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Manually Save m3u Playlists

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I'd like the ability to save an m3u playlist after making changes to it. Seems PA does save these playlists but I can't figure out when or what sequence is required. Occasionally you'll see a message in blue font at the bottom of the playlist list which says the playlist name and path "...has been saved", so I know its possible, just don't know when (or how to repeat this save)...which becomes frustrating when a media scan reverts all playlist changes back to the last saved m3u version.

Has anyone figured how to repeatedly save playlists manually? Or is this a feature to be added in future releases??


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Man, I'm searching everywhere. There just doesn't seem to be a "manual" way of saving the playlist. This is literally the only complaint I have with PA. I've even gone as far as abandoning syncing iTunes playlist as I make more changes on-the-go than in front of my PC...

Help please...*whimper*

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Well...I've got some news...PA does save changes to .m3u files...whether you know this or not

I've seen the message "playlist.m3u has been saved" appear for a few seconds in blue font at the bottom of the list page of playlists when exiting a particular .m3u file based playlist.

So, I've been trying to repeat this save method for over a week now until today I figured it out. I've tested it and 100% of my results reveal the message ".m3u playlist is saved". I even opened the .m3u file on my PC with Windows Media Player and the saved changes are clearly there. I now have a full .m3u file based playlist editor...!!!

Also, I've already tried the Settings >> Advanced >> Playlists Import/Export to get the file based playlists exported (i.e. backed-up) as .m3u8 files as you suggested but I always get "0 playlists exported" and yes, I've checked I've got a "playlists" folder for PA to write to. I've gone as far as to create a folder in both phone and external sd card just in case. I made sure they are selected in folder scans, re-scanned, killed the app, re-booted the phone, re-scanned...yada yada...but export doesn't work for me on my Samsung Galaxy S2 (Bell Mobility) running OS 2.3 and a fully licensed PA 2.0.1-build 455.

Anyway, I'm golden now as my .m3u playlists save on device and sync to my PC perfectly...bye bye iTunes...!!!

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Correct, m3u and other file based playlists are saved automatically, this happens on playlist change (or when playlist is changed and "exited").

As for export/import exporting, it won't export file based playlist - it will process just user created, non-file based playlists only. Probably this should be indicated more clearly in the settings (or also some option to export everything can be added later).

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Library playlist or file-based playlist ??

I don't really know the difference between the two.

I save a playlist on Poweramp by long-pressing an artist name and then specifying which playlist those songs should be saved in. My music is all on my SD card but when I export those playlists they export to a "Playlists" folder on the phone hard drive as .m3u8 files.

Normally, when I connect my phone via USB I lose all my Winamp and Playerpro playlists but my Poweramp playlists remain. Yesterday, I connected my phone via USB to make changes directly to the mp3 tags and all of my Poweramp playlists were gone. The playlist "locations" in that it showed artist names when I clicked "Playlists" from the main menu but the playlists were empty.

If that happens, what do I do to restore them so I don't need to resave them?

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Correct, m3u and other file based playlists are saved automatically, this happens on playlist change (or when playlist is changed and "exited").

As for export/import exporting, it won't export file based playlist - it will process just user created, non-file based playlists only. Probably this should be indicated more clearly in the settings (or also some option to export everything can be added later).

Where are the playlists saved and how do we restore them if they get lost or are emptied somehow?

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I feel your pain bro. I saw my library playlists content go to zero after media scans and got the "...it's not us, it's Android..." answer from the PA team. So, let's get you out of this mess once and for all so you (and everyone suffering) can continue using PA and all it's wonderful features.

First, the simple difference between "library" and "file-based" playlists.

When you open PA and create a playlist with songs already on your device, they are saved as a "library" playlist.

Ok, now turn to your computer. When you add songs to a PC program (Windows Media Player, iTunes, WinAmp, etc.) and choose File >> Save As >> PLAYLISTNAME.m3u, then you have just created a "file-based" playlist. This .m3u file must be transferred to your device and when PA does a media scan, it will find it, but only if you have PA look in the folder on the device you transferred it to, such as anywhere inside "mnt/sdcard/external_sd/Music". Trick is, you must use the files/songs already on your device to create the PLAYLISTNAME.m3u, ok?

So, this is how I started using "file-based" playlists.

1. Connect device to PC using USB mode (hopefully you know this basic step already)

2. On my device, I've got a "Music" folder located on my external SD card "mnt/sdcard/external_sd/Music". Inside this folder, I've got several sub-folders ("Electronic", "Pop & Rock", "R & B", "Rap", "Reggae", and finally "Z Misc").

3. Inside each sub-folder, is another series of sub-folders which represent the contents of my "file-based" playlists. For example, inside the "Electronic" folder is "E Ambient". I use the E in "E PLAYLISTNAME" to identify it's Electronic music and keeps all my folders in alphabetical and genre order when I'm in PA folder view. It's also a great way to preserve my playlists no matter what device I use. It keeps things organized by playlist and I'm super-anal that way. Lose hours of playlist creation and you'll know what I mean. So, in the "Electronic" folder I will see something like this :

E Ambient

E Breakbeat

E Dance

E Dubstep

E Drum & Bass

E Lounge

E Mellow

E Minimal

E Trance

4. So, with my device USB connected to my PC, I use Windows Explorer to view the contents of the "E Ambient" folder which has 138 files/songs in it. I select all files >> right-click >> then choose "Add Files To Windows Media Playlist" or "Open With" and choose your weapon. WMP opens up and in the "Now Playing" list contains the 138 files. If you don't see the files, look for the "Now Playing" tab at the top left of WMP and left-click it.

5. Now, go to File >> Save Playlist As >> PLAYLISTNAME.m3u and save it inside the "E Ambient" folder on your device which contains the 138 Ambient songs.

6. USB disconnect your device from the PC properly (look it up on numerous Android forums if you don't know how)

7. Your device should automatically begin it's media scan. After it is finished, sometimes PA also begins it's media scan, if it's setup this way in your PA settings. Otherwise, open PA, then navigate to Settings (inside PA hit the "Menu" button on your device, which usually looks like two horizontal lines covered by a 3 sided-rectangle) >> select Rescan.

8. Exit "Settings" and go to "Library" (at the bottom with Player and Folders) >> Playlists. You should see the heading "File-based Playlists" and your newly created "E Ambient.m3u" playlist in that list. It will say "not loaded yet" below it every time PA does a media scan. Don't worry about that. Just select the "E Ambient.m3u" playlist and viola...!!!

9. Now, when you make an order change in that playlist and exit the playlist, it will save to the "E Ambient.m3u" file and your on-the-go changes save with it. Remember, adding/removing songs to the playlist in PA and exiting the playlist will not save the changes. You must change the order of at least one song and then exit the playlist. Best way to exit the playlist is to hit the header "Playlists E Ambient.m3u" at the top. On that header, to the right of the name, you will see 2 icons. 1 is an arrow pointing upwards, the other is the change order button which looks like an equal sign (i.e. "=") with triangle points up and down on each line of the equal sign. Press that once to toggle it on/off. When it's on, the icon will glow white. Go to a song in the list and press & hold the same icon now appearing to the left of each song and drag it up or down until you see a glowing horizontal line appear. Drop it in a different order position and then exit the playlist. You should see the words "E Ambient.m3u has been saved" appear at the bottom of the "File-based Playlists" screen. It only fades in and out for 1-2 seconds so keep an eye out for it.

This is very tedious the first time, but after creating the 38 PLAYLISTNAME.m3u files on my PC and saving them to the specific sub-folder in the external SD card "Music" folder on my device, I never have to do that again and my playlists are protected from Android media scans.

Tip : If later on I decided to add more songs via USB from my PC to the "E Ambient" folder on my device, I then go to "Folders" in PA and press & hold the "E Ambient" folder >> select "Add to Playlist" >> select "E Ambient.m3u" and only the new songs will get added. I then go into that playlist in PA and change order and exit to save the .m3u file.

Warning : Make sure you have Settings >> Advanced >> Lists >> tick "Don't add duplicates" or the obvious will happen.

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