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mps-youtube was updated to version 0.2.2 (and shortly after to 0.2.3) recently, bringing some interesting new features, like an option to use an external application for downloading YouTube videos, metadata tagging of downloaded audio files and more.


mps-youtube is a a command line tool to search, play and download YouTube videos, which supports both local and YouTube playlists.

By default, mps-youtube is basically a YouTube audio player, but it can also serve as a YouTube video player (and downloader), by enabling external video playback (officially, it supports mpv and mplayer for video playback) from its options.

What makes mps-youtube special is the easy to use command line interface, the integrated YouTube search and the ability to download and play only the audio stream, great for those with limited data plans. Here's a list of the most important mps-youtube features:
  • search and play audio / video from YouTube;
  • search tracks of albums by album title;
  • search and import YouTube playlists;
  • create and save local playlists;
  • download audio / video from YouTube, including option to download full YouTube playlists, with support for DASH (so it can mux separate audio and video streams - that means it can download 1080p YouTube videos since all 1080p YouTube videos use DASH) - requires avconv or ffmpeg;
  • transcode audio to mp3 and other formats (requires ffmpeg or avconv);
  • system notifications;
  • view video comments;
  • works under Linux, Windows and Mac OSX;
  • many other small but useful features.

Now back to mps-youtube 0.2.2 (and 0.2.3, which was released shortly after 0.2.2). Probably the most important new feature is the addition of an option which allows setting an external application for downloading YouTube audio/video. This means you can use something like aria2, which supports multiple connections

To set mps-youtube to use aria2, firstly make sure aria2 is installed:
sudo apt-get install aria2
And then use the following command in mps-youtube to set the external download command to aria2:
set download_command aria2c --dir=%d --out=%f %u
For instance, to set the download_command to aria2 and use 4 connections, use:
set download_command aria2c -s4 -x4 --dir=%d --out=%f %u
For more info about this, type "help dl-command" in mps-youtube.

It's important to mention that using an external download command does not support (at least for now) transcoding the downloaded file to another format directly from mps-youtube.

Other changes in mps-youtube 0.2.2 and 0.2.3:
  • implemented skip to previous track. Use > and < keys for next and previous track, q for quit (was ctrl-c). mpv / mplayer input.conf can be imported to use custom keymappings;
  • implemented metadata tagging of downloaded audio files (requires ffmpeg or avconv). This feature is not complete and currently, it uses the YouTube video title as metadata;
  • the stream quality is now displayed in the status line;
  • fixed progress bar for mpv 0.7;
  • fixed YouTube comments overshoot window size;
  • fixed issue with audio remux when using d download command;
  • fixed issue with "set" command.

Install mps-youtube

Arch Linux users can install the latest mps-youtube via AUR.

mps-youtube is available in Ubuntu 14.10 and 15.04 repositories as well as Debian Sid and Jessie however, that's an older version so if you want to install the latest version in Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint and so on, you can use PIP:

1. Install Python PIP (requires Python 3):
sudo apt-get install python3-pip

2. Install mps-youtube using Python PIP:
sudo pip3 install mps-youtube

3. You'll also need either mpv or mplayer(2) if you want to play audio or video via mps-youtube.

mpv is available in the official Ubuntu 14.04, 14.10 and 15.04 repositories as well as in Debian Jessie and Sid so to install it, use the following command:
sudo apt-get install mpv

The mpv version in Ubuntu is pretty old so if you want to install a newer version, you can use Doug McMahon's mpv PPA.

Of course, you can also use mplayer2, which is available in the official repositories for any Ubuntu / Debian version - install it using the following command:
sudo apt-get install mplayer2

If you had mps-youtube installed and you want to upgrade it (or you want to upgrade it later on, when a new version is released), use the following command:
sudo pip3 install mps-youtube --upgrade

For Windows and Mac OS X installation instructions, bug reports and so on, see the mps-youtube GitHub page.

Configuring and using mps-youtube

To start mps-youtube, use the following command:

Before using mps-youtube, you'll need to configure it, in case you won't like the defaults.

mps-youtube 0.2.3 uses mpv as the default media player but you can change this to mplayer2 by using the following command:
set player mplayer
(that's not a typo, the mplayer 2 executable is "mplayer").

By default, mps-youtube searches for music only. If you want to disable this, use the following command:
set search_music false

Also, mps-youtube plays only the audio by default so if you wish to enable playing videos (using the player set above), run the command below (once again, after running "mpsyt"):
set show_video true

You can view all the available configuration options by using the command below:


Searching for music / videos using mps-youtube is as easy as adding "." or "/" in front of the search terms (without the quotes). For instance, to search for Volbeat, you can use:
You can navigate to the next / previous page of results by using "n" (next) and "p" (previous).

To play an item, enter its number. You can also play multiple items, for instance, use "1-5" to play items 1 to 5 or "1, 2, 6" to play the first, second and sixth item and so on.


To download an item, use:
For example, to download the 3rd search result, use "d 3" - this displays all the available audio and video formats and lets you choose which to download (see screenshot above). You can also download the best audio (use "da ITEM-NUMBER") or best video (use "dv ITEM-NUMBER"). This works for both searches and playlists.

This is just to get you started so for more information on using mps-youtube, type "h" and then "help TOPIC" (where topic is "basic", "search" and so on) as explained in mps-youtube: