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A playlist is a collection of items, typically queued in sequential order and sorted alphabetically, numerically or alphanumerically; but this is not always the case.

Playlists are a common way of presenting a large group of media for playing sequentially or randomized, the most common and familiar example being a playlist of music that may appear on an application's playlist manager. Common examples of "media player" applications are the playback interface on Apple's iPod, the iTunes music library, Winamp's desktop and remote players such as Shoutcast for web, Microsoft's Windows Media Player, VideoLAN's VLC Media Player, Miro's Democracy Player, VoggOrbis, or any other number of media players with a full-featured playlist manager.



XSPF is the leading open source data format for creating and exchanging playlists.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<playlist version="1" xmlns="">
      <album>Master of Puppets</album>




Advanced Stream Redirector (ASX).

<asx version="3.0">
  <title> Live Stream</title>
    <title>Short Announcement to Play Before Main Stream</title>
    <ref href="" />
    <param name="aParameterName" value="aParameterValue" />
    <title>Example radio</title>
    <ref href="" />

[3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]


<?xml version="1.0"?>
<?quicktime type="application/x-quicktime-media-link"?>
<embed src="" autoplay="true" type="video/quicktime" controller="true" quitwhendone="false" loop="false" name="test file"></embed>



PLS is a simple text-based format started by Shoutcast for sharing via their Online Radio directory and streaming platform.

Title1=IceCast or Shoutcast type Online Radio Station example (no length specified since its a continuous stream)

Title2=Remote single file with length specified in Seconds

Title3=Local single file with length specified in Seconds



In the example

[11] [12]


Mp3 URLs (M3U) is an early text-based playlist format with minimal markup used primarily by Foobar2000, Winamp & WindowsMediaPlayer.

#EXTM3U #EXTINF:0,A Certain Romance 
http://localhost/xspf_player/songs/Arctic Monkeys/Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not/A Certain Romance.mp3 
#EXTINF:0,Dancing Shoes 
http://localhost/xspf_player/songs/Arctic Monkeys/Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not/Dancing Shoes.mp3 
#EXTINF:0,Fake Tales Of San Francisco 
http://localhost/xspf_player/songs/Arctic Monkeys/Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not/Fake Tales Of San Francisco.mp3 
#EXTINF:0,From The Ritz To The Rubble 
http://localhost/xspf_player/songs/Arctic Monkeys/Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not/From The Ritz To The Rubble.mp3 

[13] [14] [15]


M3U8 is a unicode version of M3U which uses UTF-8-encoded characters, and is for the HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) format originally developed by Apple to stream video and radio to iOS devices, and which is now a popular format for Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) in general.

The current proposal for the HLS playlist format uses UTF-8 exclusively and does not distinguish between the "m3u" and "m3u8" file name extensions.


[17] [18]


Playlists in JW Player


BCmoney Demo:


Blip.TV Search API:





External Links


  1. nPlaylist:
  2. Adding Windows Media to Web Pages:
  3. Windows Media Metafile Elements Reference:
  4. ASX Element:
  5. Quick Introduction to ASF,ASX, and Networking Media Distribution:
  6. Windows Media ASX Files:
  7. How to loop video in ".asx" playlist using mediaelement?:
  8. Creating a Playlist For Windows Media Player With JavaScript:
  9. wikipedia: Windows Media Player Playlist (WPL)
  10. Link types: quicktime movies examples:
  11. wikipedia: PLS (file format)
  12. How do I parse the PLS playlist format in an iPhone app?:
  13. wikipedia: M3U
  14. ASX/M3U/PLS On-Demand Playlist Generator:
  15. MediaMonkey -- Export/Import Playlists such as M3U:
  16. Infowars XSPF playlist:
  17. Innovative Service from MyPlaylist: (Playlist + Lyrics)
  18. Mobile WebApp -- Playlist (prototype by SQWAQ):
  19. playlist:strange code in playlist field:
  20. Blip + JW Player example:
  21. JW Player + XSPF example:

See Also

Audio | Music | Video | Streaming | Captions | Subtitles | Metadata | Spotify | Pandora