It is not uncommon that, looking for our favorite music on YouTube, we find not only videos corresponding to specific songs, but also the so-called ‘full album’, which include all the tracks of a certain album followed in the same file.
But what happens when one of those videos is the only source we have to extract songs (for example, to play them on the smartphone during a trip) and what we need are the individual MP3s? Well, we will have to split the audio into pieces, of course.
First, we will need the URL of the video that we want to fragment into MP3 files. In our case, we are going to take as an example a ‘full album’ version of the album ‘Ghosts V’, by the Nine Inch Nails, released in 2020 under a Creative Commons license that allows its free diffusion.
It is important, when selecting the video from which we want to extract the audio tracks, which its length matches that of the original album, in such a way that the user who uploaded it has not entered, for example, a short presentation to ‘sign’ the video, for example.
Once we take this into account and have selected the appropriate video, we will need a tool capable of extracting the audio from a YouTube video. For our example we are going to use aTube Catcher, although there are many alternatives.
1. How to extract audio from video
We did not select the option to convert videos to MP3, but rather to download videos … but indicating ‘MP3’ as the format in the ‘Output profile’ option. We indicate the folder where we want to save the audio, and paste the URL of the video, as seen in the image below. Next, we click on ‘Download’.
Then you will see a pop-up window with the following title: “Your video is available in multiple formats, select one”. Choose the option selected by default, and wait for the program to download it and then convert to MP3.
2. How to divide the audio into multiple files
Once that is done, we will download and install the Mp3splt-gtk application from PortableApps.com. We warn you, yes, that this little app hasn’t been updated for years, which will be obvious as soon as we start to handle it … but the truth is that we have not found an alternative more modern appropriate, and what we need it to do, it does it perfectly.
Once we have installed and opened Mp3splt-gtk:
- We access the tab ‘Batch & automatic split‘.
- We load the MP3 file that we created in the previous step by clicking on ‘Add files or directories‘.
- Scrolling to the last option in the window, we mark the option ‘Use CDDB file with similar name as the input file‘.
The next step is very important: we must access the internal search engine gnudb.org and enter the name of the artist / group and album to which our ‘full album’ video belongs. We click on the result that fits what we are looking for, and when entering it we will see, under the album’s track list, a link with the following format: ‘Discid: [género] / [código númerico]‘.
When we click on the link, we will see that it reaches a plain text file. We must copy this text, paste it into the notepad and save it in the same directory as the MP3 ‘full album’, with the same name as this one but with the extension ‘.cddb’.
Its function is tell Mp3splt-gtk at which points on the track it should perform the divisions so that the beginning and end of the new files that we create coincide with those of the songs on the album.
So once the .cddb file is saved, we just have to go back to Mp3splt-gtk, select where we want the new individual MP3 files to be created, accessing ‘Application> Preferences> Split> Directory for split files‘, save and push the button ‘Batch split‘.
3. What if it fails?
If all goes well, you should have the MP3 files created in the folder you chose, and by listening to them you should be able to check that the cuts are well synchronized. If not, we can try to repeat the process by accessing another output from gnudb.org and using another .cddb file.
Keep in mind, however, that the great diversity of editions of the same album (slight changes between one country and another, such as the inclusion or not of certain ‘bonus tracks’) can force us to find another video different from which to extract the tracks.
4. ‘Bonus Track’: Rename files
If you find something ‘ugly’ the default name MP3splt-GTK to new MP3 files, you can use another free tool, MP3Tag, to rename them following the pattern author + album + track number + track name. To do this, you just have to choose the first option in the ‘Convert’ menu.