How to Convert ASX Files to MP3 Format

By Jay White

May 2, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Multimedia files stored in streaming servers for online delivery are often called up by means of playlists, which are essentially metafiles that point to digital content for the purpose of generating playback. A common playlist format is called Advanced Stream Redirector, which was developed by Microsoft for the purpose of setting up multimedia presentations. The .asx filename extension is used for this type of playlist.

Windows Media Audio (.wma), Windows Media Video (.wmv) and Advanced Systems Formats (.asf) are part of Microsoft’s proprietary suite of streaming digital media. Developers can use .asf to hold either .wma or .wmv files, and they can also code .asx playlists that point to .asf objects stored in streaming servers. This means that an .asx playlist can be used to stream media in succession, and the playback may consist of songs, videos, or both.

Many people who enjoy streaming songs and listening to podcasts or Internet radio stations are probably familiar with .asx files, which are handled by Windows Media Player. These playlists can be saved for later playback, but doing so will not actually save any recorded media to a computer’s hard drive or removable storage device. In essence, .asx files only contain XML code that points to media stored in a server and provides information about the content.

Since .asx files are not actual media objects, they cannot be converted to .mp3 files. However, a few software utilities have been developed for this purpose; what these programs do is locate the .asf file that holds a .wmv recording, download it, and convert it to .mp3 format. The conversion is done behind the scenes, so to speak, and thus users may not realize that .asx files only contain XML code. In some cases, the .asx playlist actually points to .mp3 files and thus no conversion actually takes place.

Using .asx to .mp3 converters is an acceptable method of saving a copy of those streaming files into your computer or smartphone, but this can also be accomplished with Notepad, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player:

* Right-click the .asx file and choose Open With – Notepad
* The XML should look similar to the code below:


* The URL after the HREF tag is where the audio file is located. Copy that URL
* Paste the URL into Internet Explorer. Windows Media Player will start streaming the file; at this point you can click on File – Save media as.
* In many cases, the .asf will point to a .wma file, which will require an actual conversion into .mp3 if you wish. A good program to use for this purpose is Audacity for Windows, which can be installed for free.

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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