I have a playlist (.m3u file) that I want to be an iTunes playlist. Is there any way to do this?

  • on what operating system?
    – user1931
    Commented Dec 27, 2009 at 6:45
  • OSX (Snow Leopard)
    – Knio
    Commented Dec 28, 2009 at 6:08
  • @Tom Are you sure OS matters here?
    – Daniel Beck
    Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 16:29
  • @DanielBeck: True, added Windows because some answers are that way. But John T and Knio thought otherwise, anyhow this question is kind of history but I went on improving the very short title and single tag because of the high views... (I was scrolling through a Views / LEN(Title) query) Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 17:34

5 Answers 5


I've found that importing m3u playlists in to iTunes works best if the tracks in the playlist have an absolute path rather than a relative path, eg /Users/MyUserName/Music/AlbumName/TrackName.mp3 rather than just AlbumName/TrackName.mp3. m3u files are just text files so you could just do a search and replace in a text editor.

  • confused. what do you mean by 'importing'? i have an m3u with absolute paths and I'm dragging it into a playlist that already exists, trying to open it with itunes, and dragging it into my general library and nothing is happening
    – Damon
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 4:41
  • Huzzah, I'm late to the party (as always) but absolute paths fixed my issue. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 14:28

First, let me be clear that this is something I figured out on Windows 7, specifically for getting a Winamp generated M3U file into iTunes. I have a weird setup where I have iTunes and Winamp sharing the same music files. Some of this lesson may be applicable for other situations. The key is to look at the format of an exported m3u from iTunes and then to mimic it.

My problem was this; if I dragged a Winamp generated M3U into iTunes, a blank playlist was generated. Bummer. None of the answers in this thread so far worked, or perhaps applied to me. I even had trouble installing M3U2iTunes successfully.

So, I exported an M3U list from iTunes v10.5.3.3 (again...in Windows) to see what iTunes thought a correctly formatted M3U should look like and compared it with a Winamp5.6 generated M3U file. There was one difference.

A typical path to a song in the Winamp M3U looked like this:

#EXTINF:154,Slim Harpo - Rainin' in My Heart
\Users\Username\Music\Slim Harpo\Slim Harpo - Rainin' in My Heart.mp3

While the same one in iTunes looked like this:

#EXTINF:154,Rainin' in My Heart - Slim Harpo
C:\Users\family\Music\Slim Harpo\Slim Harpo - Rainin' in My Heart.mp3

All I needed to do was to do a search and replace in a text editor on my Winamp list, and add the full "c:" before each file path. I saved the play list, dragged it into iTunes and it worked perfectly.


listFix() can fix broken M3U files and pair the music files to the playlist wherever they are located. In the new iTunes you can simply drag and drop your M3U file into the library. The music that is related to your playlist has to be in the iTunes library in order for this to be successful. I just finished moving one of my playlists to iTunes after using listFix() and it worked like a charm!

Have you ever spent some time making a playlist, only to have it break when you reorganize your files? listFix() is a Swing application that solves this problem by finding the lost or missing entries in your playlists automatically. Tell it where you keep your media files, load in the playlist you want to fix, and hit the locate button. The program will search your media library for the file and update the playlist accordingly when it finds a match.

If a few files are still missing, they were probably renamed. listFix() has a way of finding these files as well, by scoring the files in your media library with a "similarity" test and offering you a choice of the best potential matches, pre-selecting the matches it deems "best".

ss of listfix

Additional screenshots can be seen here.


Usually you can just open the playlist with iTunes, but iTunes occasionally has problems with these files. I recommend M3U2iTunes which makes using these files with iTunes much easier. M3U2iTunes is freeware and available for Mac and Windows.

  • Unfortunately this also fails for me :(
    – Knio
    Commented Dec 27, 2009 at 21:07

I used MediaMonkey to create some M#U playlist and exported them using Tools>spript Then using windows explorer I right clicked on the exported playlist and then selected "open with" ITunes. ITunes then popped open with my playlist.

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