Up-to-date with version 3.0.5992
A playlist is a list of songs that you create, whether for listening or for some utilitarian purpose. MusicBee offers three types of playlists:
- Static Playlists: the user adds and removes all tracks
- Auto Playlists: dynamic, automatically update their contents based on rules
- Playlist Mixers: use multiple sets of rules to create a customized, regenerating shuffle mode
Playlists can be organized into folders, which can also be nested.
There is a context (right click) menu which is available anywhere in the Playlists Node, and also at the top left of the Playlist Manager, where you can quickly create new playlists and playlist folders. The same commands are available in File > Playlists, in the Main Menu.
You can also select tracks and use Add to Playlist > "<New Playlist>" in the main panel context menu, or you can drag selected tracks to the
Playlists node header (from within MusicBee or from Windows Explorer) and it will create a playlist with them.
When you create a playlist, you will be prompted for a name. Static playlists will be created in the format set in Library Preferences for your library playlists.
To add existing playlists to MusicBee:
- Use File > Playlists > Import Playlists in the main menu.
- Drag & drop files to the Playlists node.
You can only import static playlists. Imported playlists will be copied into your Playlists folder in your library playlists format. Tracks in imported playlists are not automatically added to your library. They still need to be imported by other means.
In the Navigator, each playlist has a context menu that has many commands in common with the Library Context Menu, such as Play Now, Play Shuffled, Queue Next, and Queue Last. All these function as though you had selected all the tracks in the playlist in their official Playlist order. There are also a variety of playlist-specific commands.
- Edit Playlist
Opens the settings for the selected playlist.
Saves the playlist as a new file of the format set for exported playlists in Library Preferences.
Copies the selected playlist, including settings. The new playlist will be placed outside any folders in the Navigator, but in the Playlist Manager it will appear next to the playlist it was created from.
Deletes the selected playlist, with a confirmation asking if you also want to delete the files in the playlist.
Lets you rename the playlist. You can also do a slow double click to rename a playlist in the Navigator, the same way you can edit fields in the main panel.
Not only do playlist folders help with organizing playlists, but clicking on a playlist folder will load the contents of all the playlists within the folder in the main panel.
Playlist folders are organized on your drive as folders, as well. The name of the folder on your drive will be the name of the playlist folder in MusicBee. If you change display settings for a playlist folder (columns, sort order, etc), MusicBee will create an untitled .xautopf (auto playlist) file within the folder to store the settings.
Types of Playlists
The content of static playlists is controlled entirely by the user, who must add and remove tracks manually. Tracks can come from anywhere in your library or computer and can even include tracks from SoundCloud or radio streams (however only tracks stored on your local drives can be synced to a device or burned to a CD).
The two basic ways of adding tracks to a playlist are:
- Drag & drop tracks onto a playlist in the Navigator, Playlist Manager, or another tab.
- Use the Add to Playlist context menu.
The Delete option in the context menu changes to Remove when you're viewing a playlist. You will be asked if you only wish to remove the track from the playlist, or delete the file itself (you can turn off this confirmation in General Preferences).
Every static playlist has an official track order, called its "natural order" or "playlist order", which by default is the order in which you added the tracks. When tracks are dragged to or sent to a playlist, they are always added to the end of Playlist Order. You can see the order if the # column is displayed in the main panel. Shuffling or sorting tracks will not change the natural order.
There are three ways to return a playlist to its natural order:
- Display and sort by # column
- Use the List Menu command "Restore Natural Order"
- In the Sort By... menu, choose "Playlist Order"
There are two ways to change the order:
- If it is already in natural order, you can drag tracks up or down the list and they will be renumbered when you drop them in a new position.
- If it is not in order, you can choose "Update Play Order" in the List menu and it will be renumbered to match the current order.
There are two options for library playlist format in Library Preferences: MBP and M3U. The advantage of using MBP, MusicBee's proprietary format, is that it allows you to save some specific settings for your playlist beyond just contents and order.
The two display settings work together: the first affects which fields are used for a particular view, and the second affects which view is shown for a particular playlist. There are essentially four permutations possible:
- Default fields and Default view (all playlists with these settings will use exactly the same layout)
- Custom fields and Default view (will use the same view as other playlists, but different fields)
- Default fields and Independent view (will use the same fields for each view as other playlists but change views separately)
- Custom fields and Independent view (all layout settings will be saved separately from other playlists)
- displayed fields
All playlists set to "use default" will use the same fields for each type of view. A change to the fields in one playlist will show up in all of them. If you prefer for a playlist to have independent settings, set this to "custom fields for this playlist only".
Note, however, that if the Default view changes (say from Tracks to Album & Tracks), a playlist with "custom fields for this playlist only" will still inherit the new Default. If the Default view is a custom view (one that you saved), custom fields are not possible.
- display using view
There are really only two options for this setting: Default and Independent.
When created, all static playlists use the "Default view". The Default view is a Tracks view when you install MusicBee, but if you change a playlist with "display using view" set to Default to a different view (for instance, Album & Tracks), then that becomes the Default view for all static playlists that are not "independent".
If you change this setting to anything except Default, the playlist's view becomes independent from other playlists. The only reason changes would be shared between playlists is if both modes happened to be using the same custom view, because the custom view settings take precedence. Once a playlist's view is independent of the default, you can change it to any other view in the main panel and the playlist settings will update to match.
Summary: if this is set to Default, changing views in the main panel will change all "default" playlists; if it is set to anything else, changing views in the main panel will change only this playlist.
Filling in the description will cause a tooltip with the description to appear when you hover over the playlist.
- automatically export a static copy
(Default: unchecked) Will automatically maintain a copy of the playlist according to your Library Preferences for exported playlists.
The List menu can be accessed by right clicking on the name of a playlist, or in the main panel while a playlist is displayed. With the exception of Shuffle List, these commands only apply to Static Playlists.
- Remove Duplicates
Removes all but one copy of any files which were added to the playlist more than once. Does not remove duplicates which are different files on your drive - for that use the Duplicates Manager.
- Remove Dead Links
Removes any tracks from the playlist that cannot be found at the location they are currently linked to (as shown in the Properties tab of the Tag Editor). Dead links are typically displayed in the main panel with faded text and a (!) symbol in the left column.
- Clear List
Removes ALL tracks from the list.
- Crop List to Selected Files
Removes all tracks that are not currently selected from the list.
- Shuffle List
Shuffles the displayed order of the tracks. Does not update Playlist Order.
- Restore Natural Order
Puts a playlist that has been sorted or shuffled back in its Playlist Order.
- Update Play Order
Changes the Playlist Order to match the current sort order.
Auto-playlists are so named because they generate their content automatically, although you do have some manual control over which tracks appear. They can be created as shown in the section above "Creating Playlist"
The most important piece of an auto-playlist is the rules which define it.
Each rule consists of a specific field (or "any field"), some criteria that need to be met for that field, and possibly some sub-rules. When you put more than one rule together, you can tell MusicBee that it needs to match ANY or ALL of them in order for your conditions to be satisfied.
The second drop-down box contains operators such as "is not" or "contains", as appropriate for each tag. What operators are available for each field are determined by the field type. For custom and virtual tags, you can change the field in Configure Fields. If you're not happy with the automatically generated options, you can make these rules as complex as you need using "match RegEx" and "match RegEx/i" (the latter is case-insensitive) operators.
The third drop-down box contains a value that you define (either free text or from a list, depending on the tag), [playing track], or a regular expression. (If you need help with regular expressions, aka regex, try this page.) Items in lists (such as for matching the "is any of" or "is not any of" rules) should be separated with a semicolon, or you can click [...] and make a list in the box that pops up).
Sub-rules can be added for each rule via the [.] button. They operate exactly like other rules, except that they are applied as AND rules only for the main rule they are attached to.
When you've finished, the auto-playlist should contain only tracks which match the rules you've set.
Above and below the rules in the auto-playlist window are even more ways to refine the contents of your auto-playlist.
- music track source
Hopefully this is self-explanatory. You can choose any node, filter, playlist, or computer folder (even if it's not in your library) as the source MusicBee will look in for tracks to match against your rules. Playlist folders can be selected under playlists and network shares can be used under folders.
- display using view
This functions exactly like the setting above for static playlists, except that all Auto-Playlists are treated as though they have "use custom fields for this playlist only" set.
- Remove Files
- Add Files
If no combination of rules and other settings quite meets your needs, you can add and remove files manually, the same way you would add or remove files in a static playlist. When you do that, the file paths of the tracks you add show up as a list in Add Files, and the file paths of the tracks you remove show up as a list in Remove Files.
You can use these buttons to directly enter the file paths of tracks you want to add or remove, but probably you'll come here because you changed your mind about files you added or removed by a different method. Click Add Files to remove files you have added, and Remove Files to restore files you removed.
- filter out duplicates when the same track is repeated on multiple albums
(Default: unticked) If multiple files which otherwise both meet your rules have the same artist and title, one of them will be excluded according to the hierarchy of the duplicate manager.
- limit to
(Default: unticked) You can designate the maximum size of the playlist, based on any of the following:
- items (Default: 25 items)
Note that the playlist will be refreshed every time time you navigate to it. If you want to preserve a particular result, you can export it as a static playlist by right clicking on the playlist name and choosing Export.
- selected by
When limiting the size of the playlist, you can tell MusicBee what kind of tracks you would like it to prioritize:
- random (Default)
- highest rating
- lowest rating
- most recently played
- least recently played
- most often played
- least often played
- most recently added
- least recently added
The option to shuffle the playlist means it will reorder the tracks every time it is selected. Does NOT activate shuffle.
- do not shuffle (Default)
- higher rated preferred
- recently added preferred
- different/same artist
Auto-playlists don't have an official order like static playlists; whatever order they are in is their order. However, if you want to save a particular result, you can export it as a static playlist by right clicking on the playlist name and choosing Export.
- select by
(Default: track) This tells MusicBee whether you want it to add items to the playlist one track at a time or by groups. "Album" will select whole albums at a time, "work" will select all tracks with the same work from an album, and so on.
- automatically refresh the matching tracks
(Default: ticked) If this is unticked, the playlist will not update until you use the "Refresh Now" button. Otherwise the contents will be automatically updated according to the rules, each time you access it.
- description / automatically export a static copy
These work identically to their function for static playlists, explained above.
Here are some guides for creating specific auto-playlists:
Playlist Mixers produce an infinitely regenerated list of tracks, similar to Auto DJ but with the potential for very fine-tuned control.
Let's look at an example. Say you want to shuffle tracks, but weight the selection towards your favorite tracks. You might configure a playlist mixer to play five 5-star tracks, four 4-star tracks, three 3-star tracks, two 2-star tracks, and one 1-star track. That would look like the screenshot at right.
When you play the playlist, it will add fifteen tracks (5+4+3+2+1) to the Playing Tracks list in random order. Five will be 5-star tracks, four will be 4-star tracks, and so on. Before those fifteen tracks are done playing, the playlist mixer will add fifteen more randomly-selected tracks to the Playing Tracks list, using the same weighted ratio. The mixer will continue adding tracks indefinitely unless you manually add new tracks to Playing Tracks (such as by double-clicking a track in the main panel), which will cancel it.
That's a very simple example. The possibilities of playlist mixers are limited only by your imagination and the information available in your tags.
How Does It Work?
Like Auto-Playlists, Playlist Mixers use rules to select tracks. The Playlist Mixer Criteria window looks like a simplified Auto-Playlist window, and works exactly the same. In fact, a Playlist Mixer is really a collection of auto-playlists, each of which is limited to a certain number of tracks (as few as 1 or as many as you want).
- gap before same artist can repeat
(Default: 0) The number of tracks that need to be played before an artist will reappear in the mixer. (However, this number does not track across cycles of the mixer, so it's possible to get closer repetitions.)
- play sequence
This setting tells MusicBee whether you want it to play the tracks in your mixer sequentially (all the 5-star tracks, then all the 4-star tracks, etc) or randomly.
- play each criteria in sequence (Default)
- select from the entire mix randomly
- track selection criteria
MusicBee will display the rules that will be used to select tracks on each line.
New rule sets are added either using the [+] buttons or the "Add Criteria" button. The [+] buttons will insert new rules below the row you clicked. The [-] button deletes the rule set on that row.
- track count
This is how many tracks should be chosen for each set of criteria in a single cycle of the mixer.
The number of tracks in each cycle of the playlist will be the total of the number in the "track count" column, so the number assigned to each row can be seen more like a proportion than an exact number. (In our example, 1/3rd are 5-star tracks and 1/5th are 3-star tracks.)