Ripping And Organizing Long Music Mixes

I am crazy about Diplo & Friends and BBC Essential Mix. Awesome artists create long, well mixed sets that I like to listen to while I work. Check out this awesome Rustie Essential Mix while you read...

There are some issues

  • They're not maintained and often disappear entirely
  • Some mixes show up on SoundCloud, MixCloud, YouTube, etc - hard to keep track of them all
  • It's a pain in the ass to stream them on my phones data plan

But there's a solution: store the tracks in Google Music

Google Music allows you to upload 50,000 tracks for free. Their apps are great, and I can get the music streamed to my Sonos.

I don't just store long mixes, I store any music that isn't natively on Spotify in here. Remixes, stuff from Bandcamp, etc. Spotify allows you to add offline tracks, but the syncing feels a bit voodoo-like so I don't trust it. I'm listening to music on Sonos, iPhone, 3 different computers... I like to know I can listen to it when I want to.

Now, obviously, I have to advocate that you only download stuff that's made available for download. No illegal ripping, got it?

Find a track available to download

DJ 4B has made this mix available for download, for free:

Lots of artists do this, however they also use a myriad of weird download services that are full of ads, or you have to drop in your email address - I often don't trust them. Even SoundCloud's free downloads are linking out to another site that actually provides the download.

Instead, I use youtube-dl in the terminal to grab the audio. If it's available for free anyways, who cares?

Install & use youtube-dl in the terminal to download

  • If you have Homebrew installed (you should, it's great!) then open terminal and type
    brew install youtube-dl
  • If you don't, there're wget or curl commands you can use on the youtube-dl GitHub page.

It's pretty straight forward: open terminal, cd into the folder you want to download into (I usually cd downloads) and then type

youtube-dl <url>

It works with tons of sites (listed here) so you're almost guaranteed to be able to rip whatever you need to.

If you're ripping from YouTube and just want the audio:

youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 <video URL>

(requires ffmpeg - brew install ffmpeg)

Here's what you'll see:

Now you've got a file to drop into Google Music

Edit the metadata with right click > edit info to get rid of any rogue stuff the rip adds + to make sure the artists are organized correctly.


Now you can listen wherever you go, and have all your favourite mixes stored in one place.

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© 2021 Lloyd Humphreys |