View Full Version : iTunes Playlists. Any experts?

12-21-2016, 12:24 PM

Running Mac Mini, El Capitan, SSD, with iTunes

Got a few Playlists, and I'd like to import them into iTunes as Library items, so that my Playlists are just 'ordinary' Albums.

File / Library / Import Playlist doesn't work, or maybe I can't get it to work.

Is there something obvious that I've forgotten to do (as I know that everything is usually an Operator Fault, not a Program Fault!)

Thanks for your help.

Allen, in a wet London.

12-21-2016, 06:18 PM
Can you clarify things a bit? I think you may be using the term playlist differently than it is usually using when discussing iTunes. Do you mean that you have an album or other group of tracks that you are trying to import in order to play them in iTunes? If that is what you are trying to do follow these directions (https://support.apple.com/kb/PH20507?locale=en_US).

12-21-2016, 07:03 PM
Allen in a wet London

A warm welcome to Mac-Forums.

Firstly, just for info: the latest version of iTunes is and this is definitely compatible with El Capitan. There have been a few changes since your version. (App Store > Updates; or iTunes > Menu Bar > iTunes > check for updates).

In any case, Moderator Slydude has suggested a possible misunderstanding about the term "playlist".

Or could it be that you are trying to import a playlist from another computer: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4640921?tstart=0

Or are you trying to reimport a playlist previously exported: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE4avqttvZc

Or are you trying to copy a playlist from an iPhone, iPad or iPod: https://www.technipages.com/copy-playlist-ios-to-itunes-on-computer

Just a few ideas.

Ian (from a very sunny and pleasant North Wales)

12-21-2016, 07:16 PM
Nice catch Ian. I never thought of the other possibilities.

12-21-2016, 08:53 PM
Nice catch Ian. I never thought of the other possibilities.

And especially with Allen in a wet London. I understand one can get a soggy brain there!!! :Smirk:

- Patrick

12-22-2016, 06:09 AM
Thanks all for the interest, and yes, very soggy brain (even though I gave up drinking 14 years ago...)

Yes, slydude, I am misusing Playlist.

What happened was this.

I had some old CDs of various things, and was importing them into iTunes just for the sake of good order. Nearly all went on, no trouble, except one set of CDs, programmes originally recorded from Radio 4. iTunes recognised the discs, played the tracks, but wouldn't import, at least it wouldn't show the 'import' button.

Just wouldn't import, but I did find a workround - if I made a new Playlist and called it BBC, then I could select all the tracks on the CDs, and drag and drop them onto that playlist. They copied, quickly, and there it sits, a Playlist called BBC with all the relevant tracks. And of course in the Library, under Tracks, I can find all the tracks.

So what I wanted to do originally was create a location, an album, or anything, to keep these tracks in. And the only thing I found I could create was a Playlist.

Probably a bad idea, so if you can suggest a better one, I'm all ears. I want to end up with BBC as a listed album, and with all those tracks inside it (I shall have some Christmas fun sorting out the many Track Ones, Track Twos, and so on, but that is just tedious rather than a real problem).

Allen, still in London, but it's getting brighter now!

PS An hour or so later: I might have cracked it. I noticed that many of the tracks/artist names etc. were slightly different from each other, so I spent some time going through making sure they all had the same Title, Artist, and so on, and that tracks were numbered 1 of 15, 2 of 15, etc., etc. Hey presto (topical), in my Albums/Artists the names then appeared, just as I'd always wanted them. How confident am I? Well, I haven't deleted the Playlists yet, but I'm going to have to try it.

It still seems a bit of a plodding workround, so if you've got better ideas, I'm still interested.



12-22-2016, 08:46 AM
Thank you for the feedback. A very nice explanation of what the problem actually was; a good workaround solution; and a more orthodox way of resolving it.

Very useful info.


12-22-2016, 01:27 PM
That should fix the problem. The minor differences in names (particularly the Album names) will cause the very behavior that you describe.

Deleting the playlist shouldn't cause a problem since it is essential a series of "pointers" to the files in your library. If you delete the playlist and are asked whether to delete the files choose No. You might want to keep the playlist if these are files you play often. It's a convenient way to get at those files when you want to play them.

12-22-2016, 05:20 PM
Fair enough. Have I stumbled (through ignorance) on the only way round this, or can you in fact create a new blank album into which you can drag/drop random tracks?

12-22-2016, 07:54 PM
If you import a series of tracks that all have the same album tags (say from a commercial CD for example) they will be pulled into iTunes as an album whether you create a playlist first or not. I think the following should procedure should make things easier to handle in the future. In this example I will assume you have added some tracks today.

1. Create a Smart Playlist in iTunes that looks for music added Today (or any day you choose). See examples /directions for creating Smart playlists here (http://www.gcflearnfree.org/osxbasics/creating-smart-playlists-in-itunes/1/).
2. Add a series of tracks. If you want them imported as an album check to see if that happens (it should). If it doesn't, the files you added should be in the playlist you just created.
3. Select the tracks and edit the track information if necessary.

12-23-2016, 09:04 AM
Thanks slydude and all the other helpers - I think I'm beginning to 'get' iTunes, after years of just using it - like a lot of Mac programs, you use them (as they're so easy to use in their basic form), but never bother to understand them much.

So, another old dog has been taught some new tricks.

Peaceful times to you all.


12-23-2016, 12:33 PM
You're welcome. You sorted a good bit of that out yourself so kudos to you.

BTW The Macworld website has a regular column about iTunes-treated issues (http://www.macworld.com/article/3150145/software-entertainment/ask-the-itunes-guy-a-look-at-the-major-changes-in-the-ios-10-2-music-app.html) that you might find helpful. Sometimes the column covers basics and sometimes it goes a bit off the deep end but it i's usually interesting. The same can be said for this site (http://forum.mcelhearn.com).

12-25-2016, 12:32 PM
Allen: Just as an FYI, I download a lot of "old-time radio shows". Some I get from free podcasts through iTunes. I then put a folder into my "Old Time Radio" folder using the show's name.I do not use iTunes to file my tracks as I have my own orderly method. I move the mp3 files to this folder put them into iTunes. Voila, a new album.
There may be separate "albums" as, like you had, their id tags may differ. I massage that with a correction of all the tracks at once, making sure the album name and album artist is the same: one album is the result.

12-25-2016, 12:43 PM
@Brooklynguy Thanks for mentioning that the information on multiple tracks can be edited at once. I neglected to mention that.

iTunes is actually pretty good at organizing tracks tho0ugh it has its quirks. It seems that every time an update is released there'd a bug somewhere that drives users nuts.

Excellent piece of rolling stock BTW.

12-25-2016, 03:39 PM
Thanks Brooklynguy - that seems to be a solution I could use, although not sure whether it would get round my problem of iTunes not wanting to import certain tracks. I'll try it, though.

Electric bike, 2 wheels, top speed nearly 25mph, lots of gears. (well, I thought I'd join in)...

12-26-2016, 12:05 AM
Thanks Brooklynguy - that seems to be a solution I could use, although not sure whether it would get round my problem of iTunes not wanting to import certain tracks. I'll try it, though.

I have had iTunes not want to import tracks before. Sometimes it is due to some corruption in the file. If it will open in QuickTime Player or you can use QuickLook and have it play (select the file and hit spacebar) the file is probably OK.

There are several methods importing tracks into iTunes. Sometimes one will work when the others do not. here are some things worth trying:
1. If the iTunes icon is in the Dock drag the files onto the icon.
2. open the iTunes window and drag files into the window
3. From the iTunes File menu choose Add to Library

Edit: Sometimes iTunes will import some files so quickly you don't realize they have been imported. If they are not properly tagged the songs may not appear where you expect them to be. Check the "Recently Added" playlist to see if the import actually happened.

12-26-2016, 04:33 AM
Very good point, Sly; about using the "Recently Added" playlist. Not only in this situation, but if you're trying to find something added, but don't recall exactly what the title, composer or song was called.

For example, I add a lot of classical music - say it was by Beethoven. This can be imported as Ludvig Beethoven, Ludvig van Beethoven, I've even seen van Beethoven. That means these songs may be all over the place in the Composers List. A quick look in "Recently Added" identifies them and you can change the composer to your choice - for me, just "Beethoven".


12-26-2016, 10:35 AM
Thanks Ian. If I can beef up my understanding of playlists and what can be done with them I might do a vidoe chat about that soon.

One thing I want to understand better is the concept of nested playlists.

12-26-2016, 12:33 PM
Anything to oblige, Sly:)

Here's a couple of links re nested playlists. In the first Macworld article, it sets out the basics and in other, see Question 2 - it looks at the situation from a different angle.


It might just help.


12-26-2016, 02:13 PM
Thanks. I've been meaning to check into that a bit. Those links should help. Kirk knows iTunes better than just about anyone else.