Automate Editing

Audacity 2.0.5 / Windows 7

Is there a way to automate the editing process?

I use Audacity to edit out commercials within podcasts and they’re always at the same time spot, for the same duration.

Rather than keying in the selection start and length for each deletion I do, 5 times per mp3, I’d rather just run some kind of macro that records and then repeats my actions or a way to program my process.

Does anyone know how I can do this?


Audacity doesn’t have a macro recorder but you can use a third-party macro recorder obviously.

Audacity has Chains ( ) for applying to files or projects. Chains support Nyquist plug-ins, but as far as I know there is no Nyquist plug-in that deletes multiple arbitrary selections (as opposed to a specified selection at the start and the end of a track). Steve would know better if such a plug-in has been written or tested yet.

What I would do is use Tracks > Add New > Label Track, drag-select and label (CTRL + B) the time selections you want to delete, then save that label track as a project.

Open that project, record or import your work into it, then select the label track (no need to select the audio tracks). Then Edit > Labeled Audio > Delete will delete all the labeled audio selections.


It would be possible for some on-line radio streams, to automate the removal of commercials, but I’d be hesitant to publish such a plug-in as I expect there is a good chance that it could raise issues about encouraging breach of copyright (encourage “pirate” recordings). For such a plug-in to work effectively it would need to be programmed to specific characteristics of the broadcast and would only work on radio/podcast streams that shared those characteristics. So, for example, there could be a “Remove commercials from Spotify” setting. I’ve not checked but I expect that is very likely to breach the Spotify Terms and Conditions.

Why so, if user is prepared just to delete those sections, and was forced to figure out and enter the correct selection ranges themselves?

There could be other uses such as deleting a regular beep or noise in a recording.


It’s about customising settings to work for specific audio streams.
We already have a number of general tools (such as Silence Finder and Regular Interval Labels) that users may choose to use to assist with removing adverts. Personally I would be reluctant to even give a list of instructions to (for example) automatically remove adverts from Spotify recording, and more so to customise a plug-in for the task.

We have provided instructions for such tasks in the past, but I don’t think there is a general solution.
For example, if an event occurs every 127 seconds, then the user can manually find the first event, then use Regular Interval Labels to create labels every 127 seconds. Obviously this will only work for events that occur precisely at regular intervals. That is different from saying “to remove adverts from … on-line radio, do…”

No one is suggesting anything other than a generic plug-in to (for example) delete five specific ranges in a selection. User has to choose those ranges. The plug-in should not have presets for a specific radio service, but I would expect the ad ranges can be found online in any case.

Unless wanted for a Chain, there is probably no need for such a plug-in.

Even your existing plug-ins could be used for ad-removal if there was always an ad at the start. If the podcast or song was copyrighted, or not paid for by subscription, the user should not even have recorded it in the first place.

If a download or recording was allowed, can’t the user do what they want with it for their own use (that is, if they don’t republish it)?


That would be possible, but unless wanted as a batch effect it would probably be as quick to simply select each region by eye and delete.
With a little practice looking at waveforms, adverts can often be spotted quite easily.
As a batch effect it would be difficult because you would probably not know where the first advert starts.

I think our stance on that is that it is the responsibility of the user to ensure that they act within applicable laws. Breach of copyright has been an issue (common practice) for decades but remains legally restricted in many countries.

I think the official advice has to be “read the terms and conditions, and if in doubt, don’t do it or seek advice from a legal professional”.

Yes, but in practice if you were allowed to download the podcast and it was not restricted with DRM so that it only plays on particular programs, I think it unlikely there would be a restriction on editing the audio for your own use.

The user should read the Terms and Conditions, but there would be no practical way to enforce a “don’t edit it” restriction on a file without DRM.


Assuming that you mean for deleting a specified size at regular intervals, it could be achieved by adding a “Labeled region length” control to the “Regular Interval Labels” tool. The labelled regions could then be deleted using “Edit > Labeled audio > Delete”.
There could be other cases where it would be useful to mark regular regions.

No, I meant arbitrary ranges, but I like your suggested addition to “Regular Interval Labels”.

Interesting that you call Regular Interval Labels a “tool” :wink:


Topic split to: