YouTube's videos attract plenty of eyeballs, but your ears likely get plenty of enjoyment out of its contents, too. And if you'd like to turn those videos into audio files and save them, MP3 Rocket (free) makes it about as easy as it could be. See all Software reviews. Subscribe to PC Advisor on YouTube.
MP3 Rocket bills itself as an "MP3 video converter"--and it does, indeed, convert videos to MP3 files, either from YouTube or from your own video files. It lets you search YouTube for certain songs or videos (you can search by artist name, song name, or keywords), and proved quite capable at delivering accurate results very quickly. Results are presented in a new tab, which shows the name of the file, source, file type, and popularity rating, and includes options for streaming the audio to check it or downloading it as an MP3. See all software downloads.
If you choose to download the file, you can select the location and opt to add it to your iTunes library. MP3 Rocket says that it downloads songs in "high quality mode with a bitrate of at least 256 kbs." To my ears, all of the downloads were on a par, with CDs I had burned to my iTunes library. MP3 Rocket Pro, a $30 version, offers downloads at a higher bitrate of 320 kbs and promises faster downloads--though the free version took just a few minutes to get the job done.
MP3 Rocket includes plenty of additional features, beyond simple file conversion. It includes its own media player, so you can listen to the files you've downloaded. And it offers video conversion tools, too. You can locate a file on your computer and convert it to a different video format for viewing on a different device or to an audio file for listening. In addition, MP3 Rocket includes a "Watch TV" feature that lets you stream YouTube videos from within the application, an Internet radio, and access to some games.
Is it legal to convert YouTube files?
If you're thinking that MP3 Rocket sounds like a great way to get a lot of copyrighted content stored on your PC for free, you should take heed of its Terms & Conditions, which notify users that the application should not be used for "the purpose of copyright infringement."
It states that all downloading should be done for the purposes of time-shifting, and must be for "personal, private, and non-commercial uses only." And, despite the option to include the files in your iTunes library, the EULA states: "You agree that you will not share, distribute, or broadcast any files downloaded with the Software in any way. You agree not to keep the recording any longer than is reasonably necessary in order to listen to or view the broadcast at a more convenient time."
We'll let the lawyers ponder these conditions, but otherwise MP3 Rocket is a slick solution for YouTube's overcrowding problem. It offers an easy way to create a collection of your favorite YouTube videos for later listening.