iTunes: Exporting playlists with relative paths

TL;DR; A way of exporting iTunes playlists with relative paths is described here.

iTunes Export

Once upon a time I wrote a little tool for exporting playlists from Songbird/Nightinale. After migrating to iTunes, I was looking for a tool that provides the same functionality for iTunes. Fortunately, there already is one: iTunes Export. It’s twofold – you can either use a UI or a console version. I’m more the console type of guy, so my choice is clear. The latest release, version 2.2.2, was released in 2010, almost 5 years ago… and it still works with iTunes 12.1.2 – it’s a miracle! And it’s fast – my approximately 100 playlists are exported in less than 2 minutes.

Relative Playlist workaround

Among all those parameters of iTunes export, there is none for creating relative playlists, though. However, we can use a workaround for achieving this, by combining the musicPath and musicPathOld parameters. Here’s what the doc says:

  • musicPath
    iTunes Export will use the absolute location of your music files in the playlist. iTunes Export accepts a command line parameter that will override this default. Example:

    java -jar itunesexport.jar -musicPath="c:\My Music Directory"
  • musicPathOld
    Tunes Export will only apply the prefix to tracks stored in the directory configured in iTunes as the iTunes Music Folder location. Files stored in a different directory will not have the prefix applied.If you only wish to override a portion of the music path you can specifi the musicPathOld parameter. iTunes Export will replace this path with the musicPath parameter instead of replacing the default music path.

    java -jar itunesexport.jar -musicPathOld="c:\My Old Path"

A bit complicated, eh?!

Exporting playlists with relative paths by example

I’ll point out how we can use those parameters by a small example. Imagine the following folder structure

D:\Music\
  Playlists\
  Artist1\ 
    Song1.ext
  Artist2\
    Album\
      Song2.ext
  iTunes
    iTunes Library.xml

If we had a playlist call playlistX that contained Song1 and Song2 (anyone remember a band called Blur? 🙂 ) and we would export it without further parameters to the Playlists folder, it would look like this:

D:\Music\Artist1\Song1.ext
D:\Music\Artist2\Album\Song2.ext

What we’re going to do is replace the absolute part with a relative one (in respect to the destination folder for playlists). In our example: Replace “D:\Music” by “..” because it’s the parent folder of “D:\Music\Playlists“. That’s exactly what the parameters mentioned above are for! musicPathOld is the the part that is going to be replaced by musicPath. Speaking of which, our call to iTunesExport looks like this:

java -jar itunesexport.jar -library="D:\Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.xml" -outputDir="D:\Music\Playlists" -musicPath=".." -musicPathOld="D:\Music"

and results in the file D:\Music\Playlists\playlistX.m3u

..\Artist1\Song1.ext
..\Artist2\Album\Song2.ext
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