As I’ve said many times on this blog, iTunes is a great program for moving songs to your iPod, but it’s a crappy program for managing your music. That’s because it’s a “closed ecosystem”. As I noted in this post about iTunes Library Updater, after you install iTunes the program will scan your computer and look for music files to add to the iTunes library. Once this is done, however, there’s no way to add music to your library other than by ripping a CD with iTunes or buying music from the iTunes online store. If you want to use another program to rip your discs, or if you’d like to buy music from some other source, like Amazon’s MP3 store, you can’t add that music to your library without a third-party application like iTunes Library Updater.
I recently came across a need to export an iTunes playlist into the standard .M3U format. As you might guess, there’s no way to do this within iTunes itself, but I did find a nifty little app that can handle the task: iTunes Export.
The program is as simple as they come: just run the EXE, point it to your iTunes library, choose the iTunes playlist you want to export, then pick a destination for the new playlist. In a few seconds, you’ll get a M3U playlist (or a Windows Media (.wpl) or Zune (.zpl) playlist, if you prefer). You can then play the playlist in WinAMP or any other software player that supports M3U playlists, burn an audio CD with Nero, or copy the playlist to a portable player that supports M3U playlists.