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Beginner's guide to save/backup playlists to PC or wherever else.

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Hi folks, I'm fairly new to Poweramp and it must be said much more of a fan of music than I am computers, tech etc.

I've good a good few playlists that I'm building up and would hate to lose them & need to start again. I've got a LOT of music!

I've been searching on here for information on how to back them up or save them to something outside the phone such as a PC, USB stick etc so they may be transferred to a new phone should mine be lost or damaged.   I've found a few threads on exporting playlists and making them M3u8 files but to be honest I'm just not understanding it, for starters I don't know what an M3u8 file is!

If there's a beginners guide to this a link to it would be great, I've looked through FAQ and found help for a couple other things but not for this.

I do understand a playlist isn't the song files themselves but just a list of the tracks.

Do I connect my phone to the PC then use it to search for the playlist on the phone? Do I need to do the export thing first do the playlist is visible to the PC? 

If this sounds like I'm hopelessly clueless then there could be a straightforward explanation for that.....     But I have managed to rip a lot of music from CDs into Flac on the PC, convert them to mp3 & load them onto my phone.  I've used the PC to edit & rename erroneous & duplicate music files in the phone.

If it matters my phone is nothing fancy, Motorola G7 power on Android 10 with an SD card that music files are on & my PC is I think Windows 10.


Thanks for any help.

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An M3U8 file is simply a Playlist file. It is nothing more than a simple text list of all the song files that are meant to be contained within that Playlist. The format is something like this (assuming your music is stored in a folder called My Music on an SD Card called D0D8-84ED )

D0D8-84ED/My Music/Artists/Jim Steinman/Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young - Fire Inc.mp3
D0D8-84ED/My Music/Artists/Jim Steinman/Bad For Good/02 Bad For Good - Jim Steinman.mp3
D0D8-84ED/My Music/Artists/Electric Light Orchestra/(1981) Time/12 - Hold on Tight - ELO.mp3
D0D8-84ED/My Music/Artists/Ultravox/Love's Great Adventure - Ultravox.mp3
D0D8-84ED/My Music/Artists/Blondie/Call Me - Blondie.mp3
D0D8-84ED/My Music/Singles/The Final Countdown - Europe.mp3
D0D8-84ED/My Music/Singles/Because the Night - Patti Smith.mp3

Note: Poweramp also adds an extra "#EXT-X-RATING:n" line for each audio file, which simply refers to any star-rating that you may have given to the song. It's not used by other apps, and you can ignore it.

That same Playlist file can be used by any other app on the same device, and the directory paths quoted will be used to find each audio file.

If you move the M3U8 file to another device, or perhaps a computer, you may need to adjust the first ("root") part of the path details. For example, another Android device will have a different name for its SD Card instead of D0D8-84ED, and a PC might need a very different root path path such as "C:\Users\youraccountname\Music\...".  Some apps may try to work it out the differences for themselves (Poweramp can do that). So if you have a PC-based M3U or M3U8 file which you copy over to your phone's music folder, as long as the final folder name and the filename match correctly, Poweramp should be able to resolve and find the same audio file on your phone.


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Thanks for the reply, some of that almost ruffled my hair as it flew over my head! I've got an awful log to learn about computer code. 

So to get these M3u8 playlist files to the computer do I create them first by going to settings in the app & using export then plug the phone into the PC & search the phone  & SD card using the computer do I can copy them back into the PC?

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  • Solution

If you originally created your playlists within Poweramp, then yes what you say is correct.

  1. Use the 'Export' menu option in Poweramp's Library>Playlists category to save physical copies of every playlist within Poweramp's local database out to your device's storage. They will be created as separate M3U8 files. The default location would be the 'Playlists' folder on internal storage, but you can assign you own storage folder if you wish.
  2. Once you've created these M3U8 files, you can plug the phone into a PC using a USB cable and copy those files over to the PC.
  3. See my notes above about the content of the files. They will contain absolute Android folder paths, complete with Android SD Card names, which your PC-based music programs probably won't understand as they will be using different drive and folder names . You can edit the playlist files in a text editor to search & replace the Android 'D0D8-84ED/My Music/' bits with your PC's local folder naming - such as 'C:\Users\youraccountname\Music\'.
  4. Note: You may also need to replace any Android path separators ( "/" ) with PC-style "\" characters - and possibly rename the .M3U8 extensions to the simpler .M3U - depending on how clever your PC music programs are. foobar2000 for example is fine with either though.


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I've had a go at this tonight. I used Export in Settings-Library-Playlist, then searched in the music section of the phone's SD card from the computer. I found the playlists located after all the music files as an individual for for each playlist. 


Before exporting I added 3 new playlists as a test, after exporting I deleted the first of these from my phone then copied it back from the computer into the SD card.  After a rescan it was back & the tracks in it play as they should.

So that's great, I can now save a backup  of my playlists.



There are a few glitches it would be desirable to sort out if it's not too difficult? 

After exporting the playlists in Poweramp itself are duplicated with an M3U8 version of each, I'm thinking I can just delete them?

The test playlist has M3U8 in the title & I don't seem to be able to take it out.

I can't open the files in the computer & see the tracks in them. I can see they've got content as I can see they're different sizes, the longer playlists are as you'd expect bigger files& the shorter ones are smaller. I'm thinking as stated in the solution post above these files are written by the Android system & the Windows PC can't read them as they are. I'm thinking this isn't really a problem for me, I'm just wanting a backup just incase something happens to my phone rather than use these playlists on the PC itself.

Thanks for assistance, I do appreciate this is fairly simple stuff & the big problem is my leech of experience in computers etc.  But there must be a good few like myself, would it be an idea to have guide to doing this in FAQ?

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16 minutes ago, Rexnord said:

After exporting the playlists in Poweramp itself are duplicated with an M3U8 version of each, I'm thinking I can just delete them?

The test playlist has M3U8 in the title & I don't seem to be able to take it out.

I can't open the files in the computer & see the tracks in them.

1) Yes, there will now be two versions of each playlist; the original one that was in Poweramp from when you first created it, and the new one loaded from the new M3U8 file. They are separate (although the song list will be the same) and yes you can delete one and the other will remain in place. Keep copies of the exported M3U8 files somewhere safe in case you need to get back to the originals again.

2) File-based playlists will show as their proper full filenames, so you can tell them apart from internal playlists which only exist within Poweramp's music database. Common file extenders are .M3U8, .M3U, .PLS, or .WPL depending on what software created them. You can't currently turn that off, the full filenames will be displayed.

3) The files should read on your PC (e.g. foobar2000 will read them fine) but as I said earlier the folder path information will be designed to find the song files in your Android device's storage, it won't know where you have saved the audio files on your PC. You'll need to open each playlist file in a text editor and change the root path details so they match your Windows-style environment. Note: Poweramp can actually cope with either format, it has some nifty logic that ignores the beginning C:\User\etc\ path details and tries to match the song files from the exact filename and the first level of folder that it's contained within (e.g. an album name). PC software generally does not do that.


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I'm fairly much sorted on this now, playlists are copied over to the PC and also stored on an external hard drive.

The playlist names displayed in Poweramp I've resolved by deleting the M3U8 versions. The imported test playlist names I fixed by selecting all the tracks in it, setting a new playlist up with them that I can name as I wish & deleting the imported playlist with the M3U8 title.

I've not looked again at opening the playlists in the PC, there's no player in the PC other than that stock Windows. I don't intend to listen to music with it, just to use it to load music to the phone really.  If I do need to use the playlists on the PC I'll sort it then.

Thanks for the help.

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1 hour ago, Rexnord said:

The imported test playlist names I fixed by selecting all the tracks in it, setting a new playlist up with them that I can name as I wish & deleting the imported playlist with the M3U8 title.

Yes, I would have suggested that - but this thread was getting a bit convoluted, and I didn't want to muddy it even further. :) That is indeed the easiest way to convert a file-based playlist into an internal Poweramp playlist. Keep the file version backed up somewhere though, just in case you ever lose your PA database through a crash or losing your phone.


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