Can't import mp3 file that was YouTube video


I’m getting an “incorrect filetype” message when I try to import a short mp3 file that was originally a YouTube music video, and I’m wondering if the problem might be on YouTube’s end, as when I ran the video through one of the converters, the procedure wouldn’t work. Another converter did work, obviously, for me to be able to try to import the file.

I’m doing what I’ve done for many similar files, and there was no problem a few days ago. The files I’ve previously created still work fine, but if I try to recreate one of them by going to YouTube and converting that same video to mp3, it’s a no go.

I’m a technoramus, as is likely apparent from my fumbling attempts to explain the situation, so please bear that in mind when replying.

Much obliged

How did you convert your Youtube movie to mp3?

I would do the following (I am on a Mac, and you did not write what your system is):

  • install the software “Blackhole” (or Soundflower, they both work - but I can’t provide a download link at this moment)
  • set the sound output of the Mac to Blackhole
  • set the sound onput of the Mac to Blackhole - this records the Youtube-sound directly to Audacity
  • maybe in Audacity you want to switch on “playthrough”, then you can even hear on your Mac what you are recording.
  • in Audacity, you may edit the recording and then export as mp3 (or any other format you prefer).

Thanks for replying

I usually use YTMP3 - YouTube to MP3 Converter, although sometimes it takes too long for my taste, and I use YouTube to MP4 Converter. The former wasn’t completing the conversion last night, and this morning, after following the recommendation to clear my browser cache, I got a “backend error” message, leading me to think the problem may lie with YouTube.

And to be clear, these are only a few minute music videos, which I use as backing tracks for my vocals.

After converting with the latter, then trying to import the mp3 file, Audacity gave me an “incorrect filetype” message, even though I was following the same procedure that had worked many times before. Importing raw data just produces garbled noise, and FFmpeg appears to be for file types that aren’t already compatible with Audacity.

I’m using Windows 11.

I’ll keep Blackhole and Soundflower in mind, but again, I am a techno dummy, and at any rate, I’d really like to find out just what’s causing this problem from out of nowhere. I wonder if there’s some setting on YouTube that’s interfering with the process.

Well… If YouTube wanted you to steal content they would give you a “download” button. :wink:

But it’s more-likely the YouTube converter you’re using. And from what I understand, YouTube changes things periodically in an attempt to prevent copying so software that works one day may not work the next.

You can check the format with MediaInfoOnline. If it’s actually an MP3 you should see:
MPEG Audio
Version 1
Layer 3

(You can compare to a “good” MP3.)

Audacity tends to be more picky about “imperfect” MP3s than other software and MediaInfo may not show you the problem/difference.

Right. That only works with uncompressed formats (WAV, or raw PCM data). And even then, if you don’t get the format details right (bit depth, sample rate, etc.), it may not work correctly. (All of those details are normally in the file header.)

Compression is a lot like encryption and if it’s not decoded properly you get garbage.

Right. You need FFmpeg for MP4 (aka AAC or M4A) and for some other formats. (You don’t need it for MP3 or WAV.)

Well, it seems to me not to be an Audacity problem but a problem of the software / service you use for converting the Youtube movie.

Try to download the movie using JDownloader2. This normally gives you a movie file (.mp4) and a sound file (.m4a). I could open the sound file from within Audacity (menu "File → Open → select the m4a-file).

Thanks for replying

So, I’m getting the result you show with MediaInfoOnline with my previous files, but when I check the exact same video source after conversion I get this

ID : 1
Format : AAC LC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec Low Complexity

So clearly something’s changed, as you say. Does the above tell you anything?

Thing is, I’ve been using these converters for months, with no problem. If YouTube is changing things, they’re doing so relatively infrequently, yes?

At any rate, am I SOL as far as this method of producing backing tracks via YouTube goes, and if so, what else could allow me to do so?

You could try using Audacity to record the audio. It would have to be done in real time though.

See my convo with DVDdoug - looks like I’m getting a different file type through conversion that Audacity doesn’t work with.

JDownloader2 gives me eight options with Windows. Any idea on which one to choose?

Thanks for replying

No idea how to do that - I’m afraid that’s beyond my pay grade.

If you want an .mp3-file, it does not make sense to produce .mp4 (which is video, while .mp3 is only audio).

This said, I tried today to convert a 5minutes-piece from Youtube - Peter Gabriel, Solsbury Hill - using YTMP3 - YouTube to MP3 Converter and it saved the file without any problem in nearly no time. Also, I could open/import the file into Audacity which took only 2-3 seconds.

If your converted file does not import, then it is possible that (a) the file is broken or (b) there is some mis-configuration on your computer.

You need to know what computer you have:

  • 32bit-processor: then download an x86 version
  • 64bit-processor: then download an x64 version
  • ARM processor: then download the ARM version

It is your decision, which Java-version you like; I would not take a too old version, unless the requirements/capabilities of your machine require it.

What does this reply refer to? If it is about the “record in real time” thing, I gave you instructions for the Mac; no idea what software (if any) you need for Windows. You can also play the sound on one computer and connect the sound-out with a cable to the sound-in of the recording computer. It works - but I would not recomment this.

I got a response from their “help desk” that this is a regular issue, and it should be fixed by today, which, judging by your experience, is the case.

I’ll check later, and let you know how it went.

Thanks again

(Gabriel - you have good taste)

Houston, we are a go

Thanks for your help

It’s easy. I’ve done it before, but later I found out I didn’t use the ideal settings. This article tells you how to set your “audio host” and “recording device.” (If you use the wrong ones, it also records whatever sound your microphone picks up, so use the ones shown in the article.) Then you should be able to use the on-screen buttons in Audacity to record just as you would on an old analog cassette recorder. Open your YouTube file but don’t have it playing. Then pop over to Audacity in another window and start recording. Then pop back over to YouTube and play the file. Go back to Audacity and stop the recording when the video is through playing. Then you can edit the recording in Audacity and trim off the extra space at the beginning, before the video started playing. Use Audacity to export the file as an Mp3 (or wave, whichever format you want).

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Much obliged

I’ll keep this handy if I ever need it. In this instance, it was a converter issue, which I suppose could have been caused by a YouTube change that it needed to adjust to.

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Try renaming the file then open it
IE: remove all the little dots and dashes
When I used youtube to mp3 my malewarebytes removed it as spyware ???

Thanks for replying, Mike

See my last post in the thread - everything’s been working fine since.

I have the free version of Malwarebytes, and get this popup when I convert a file

Malware blocked
Site URL :
Malware URL :

Potentially malicious activity has been blocked. However, you can still safely continue to view this site while using Browser Guard.

As far as I know, it hasn’t caused any issues.

Renaming seems to work for me
So does opening the file with a different DAW

Later bro…