Time’s A Wastin or How to Record Audio from YouTube


My favorite song in Walk the Line is Time’s A Wastin (by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon). Unfortunately, the Phoenix-Witherspoon version is not on the soundtrack or available for download from iTunes. However, I did find it on YouTube and figured out a way to convert it to a mp3 file (see instructions after the YouTube video).

audio cableFirst, you’ll need an audio cable so you can connect the speaker jack on your pc to the line-in jack. If you have a standard computer, you’ll need a cable like the one in the photo. You can get the cable for about a dollar online or at a thrift store.

Next, you’ll need to download and install Audacity, which is a free, open source program for recording and editing audio. It works with Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

You’ll also need to download and install LAME MP3 encoder, which enables Audacity to export MP3 files.

After you have purchased an audio cable and have installed Audacity and LAME MP3 encoder, you will need to follow the steps below:

(1) Connect one end of the audio cable to the line-in jack on your computer. Connect the other end of the cable to the speaker/headphone jack.

(2) In Audacity, click on Edit, then click on Preferences. Make sure “Software Playthrough (Play new track while recording it)” is NOT selected. Otherwise, you’ll have multiple audio tracks playing when you are trying to record.

Audacity Preferences

(3) Click the Record button in Audacity.

Audacity open source program for recording and editing audio

(4) Click the Play button in YouTube. Note: You won’t be able to hear the audio from your speakers because the audio cable is routing the music to the line-in jack.

(5) When the YouTube video is done playing, click the Stop button in Audacity.

(6) Unplug the audio cable.

(7) Click on the “Skip to Start” of track button.

(8) Click on Play to hear your recording.

(9) Remove the portion of the track you don’t want (ie – the dead period before the song starts and after it ends). Use the Selection Tool to highlight the part to be deleted at the beginning of the song. Then press the Delete key on your keyboard. Repeat for the portion to be deleted at the end of the track.

(10) Click File, then Export as MP3. Give it a file name and then click on Save. That’s it. You’re done.

Audacity selecting and deleting soundtracks

15 thoughts on “Time’s A Wastin or How to Record Audio from YouTube

  1. I used to work at radio station and we had a big board and did the same things but recently I found this.

    I found this cool tool on LifeHacker that does the same thing less fuss.


    ListenToYouTube is a simple web-based application for pulling the audio out of a YouTube video and converting it to MP3. The service is free and simple: you plug in the URL for the video, it grabs the audio, you download the MP3.

    Read BuckDaddy´s recent blog post..How to kick butt at Scrabble

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