Several months ago YouTube introduced a legal way to download YouTube videos. It was a program that they tested out with only a handful of partners.
Today I noticed a new button in the My Videos section of my YouTube account. It said ‘Download MP4.’ After clicking on it, I was provided with a link to the MP4 file of the video. This basically was a vanity URL to a much longer URL.
My YouTube account is a Partner account and I’m also in the YouTube video download program. I don’t know if this was leaked to all accounts or only those in the program, but I did see it on all of my videos even those that were not download enabled.
I logged out of my account and tried to access the MP4 file and I was redirected to log in to my YouTube account before I could download the file.
As of right now when I go to the URL it says: “Sorry, this video is not available for download right now.” The URL was http://www.youtube.com/download_my_video?v=Be9Sl9BTIqs. You’ll notice that all you have to do in order to download a video is replace the URL information after the equal sign.
The bottom line is that this is a feature that YouTube is working on and apparently might be rolling out soon enough. It will usher in a new age of a YouTube downloadable Marketplace where content creators can provide direct links for their viewers to download their videos either for free or for a flat fee.
I tried to add the URL to my MRSS feed, but still iTunes didn’t read it. When the day comes that YouTube enables users to download videos through iTunes and other RSS podcast readers it will be a great day! For years there has been a gap between those that enjoy podcasts and those that enjoy YouTube videos. If YouTube can bridge that gap they will even further expand their reach as being the number one place to host video.
Since publishing this post, the Download MP4 button has returned! Maybe we’ll get an official statement from YouTube about this new feature soon. It looks like it’s available on non-Partner and non-Downloadable program YouTube accounts. You can only download your own user uploaded videos unless you’re a part of the Downloadable video program and enabled downloads of your video.