Create Ringtones with Audacity and Youtube

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 21, 2008
Updated • Dec 1, 2012
Music and Video, Youtube

It is possible to create ringtones from any song you like with free tools. Yes, that's right, you don't have to pay a dime for software, the music or the ringtone. All you need is some time and patience. You do need several utilities to create the ringtones: Audacity, the Lame Encoder if you do not have it installed already, FLV Extract, a browser and a video downloader. I suggest using Firefox and the excellent Download Helper extension. Install everything, look at the Download Helper article that I wrote a few weeks ago if you have troubles installing the Firefox add-on.

Now that everything is installed go to Youtube and search for music that you like. Good starting points if you do not know exactly what you are looking for are the top 100 single charts of the United States or the Top 40 singles of the UK. Other options are Amazon or other CD online shops. What I do then is visit Youtube and either enter the artist's name or song in the search box. This should be enough to find the song that you are looking for, you sometimes have to sort the results by date instead of relevancy to find what you are looking for.

Number one song is Basshunter with NOW YOU'RE GONE in the UK. A search for Basshunter on Youtube revealed the video Basshunter Now You're Gone.

I save the video with the flv extension. Now I need to use FLV Extract which I have installed earlier. I only check Audio in the interface and drag and drop the saved Youtube video into it. The result is a mp3 audio file. I can already play the audio file and add it to my mp3 player or mobile phone.

Playback starts automatically and I can check that the quality is good enough.

Some mobile phones can already use this mp3 file as a ringtone, some prefer a 30 second version of it. We will now use Audacity to create a 30 second version of the audio file. Load the mp3 into Audacity, you see a graphical representation of it in Audacity shortly thereafter.

Editing a audio file with Audacity is very easy. Check the timeline on top of the audio stream. Left-Click at the 30 seconds position and drag the mouse to the end of the audio file. Now press delete to remove that part which leaves us with a 30 second sample of the song by Basshunter.

You can also cut in the middle or use the end instead if you like to use that part as the ringtone. Not a problem with audacity. Click on File > Export as MP3 and save the file again. Congratulations, you have created a 30 second ringtone.


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  1. GaryMatt said on May 27, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Of all the text so far none addresses the subject matter.
    HOW TO CREATE A RINGTONE. Till it is on your phone it is not a ringtone.
    Verizon so far will accept an MP3 file to become a ring tone if I upload it to http://WWW.MYXER.COM and that sends it to my phone.

    On my own I cannot send an MP3 file to my phone without the phone message saying the attachment has been removed.

    That is what I hope to learn to do without a website. Find out how to send an MP3 file from my computer to the phone successfully so it can be made into a Ringtone.

  2. Terry Ball said on March 17, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Legoholic was like:
    > My program won’t let me delete my selection!
    > Am I doing something wrong?

    Yes. You probably have the pause button pressed.
    Press “Stop” and then you will be able to delete the selection.

    PS: try to lay off the plastic bricks.

    That was,


  3. Legohoic said on December 13, 2008 at 12:29 am

    My program won’t let me delete my selection! Am I doing something wrong?

  4. FredJones said on March 17, 2008 at 8:43 am

    You can also use and do it all from one site. I came across this today and it seemed to work just fine.

  5. jave said on January 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    You may also try Requires no download of software and is very easy to use.

  6. Pepijn said on January 21, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    you could also use this
    Sorry for the bad english in the post it’s my weblog…..

  7. Martin said on January 21, 2008 at 3:43 am

    Kurt sure you can do that. But it will take longer this way. You have to wait until the video is loaded completely or at least until the point where you can be sure that it won’t stop.

    Then you have to record the audio which takes several minutes which is usually much longer than saving and ripping the video.

    I personally do not have to cut the mp3 at all after ripping it though because my phone does not care about the length of the mp3.

  8. kurt wismer said on January 21, 2008 at 1:48 am

    wouldn’t it be simpler to use audacity to record the mp3 right off youtube as you play the video?

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