I have Mac OS X and iTunes 10.2.2, and several m3u files (standard, non extended) containing the paths to songs that are already in the library, just not organized into playlists. I ran a Python script over the m3u playlists to check if each song exists, and verified a few of them by hand: they're all there, and at the correct paths.

When I open iTunes, then go to File -> Library -> Import Playlist and import the m3u files, only tracks without special characters in the name will show up.

For example: if I have a playlist with ten tracks, where one of them, say /Users/myname/Music/Library/Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová/The Swell Season/03 - Falling Slowly.mp3, uses accent marks, like ü, ñ, or é, or anything not resembling something I could type without using Alt+ on a standard EN-US keyboard, it doesn't show up. All the other tracks in the playlist show fine, just not the "odd" ones.

If I copy and paste the file path of an "odd" song out of the m3u file and into Terminal and run open on it, it opens in iTunes just fine, and is recognized as already being present in my library.

There are too many playlists and songs (more than 100,000) for me to go through and manually fix all of the names, and it's not even my library to begin with. Are there any solutions to this, or any workarounds? Perhaps something involving the type of UTF iTunes likes to see versus the kind that's being passed to it in the m3u files?


I'm not entirely sure why this is happening to me now, as well - but it seems in certain setups iTunes has problems with m3u files containing songs with special characters.

The "solution" I found was opening the m3u in Winamp and saving it again as m3u8 (unicode). iTunes seems to be able to deal with it.


I had this problem with M3U playlists exported from WinAmp and the problem lies in the Plain Text Encoding of the playlist file itself.

  1. Open the playlist with TextEdit and choose File -> Duplicate to make a copy.

  2. Review the copy in TextEdit and make sure the accented characters are correct and reflect the filenames of your music.

  3. Choose File -> Save... and in the section labeled Plain Text Encoding choose "Unicode (UTF-8)".  ("Unicode (UTF-16)" may work as well but I haven't tried it.)

  4. In the Save As box make sure you append .m3u to the playlist name.

  5. Click Save. When prompted to save as .txt, stick with your choice of .m3u.

  6. You should then be able to drag your playlist into iTunes and the tracks with accented characters should appear correctly.

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