a video file in iTunes. Note that a file with Digital Rights Management protection will not work for this procedure, so pick one that doesn't have DRM.

3 Click the Advanced'' menu

Click the "Advanced" menu. If the "Convert to MP3" option is grayed out, hold down the "Option" key on a Mac -- or the "Alt" key in Windows -- while clicking the "Advanced" menu to make the option available.

4 Select the option

Select the option, and then let go of the "Alt" or "Option" key quickly. ITunes starts pulling the audio file out of the video format.

5 Using VLC Media Player

6 Click Media

Click "Media," and then select "Conversion" to open a dialog menu.

7 Click Add

Click "Add," and then select the file to convert.

8 Click Convert/Save

Click "Convert/Save," check the box next to "File" on the Stream Output file, and then click "Browse."

9 Enter the name of the destination file

Enter the name of the destination file, and then select "Audio -- MP3" from the "Profile" drop-down menu.

10 Click Start .''

Click "Start." Your MP3 file may take a few minutes or longer to process, depending on the length of the original file.

11 Using a Website

12 Upload the MP4 file to YouTube

Upload the MP4 file to YouTube. Note that the file may already exist on YouTube, so do a quick search prior to uploading.

13 Open a second browser tab or window

Open a second browser tab or window, and then navigate to the YouTube MP3 site (see Resources).

14 Copy and paste the YouTube URL

Copy and paste the YouTube URL into the text field above the Convert Video button, and then click the button.

15 Click the Download link

Click the "Download" link to save the converted MP3 file to your hard drive. By default it will have the title of the YouTube video you're converting.

Ken Burnside has been writing freelance since 1990, contributing to publications as diverse as "Pyramid" and "Training & Simulations Journal." A Microsoft MVP in Excel, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alaska. He won the Origins Award for Attack Vector: Tactical, a board game about space combat.