To help you get the most out of Playlisty we’ve put together this page of tips that you might find interesting & useful. We’re big users of Playlisty ourselves and some of these features were added for our own benefit, either to help us test new versions of Playlisty or because we had a one-off need for a particular feature.
- How to import playlist files from DropBox, iCloud or Google Drive
- How to import a list of albums, not tracks
- How to use Playlisty within Siri Shortcuts
- How to import FROM your Music library TO your Music library
We find the ability to store & read playlist files on iCloud, DropBox or Google Drive really useful for sharing playlists between our desktop computers and iOS devices. For example if there’s a one-off list of tracks that we find somewhere on a web page and that Playlisty doesn’t immediately recognise, it usually doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes in Notepad (Windows) or TextPad (MacOS) to tidy it up into “Track Name – Artist” format and save it to our Cloud drive (we usually keep these files in a playlist folder). From there it takes seconds to open the file in Playlisty on your iOS device and import as a playlist to Apple Music.
Also, you probably know that you can paste a web page URL into Playlisty and that Playlisty will read the web page and extract any playlist it finds. But did you know that you can save the URL to a file and simply open that file whenever you want Playlisty to read the playlist? That’s particularly useful if you’ve got a URL link to a page that contains a playlist which is dynamically updated, such as a “Top 100” playlist.
For example if you save the following URL to a 1-line text file on your cloud drive:
Every time you open that file in Playlisty it will automatically import “Today’s Biggest Hits” from YouTube. You can use this feature to create your own “Favourites” list of playlists that change on a regular basis.
Album list Imports
Warning: this is an advanced feature and we strongly recommend you fully back-up your library before using it!
Album mode is one of Playlisty’s most advanced features. In summary, if you give Playlisty a list of albums, it can explode the albums into individual tracks before saving them to your library. Why would you want this? Most commonly because it’s the easiest way to move your library from one Apple Music account to another, or potentially clean-up a library that’s got a bit out of control.
Suppose (like me) you have a library of your own MP3s and purchased tracks that you’ve built up over the years, and suppose that library is HUGE, and suppose that you’ve decided you want to convert that library over to pristine Apple Music tracks in the cloud. Or maybe you want to share your library with someone who has their own Apple Music account.
Well there’s a couple of ways you can do this using Playlisty. One would be to export all of your library as a playlist from iTunes (Windows) or the Music app (MacOS) as a playlist file, and then to import it into the new library using Playlisty. This would work, but there are a couple of issues. Firstly, if you have any wrong/missing tracks, those errors will get replicated to the new library. Second, even if Playlisty achieves a 95% match rate when importing to Apple Music, if your library is really huge that remaining 5% still potentially means a lot of checking you’ll need to do to make sure you get a clean import.
So the second way to do this import is to use Playlisty album mode. This kicks in automatically whenever you try to import a playlist with “.albums” in the title, so if you save an iTunes Xml playlist file as “MyLibrary.albums.Xml”, when you import it Playlisty will pick out all of the albums and ignore individual tracks. An album must have 2 or more tracks in the file to be included.
You will then find that Playlisty starts matching entire albums against the Apple Music catalog, rather than individual tracks. That means a LOT less checking do, and it means you get the full, pristine Apple Music album where before you might only have had a handful of tracks. Note: Playlisty will only explode the albums to tracks when you hit the import button, so you won’t see individual tracks until the process has finished.
But what about all those tracks you’ve got in your library which are singles? Well if Playlisty finds “.singles” in the title of the file it will ignore the Albums and only read what’s left, as individual tracks.
So for example if you want to move or clean-up a library stored under “Apple Music Account A” to a new “Apple Music Account B” you could:
- Create a playlist in Account A using the Music App on a Mac. Include all tracks in Account A’s library.
- Export it “File -> Library -> Export Library” as XML on your iCloud Drive, with the filename “MyLibrary.albums.Xml”.
- Export it again “File -> Library -> Export Library” as XML, this time with the filename “MyLibrary.singles.Xml”.
- Fire up Playlisty connected to Account B (or Account A, if you’ve cleared out Account A).
- Import the first file from iCloud using Playlisty. It will pull out all the albums and import them cleanly.
- Import the second file. It will pull out any tracks which weren’t covered by the first import.
That’s it – you’re done!
Note: this approach will NOT copy attributes such as play-counts, ratings or metadata.
Shortcuts are a powerful task automation tool provided by Apple and which work seamlessly with Playlisty. If you’d like to be able to:
- Tap on a widget to automatically import & start playing a YouTube chart
- Schedule a daily task to synchronise your Spotify Release Radar with Apple Music
- Ask Siri to import a playlist using just a voice command
…then Shortcuts are for you. This section is a technical guide for those with an understanding of the basics of Shortcuts and who want to get the most out of Playlisty. If you’d like to learn about Shortcut basics then we suggest looking elsewhere before continuing here.
Playlisty supports 2 Shortcut actions:
- Import Playlist: This is how you kick-off a playlist import in the background. The easiest way to configure an “Import Playlist” action is to use the “Add to Siri” button on the “Save Playlist” screen in Playlisty. Often that’s all you’ll need to do, but if you want to fine-tune your import please take a look at the shortcut parameters section below. One important point to remember when using “Import Playlist” is that when you call it, it will return to you the name of the playlist as an output and it will do so as soon as it knows it. This is usually very quickly, and long before the playlist has actually been imported; the background task which actually imports the playlist can take anything up to an additional 30 seconds to complete. “Import Playlist” returns quickly so that you can get on with other tasks if you need to.
- Check imports have finished: This action is new in version 1.21 and when you call it, it simply outputs true or false depending on whether all of the imports you’ve triggered using Import Playlist have completed. In addition, if an import has hit an error it will pick this up so that Siri can tell you about it.
The “Check imports have finished” action is very useful if you want to wait for an “Import Playlist” to complete before starting another task. Often you will see it being used in a loop immediately after a “Playlist Import”, like this:
Import Playlist "Release Radar"
Repeat 20 times
Check whether your playlists have finished importing
Show Notification "Import finished!"
Wait 5 seconds
Better still you can put the Repeat loop above into its own Shortcut and simply call it whenever you want to wait for a playlist to finish importing.
Here are some of the parameters you can tweak in the Import Playlist action:
- URL or Playlist Text: A URL can be something like https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=RDCLAK5uy_l2zLaMIWOqWSePvTSmt49GcuR8460ZR10 or https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DXdPec7aLTmlC?si=eTlo8kQFR2Wn3SJmdHH7sA.
However you can also grab text yourself (e.g. using the “Get Contents of Web Page” Web Request) and pass this in to Playlisty as raw text. Playlisty will then use advanced pattern-matching techniques to try and find a playlist within the text you passed in.
- Playlist Name: You can force Playlisty to store the playlist with a specific name by filling in this field. If you leave this blank, the default name for the playlist will be used. If an existing playlist is found with the name you specify, Playlisty will add a number in brackets to the end of the playlist name e.g. “My Playlist” becomes “My Playlist (1)”. The actual playlist name that Playlisty uses will be sent to you as an output for you to use later in your Shortcut, should you need it.
- Run in background: Normally Playlisty guides you through the process of importing a playlist. However with this option checked Playlisty will attempt to import your playlist completely in the background, fully automatically. In order to do this you need to supply a few additional parameters, as follows…
- Min Tracks: This is a number. If Playlisty fails to find at least this number of tracks at the URL you specify (e.g. because the playlist is no longer there) it will stop the import and let you know. For example if a playlist is usually about 100 tracks long you might set this value to around 90.
- Min Match Rate %: This is a number between 1 and 100. If Playlisty fails to find a match for at least this %age of the tracks at the URL you specify (e.g. because the page is corrupt in some way) it will stop the import and let you know. Normally this will be set to around 75% or 80%, but if it’s a classical music playlist you might want to choose a lower number.
- Playlist description: This field allows you to specify the description that Apple Music will display below the playlist title.
Importing from your Apple Music library
Starting with Playlisty 2.6 we’ve added the ability to import playlists FROM your own Music library, back into your Music library. Why on earth would we do this? The answer is that, in many cases, passing a playlist already in your Music library through Playlisty’s advanced track matching algorithm can make it better.
How is this possible? Well starting in July 2021 Apple Music started offering lossless & high-definition versions of most of its catalog. This means that if:
- your playlists contain references to hundreds of your own treasured music files, carefully ripped from CDs;
- you’ve got some random greyed-out Apple Music tracks;
- some of your Apple Music tracks were (unbeknownst to you) sourced from compilations;
- some of your Apple Music tracks were sourced from Radio shows (easily identifiable because you will hear a DJ talking over the start and/or end);
…then better quality versions of these tracks may now be available in the Apple Music catalog.
If you rely on your weekly New Music mix to find new tracks for your playlists, then the latter two issues can be particularly annoying. Apple’s algorithms tend to favour radio & compilation versions of songs, probably because they get played the most.
Unfortunately it’s not technically possible to search Apple’s catalog to specifically find versions of songs which offer the highest quality. However Playlisty uses advanced heuristics to scan the catalog for the versions most likely to have high definition versions. Often these will also offer the best quality artwork too.
So by opening an existing Music playlist in Playlisty and either playing it directly or by saving it to a new playlist, there’s a good chance you’ll end-up with improved versions of many of the tracks.
If you give it a try, please let us know how you get on. We’re continually looking for ways to improve our catalog matching algorithms and your experiences will help us make further improvements.