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A simple, configurable youtube-dl wrapper to download and manage youtube audio (with added features)

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A simple, configurable, cross-platform youtube-dl wrapper for downloading and managing youtube audio (with added features).


yt-audio can be installed via pip. Arch Linux users can use AUR as well.

$ [sudo] pip3 install --upgrade yt-audio

Description and Features

yt-audio is a command-line program that is used download and manage audio from It is a youtube-dl wrapper program, which means it uses youtube-dl as backend for downloading audio. yt-audio tries to make audio/playlist management easy for users. It is cross-platform (Windows/Linux/MacOS).


  • Configure/Setup your own command-line arguments for managing titles/playlists (See usage below)
  • Ability to save each audio/playlist to a different directory (directory specified in argument).
  • Option to keep track of already-downloaded playlist titles with or without archive file.
  • Manage single/playlist audio(s).



A simple, configurable youtube-dl wrapper for downloading and managing youtube audio.

Required Arguments (Any/all):
URL[::DIR]            Video/Playlist URL with (optional) save directory [URL::dir]
-e, --example1        Example playlist [Custom]
--all                 All [Custom] Arguments

Optional Arguments:
-h, --help            show this help message and exit
-v, --version         show version and exit
--use-archive         use archive file to track downloaded titles
--use-metadata        use metadata to track downloaded titles
--output-format [OUTPUT_FORMAT]
                        File output format
                        youtube-dl additional arguments

yt-audio requires either URL or custom argument(s) (or both) as mandatory input(s).

Custom Arguments

yt-audio gives user the ability to setup their own custom arguments for managing/synchronizing audio/playlists. Custom arguments can be configured in yt-audio's (config.ini) configuration file.

NOTE (pip users): The user, if required, will have to copy the configuration file as it is not copied during installation.

Unix/Linux Users: The default config location is $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/yt-audio/ directory. In case $XDG_CONFIG_HOME is not set, the file can be placed in $HOME/.config/yt-audio/ directory.

Windows Users: The default config location is C:\Users\<user>\.config\yt-audio

Setting up custom arguments

The config file config.ini has URL_LIST[] option where users can specify arguments with corresponding URL and (optional) save directory. It's format is as follows:

                # "['-short_arg1','--long_arg1','Help Text/Description']::URL::PATH"

                # PATH (optional) specifies output directory for that particular playlist
                # PATH should be absoulte directory path
                # URL: Complete youtube title/playlist URL
                # These arguments are visible in --help

                # "['-e','--example1','Example playlist']::URL::PATH",

URL_LIST takes comma-separated string values. Each string value is formed from 3 components:

  • CLI Argument - Argument to register. It is written in form: ['-short_arg','--long_arg','Help Text/Description']
  • URL: Youtube playlist/title URL.
  • PATH (optional): Path where this particular playlist/title will be saved. Provide absolute PATH here.

All custom arguments are visible in --help [$ yt-audio --help]

The default save PATH is $HOME/Music. PATH can be configured by user in config file (OUTPUT_DIRECTORY = <dir>). For playlists, one more directory of <PlaylistName> is created where all playlist records are saved.

Keeping track of downloaded titles/playlists

yt-audio has an added feature of keeping track of audio files using file's metadata. This removes the requirement of additional archive file to store title(s) info (option provided by youtube-dl).

User can specify any of the two ways to keep track of downloaded titles. (By default, downloaded titles are not tracked)

Using File Metadata

To use file's metadata, pass --use-metadata argument to yt-audio. To use metadata everytime, you can set USE_METADATA = 1 in config file. Metadata method requires following to work:

  • --add-metadata argument to youtube-dl (--add-metadata argument is added by yt-audio by default. If you don't want this, you can re-configure youtube-dl command in config).

Known limitations of using metadata method

  • I have tried this method with both MP3 and M4A format. MP3 works fine. M4a does not work.

Using Archive File

To use archive file method, pass --use-archive argument to yt-audio. To use archive file everytime with yt-audio, you can set USE_ARCHIVE = 1 in config file. This will create 'records.txt' file in title's download location.

--use-archive flag simply passes youtube-dl's --download-archive FILE argument to youtube-dl. You can pass your own filename to youtube-dl as well with --ytdl-args \"--download-archive FILE\". More info about '--ytdl-args' argument.

# Enable metadata
$ yt-audio --use-metadata [URL/custom_args]

# Enable archive file - creates records.txt file
$ yt-audio --use-archive [URL/custom_args]

# Enable archive file - creates archive.txt file
$ yt-audio --ytdl-args \"--download-archive FILE\" [URL/custom_args]

If both metadata and archive file are enabled, archive file method is used

Title/Playlist-specific PATH

User can also specify any arbitrary path for a particular playlist/title. This PATH can be specified as URL::PATH. If PATH is not provided, PATH from config file is used. If no path is present in config, $HOME/Music path is used

Changing output format

Downloaded file's output format can be specified with --output-format argument. Output Template. Default output format is "%(title)s.%(ext)s"

Passing additional paramaters to youtube-dl

yt-audio gives user the flexibility to pass additional parameters to youtube-dl directly from command-line. Additional arguments can be provided with --ytdl-arguments yt-audio argument. Arguments passed to ytdl-arguments are passed as-it-is to youtube-dl.

$ yt-audio `--ytdl-args \"--download-archive FILE --user-agent UA\"`

NOTE: Make sure to escape double-quotes " when passing arguments to --ytdl-args. Else the arguments passed to --ytdl-args will be read as input arguments to yt-audio.

Modifying default youtube-dl/helper commands

The commands used by yt-audio can be modified from config file. Unusual parameters might break the program. If the parameter is legit and should have (ideally) worked but it didn't, please raise an issue.

Usage Examples

# Synchronizes/downloads --custom1 and --custom2 custom argument URLs and download specified URL as well.
$ yt-audio --custom1 --custom2

# Saves playlist to /my/path/p1/<PlaylistName>/ and single audio to /some/another/path
$ yt-audio

# Adding additional youtube-dl arguments
# This will append additional arguments to youtube-dl download command
$ yt-audio --ytdl-args \"arg1 arg2\"

# Different output format
$ yt-audio --output-format "%(display_id)s.%(ext)s"

yt-audo defaults

The following commands are used by yt-audio to download and manage audio. The commands are configurable using config file.

youtube-dl audio download

# (-x --print-json -o "$OUTPUT$" $URL$) are mandatory
$ youtube-dl -x --print-json --audio-format mp3 --audio-quality 0 --add-metadata --embed-thumbnail -o "$OUTPUT$" $URL$

get playlist/URL info

$ youtube-dl --flat-playlist -J $PLAYLIST_URL$

get file's metadata (used when downloaded titles are tracked using metadata)

$ ffprobe -v quiet -print_format json -show_format -hide_banner "$PATH$"


  • Keeping track of downloaded tracks works with only (for now).


Please create issue for the same. I'm open to suggestions as well :)


Feel free get in touch with me via Twitter or Email.



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