There are quite a few Web sites that offer users the ability to download a YouTube video or extract and download just the audio portion as an MP3, but the YouTube to Mp3 service SaveToMp3.com stands out as not having tons of offensive ads or any risk of giving you malware. Intrigued, I reached out and asked Vince, the developer, about how he came to build the site and how it’s going. Here’s our Q&A:
Q: Hello! Tell us about yourself. What’s your academic background, where do you live, etc.
Hello ! I’m Vince, 26 years old. I was born in Grenoble but currently working in Lyon, France. Since the age of 14 I’ve definitely been attracted to everything related to computer science and technology. I did a DUT (two-year technical college degree) plus an additional year to completing a degree in Computer Science.
During my studies I found a passion for web development. At university the web language was one of the easiest programming languages to learn. I also quickly saw that if we don’t keep learning outside the school we cannot improve or even keep up with changes.
So I decided to leave school and start my own business. I had a lot of failure and developed many websites that didn’t work well but it wasn’t an issue. Doing this was one of my favorite hobbies! Each mistake I made helped me move one step further forward.
Now, what is the difference between a smart man and a wise man? The smart man learns from his mistakes, the wise man learns from his mistakes and the mistakes of others. This realization absolutely changed my life; instead of only looking back at my own mistakes I now dig deeper to also learn from the mistakes other people have done too.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of creating savetomp3.com?
Both of my parents were always asking me to download some song that they saw on YouTube.
I decided to create a website that could do the job in the easiest way possible. But before building my own, I looked at the top online tools that could do the task and saw that most of them were overrun with malware or ads. Moreover they weren’t really easy to use for my parents who are not really familiar with the world of the Internet. They have to copy an url from youtube and then paste it on the Youtube converter… and I was like: Hell no! No way they can do that on their own.
Q: There are lots of other sites that offer YouTube and other videos to MP3 audio track extraction. Why do another one?
Having to copy and paste the address URL each time is such a pain and not a user friendly experience, especially for my parents! On savetomp3.com you can type a keyword and it will display the results as if you were on YouTube.
This functionality eliminates the need to switch to YouTube every time you want to downloading music. With the new technology, we also removed the delay between converting and downloading, the two processes are executed at the same time! We also provide the ability to cut from a timeline, no more long annoying introduction of some clips.
Moreover, the platform are also available on smartphone and tablet so you can download music everywhere you are.
Q: What are a few of the most popular videos that users ask you to process?
I cannot answer to this question because every downloaded file is anonymous, since we do not upload any files onto our server (for legal purpose). You can see which videos are the most popular on YouTube by watching the top result for each country…
Q: Let’s talk legal for a moment: Having the right to watch a video on YouTube doesn’t mean that the artist or studio also grants us the right to download the video or extract the audio track for offline listening. What’s your thinking on this, and what do you tell users in this regard?
Streaming and downloading are not that different… when we’re streaming we are also downloading, but simply to the Web browser’s cache. Our service only keep the cache file to convert it into an mp3 audio file. It is among others a FLV to MP3 converter which is equipped with a suggestion and a search engine provided by Youtube itself (Youtube API).
Moreover, it’s totally legal if we convert YouTube videos to mp3 for our own personal use. When we record a TV show with a VCR or DVR, then we are creating a copy for our own use. It doesn’t become illegal until you start selling or distributing the music for profit or non profit use. Only the act of distribution is where it officially become illegal.
Q: Talk about development. What programming language did you use to create the site? Was it an easy build or did you find lots of challenges along the way?
The programming languages used are PHP, MySql, Jquery, HTML and CSS, all atop a framework developed by a friend.
Knowledge of Linux and the line command are required. It seems to be easy but unfortunately it’s not. Building this website was a real challenge since I had to learn everything from coding and server admin to search engine optimization! I’m still learning and modifying the website every day, constantly checking if the servers are ok and that there are no bugs that could result a loss of users.
I didn’t really have any experienced in SEO (search engine optimization) before this website. In my opinion, SEO is one of the hardest and most beneficial things to do when you are passionate: it teaches you to be patient and persistent to succeed. When you’re a web developer, you cannot expect your site to be in the top ranks in a few months (with some rare exceptions of course), it could take years! It’s the main reason that so many people decide to quit their passion projects. Patience is a virtue but content in SEO is KING.
Q: As with any Web site, there are costs associated with keeping it up and running. How are you generating revenue to pay for SaveToMp3.com?
I’m not earning anything by making this website, which is totally fine (for the moment). I’m paying for the server from my own pocket but when the time comes I will probably put some soft ads on the page or ask for donations. My website is a free service and will always remain free, no matter what.
Q: … what else should we talk about?
My dog, her name is Lily and she is so cuteeee!
Thanks for the interview, Vince. I encourage you to check out his savetomp3.com service for an example of a passion project that’s quite elegant and well-designed too.