I'd like to be able to base playlists in iTunes on a folder on my hard drive.

For example, say I have this directory structure:

C:\MP3s\Doctor Who Music
C:\MP3s\Star Wars Music

Importing all those MP3s into iTunes is really simple - at the bare bones version you can just drag the MP3 folder into the iTunes window and it does the rest.

But, having done that, what I'd like to be able to do is point iTunes at each of those directories and have it turn them into their own playlists, so I end up with a Doctor Who Music and a Star Wars Music playlist based on the MP3s locations on the hard drive.

Does iTunes have a way to do this, or is there a way to trick it into this with some other program?

(I'm on Windows, but I'm sure Mac users would also appreciate answers to this as well.)

  • 4
    My wife tells me I have extremely nerdy tastes in music. Aug 19, 2009 at 18:14

7 Answers 7


Its really simple with iTunes 9. iTunes 9 has a Playlist Folder in itself. All you have to do is drag a particular folder in a particular location onto the playlist pane. It will create an entire playlist based on files only in that particular folder. CHEERS!

  • Easy as Pie! :) Sep 28, 2010 at 1:23
  • I think this doesn't work anymore (iTunes 11)
    – Jonathan
    Oct 18, 2013 at 9:35
  • Works for me. To create a new playlist in my (MacOS-based) iTunes 11.2.2, drag the folder from the Finder to the "Playlists" section title in the left-side frame. Otherwise, just drag the folder to any existing playlist and my mp3 files in said folder are added to said existing playlist. Jun 1, 2014 at 23:29
  • What about automatically? i.e. I create a sub-folder in my music dir and iTunes automatically creates the playlist. Doing it one by one is tedious when you have a couple hundred folders. May 30, 2015 at 23:12
  • Very nice. But can we do this with Windows Media Player, or any other windows application?
    – KeyC0de
    Jul 22, 2016 at 19:30

In iTunes you may be able to create a SmartPlaylist that filters on Album or Artist. There doesn't appear to be a way to use the folder to filter the list.


If you make an empty playlist and then drag the folder from the harddrive over that playlist, it will load all that music in that playlist.

  • I think this doesn't work anymore (iTunes 11)
    – Jonathan
    Oct 18, 2013 at 9:35

I had the same problem and didn't find a way to solve it in internet. So I decided to write a simple app that help us to re-create our folder lists 'mp3s' into iTunes. It's a simple program written in delphi, here is the link on how to use it and here the link directly to the (not installing) app.

  • Your software works very well. Thanks so much! Feb 26, 2014 at 1:27
  • @filippo forlani Your software can't be downloaded any more because the link 404s. Could you please provide a mirror?
    – WackGet
    Dec 11, 2019 at 3:36
  • @PatrickMaciel Do you happen to have a saved copy of the software you could upload please?
    – WackGet
    Dec 11, 2019 at 3:37

Use The GodFather to change the comments field of a song to the folder name. You can then create a dynamic playlist in iTunes that evaluates the information of the comments field.

Downside: before you add new songs to iTunes you have to do this step. Perhaps you can do this with scripting in The GodFather or with Visual Basic and iTunes directly.


Aha, found a solution.

iTunes doesn't seem to be able to do this, but WinAMP will.

So, enqueue all the MP3s in question in WinAMP (generally, the easy way is to right-click on the folder itself and choose "Enqueue in Winamp".) Save the resulting playlist as an M3U.

Create a new (and empty) playlist in iTunes.

Drag the M3U from Windows Explorer into the empty playlist and viola.

There is one catch - save the M3U in the same folder as the music files - otherwise WinAMP will put relative paths in the M3U rather than just the file names, and this will cause iTunes to think these are new files, even if you've already imported them. If the M3U doesn't have paths, just the file names, iTunes will recognize which files it already has imported and will act accordingly.

  • This is of limited usefulness (for me at lesat), as the iTunes playlist won't keep up when the directory content changes... A more dynamic solution would be nice if you want to use the filesystem for organising music.
    – Jonik
    Aug 19, 2009 at 18:49
  • @Jonik: agreed on all points. This can't be the best solution, it's just the only one I've found so far. Aug 19, 2009 at 19:06

In OS X you can write a AppleScript to do what you want, e.g. my DiskHierarcyToItunes you can find at http://vladalexa.com/scripts/applescript/itunes/ Possibly you could do this on a mac then export that library to iTunes on windows.

  • Could you perhaps post the relevant script? Mar 18, 2012 at 15:38
  • trying to post it here it says "2400" characters too long, you can find the scripts on my website
    – valexa
    Mar 20, 2012 at 9:46
  • There should not be a character limit like that. Mar 20, 2012 at 11:37

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