Play your iTunes (smart) playlists on Android and/or DLNA network devices

All my ratings and (smart) playlists are configured to perfection in its library and the files are all stored on my Synology NAS. I like iTunes, but it hasn’t been easy combining it with Android and streaming the library all around the house via UPnP DLNA devices (like LG WebOS, a Telenet Digicorder, and the VLC player App on my Android TV and other Android devices).

But it is possible and I want to share how I do it.

The trick is to export playlist files with ‘relative’ links to the music files, in stead of ‘absolute’ links, but this can’t be done with iTunes

Whenever you export an iTunes playlist it will link every song with its ‘Absolute Path’, this looks like this:
“c:\users\powrusr\my music\iTunes\iTunes media\music\artist\album\file.mp3
And if your music is stored on a network location, it might look like this:
“\\NAS\music\iTunes\iTunes media\music\artist\album\file.mp3

If anything changes in these paths, the playlists won’t work. But both Android devices and DLNA network-players require you to put both your playlist(s) and the music files in an appointed “music directory”. However these devices will always rename the path to their own liking (so ‘\\NAS\…’ or ‘C:\…’ will not work)

Long story short: We need to make the playlists ‘relative’. This means we’ll just keep the bold stuff: \music\artist\album\file.mp3 and we put playlist files in the root directory “\“). This way they’ll always work, no matter what the absolute link is, no matter where we move or copy the entire music directory.

How to convert the iTunes playlists to ‘relative path’ playlists?

It’s a funny thing, but this is where the very lightweight Winamp will come back to the rescue!

  1. Select the iTunes playlist you want to export. (it works with both static and ‘smart’ playlists, but the result will always be a static playlist)
  2. Go to “File -> Library -> Export Playlist” and save the playlist as a .m3u file, wherever you like. (eg. on your desktop)
  3. Download and open Winamp (extract all files and run winamp.exe).
  4. Press the ‘list opts’ button (bottom right) and open your playlist.m3u. You can see that it loaded the playlist.
  5. Press the ‘list opts’ button again, and select ‘save list’
    1. Navigate to your music root directory, either on your PC or on your NAS
    2. Save the list there (again as a .M3U file)

This new list, in the root directory of your music folder, consists of ‘relative links’. This means you can just drag and drop all your music + the playlist(s) to your android music directory, and everything should load correctly.

And, if you’ve appointed the ‘music’ directory of your NAS to the network location where you store your iTunes music + these ‘relative’ playlists, all UPnP/DLNA devices will show and play the playlists correctly.

Perhaps there are better ways/tools to do this, but this works like a charm for me. Every time I add a bunch of new tracks to my library I do a new export of my favorite playlists. It takes about 5 minutes, but now my TV’s can easily stream the latest playlists without putting any music on them.

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