Video-hosting sites like YouTube are also a great source of free tunes. Even if the audio quality isn't usually the best, at least you can hear the song you're searching for, maybe with a video of a turntable spinning the vinyl original. You can save the YouTube vid, but to play the tune on your MP3 player or add it to your MP3 collection, you'll need to extract the audio. That's easy to do, though: Just convert Flash videos saved from YouTube and other sites into MP3s. Generally speaking, you have two choices: 1) an all-in-one conversion utility; or 2) freeware designed to convert between a few file types. All-in-one tools can be fiddly and even expensive. On the other hand, choosing a freeware conversion tool can be potluck. Cassiopeia's FLV to MP3 Free Converter not only does the job, but it also comes bundled with a similar (and similarly simple) tool: FLV to AVI WMV MPEG Free Converter. Together they make it easy to convert Flash files into MP3 audio files or widely compatible video formats.
An ad-supported splash screen let us choose Convert to AVI or Convert to MP3; we chose the latter. FLV to MP3 Free Converter has a plain but efficient and easy-to-read interface; a square dialog box with simple controls and a file list. The bottom half contains MP3 audio settings, including Bitrate, Frequency, and Channels. A helpful feature lets you tell the program what to do when output files already exist: Auto-rename, Overwrite, or Skip.
We loaded a Flash video clip saved from YouTube, selected our output options, and pressed Start. FLV to MP3 Free Converter processed our file with speed. We clicked the converted file, and it played normally in our usual media player. The sound quality was better than we expected, considering the low-fi original, the Web download, and the file conversion -- certainly not dramatically worse than the average MP3. FLV to MP3 Free Converter proved an easy-to-use tool that puts tons of tunes, movie scenes, and video clips within reach of your MP3 player. The companion AVI tool just seals the deal.