How do I download audio tracks in VLC?

VLC media player is a popular free and open-source, cross-platform multimedia player developed by the VideoLAN project. With over 3.5 billion downloads, VLC plays a wide range of media files and supports many audio and video codecs out of the box. Key features of VLC include multitrack audio, subtitle support, playlists, streaming, and more.

This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to download audio tracks using VLC media player. We’ll cover finding audio links online, copying them to your clipboard, opening them in VLC, configuring download options, starting the download process, locating downloaded files, and troubleshooting tips.

The goal is to enable readers to easily download any audio track through VLC, whether it’s music, podcasts, audiobooks, or other audio content from the web.

Preparing to Download

Before you can download audio tracks using VLC media player, you need to make sure you have the following requirements in place:

  • VLC media player installed – VLC runs on Windows 7 or later, as well as MacOS X 10.7 or later, Linux, iOS, and Android. You can download VLC for free from the official website:
  • Internet connection – You’ll need an active internet connection to download the audio files.
  • Link to the audio file – You need the direct download link to the audio track you want to download. This is usually an mp3 file or other audio file format.

Once you have VLC installed and have the link to the audio ready, you’ll be ready to start the downloading process within VLC.

Finding Audio Tracks to Download

The internet offers a vast selection of music and audio tracks that can be downloaded for free or purchased. Here are some popular sites for finding audio tracks:

  • YouTube – This video site hosts official artist channels and fan uploads of music. Use the search bar to find specific songs, albums, artists, etc. Make sure to only download audio uploaded by official artist channels or labels to avoid illegal downloading.
  • SoundCloud – This platform allows artists to share original tracks and remixes. Search for specific artists or browse by genre. SoundCloud offers some tracks for free download if permitted by the artist.
  • Bandcamp – An online music store for independent artists. Browse Bandcamp to purchase lossless audio files and discover lesser known musicians. Purchased tracks can be downloaded in MP3, FLAC, etc.
  • Mixcloud – A platform for DJ mixes and radio shows. Search for your favorite DJs and download their live mixes.
  • – This library contains a variety of public domain audio recordings and live concerts available for download.

Focus your search on sites that offer direct downloads of tracks with artist/label permission. Avoid illegal download sites, P2P networks, and torrent trackers which may contain viruses or lead to legal issues.

Copying the Audio Link

The first step to downloading an audio track is to find the direct link to the audio file. This can usually be done by right clicking on the audio player and selecting “Inspect Element” (Ctrl+Shift+C on Windows/Linux or Command+Option+C on Mac). This will open up the HTML code behind the player.

In the code, look for a link to a file that ends with .mp3, .wav, .ogg or another audio extension. Select and copy this direct link to the audio file (Ctrl+C on Windows/Linux or Command+C on Mac). For example, on SoundCloud you can find a link like in the inspect element view.

Now you have the direct URL to the audio file needed to download it in VLC.

Opening VLC and Pasting the Link

To open the audio stream in VLC, you first need to launch the VLC media player application on your computer. Once VLC is open, click on the “Media” menu at the top and select “Open Network Stream”. This will open up a box where you can paste in the link to the audio stream.

Copy the link to the audio stream that you want to download. This link should start with “http://” or “https://”. Then go back to VLC, paste the link into the “Open Network Stream” box that popped up, and click the Play button. VLC will now connect to that link and start playing the audio stream.

You can also open the network stream in VLC by going to Media > Open Network Stream and pasting the link directly into the box that appears. Just be sure to click the Play button once the link is pasted to start the stream.

Configuring the Download

Once you have opened VLC and pasted the audio link, you need to configure how VLC will download the audio file. The main settings to configure are:

  • Set save destination and filename
  • Optional: Automatically split audio files

To set the save destination and filename, click on the Settings icon (shaped like a gear) in the lower right corner of the VLC window. This will open the Settings menu. Go to the “Download” section. Here you can specify the default folder where you want downloaded files to be saved. You can also set a filename prefix that will be added to all downloaded files.

By default, VLC will save the files using their original filename. But you can customize this by adding a prefix. For example, adding “Downloaded_” as the prefix will save an audio file called “song.mp3” as “Downloaded_song.mp3”. This makes it easy to identify the downloaded versions.

In the Download settings, you can also check the box for “Automatically split audio files”. This is useful if you are downloading a long audio file you want to split into multiple parts. When enabled, VLC will automatically split the audio into multiple files that are easier to work with.

Once you have your download settings configured, you are ready to start the download process within VLC.

Starting the Download

Once you have configured the download options, you are ready to start downloading the audio file in VLC. Simply click the “Play” button in VLC to initiate the download. VLC will begin downloading the audio track from the link you specified.

As the file downloads, you will see a progress bar displaying the status. The time it takes to complete the download will depend on the size of the audio file and your internet connection speed. According to this source, a good download speed for audio files is at least 10 Mbps per stream. With a fast connection, the download should not take long.

Monitor the progress bar and wait patiently for the download to reach 100%. Do not close VLC or interfere with the program until the download is finished. The file is being saved to the destination folder you selected in the download settings. Once complete, VLC will stop on its own. Then you can locate the downloaded file and play it back in VLC.

Locating and Playing Downloaded Files

After the download is complete, you can find your audio files in the destination folder you set for downloads in VLC. By default, this is usually the “Downloads” folder for your operating system user account.

To play the downloaded audio tracks, simply navigate to the downloads folder, then double click on the audio file to open it in VLC media player or your default audio player application. The files will have the .mp3, .wav, .ogg or other audio extension depending on the source format.

Alternatively, you can open VLC media player first, go to Media > Open File, then browse to the folder location of your downloaded audio tracks. Select the file you want to play and click Open.

VLC will begin playing the audio track immediately. You can use the playback controls as normal to pause, skip tracks, adjust volume and more. The downloaded files will now be available in your VLC media library for easy access later.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you are experiencing issues downloading audio tracks in VLC, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can try:

First, check your internet connection. Make sure you are connected to a stable, high-speed network.

Second, try using a different web browser or audio source to download the track from. Sometimes issues downloading can be browser or website specific.

You can also enable VLC’s debug logging to help diagnose any errors. Go to Tools > Preferences > Show settings > All and then enable “Log debug info to file” under the Main interfaces section. This will create a log file that can provide details on why downloads are failing.

As a last resort, you may need to completely uninstall and reinstall VLC Media Player to reset any problematic settings. Just be sure to export your playlists first so you don’t lose your library.

With some targeted troubleshooting, you should be able to resolve most common issues that occur when downloading audio in VLC. If problems persist, check VLC’s website and forums for helpful tips from other users.


Downloading audio tracks in VLC media player is a straightforward process. The main steps are finding and copying the audio link, opening VLC and pasting the link, configuring the download settings, and starting the download. The downloaded files can then be located in the destination folder and played back in VLC.

VLC is an extremely versatile media player with many additional capabilities beyond basic playback. You can create playlists to queue up multiple files, convert between various media formats, and even stream content to devices like Chromecast. The preferences offer a wide array of customization options as well.

With its flexibility, open-source nature, and constant development, it’s no wonder VLC remains one of the most popular media players after all these years. Downloading audio tracks is just one of many ways you can enhance your experience with this robust application. Hopefully this guide provided the information you needed to get up and running with grabbing audio files using VLC.

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