M3U Playlists won't load, specific instructions for path

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)
Mac, OSX 10.15.4 Catalina

Description Of Issue

I’m trying to get Roon to read an M3U playlist. Unfortunately, all of the instructions are too vague.

It says:

Reference file paths that Roon can understand – if you have moved your media or your M3U file, or if you think M3U is being ignored by Roon, you should open the M3U in a text editor and confirm that the path for a given song matches the path for that track displayed in Roon

Can you provide more detailed instructions on what what a path that Roon understands is? Here are some specific questions:

Do I use \ or / in my paths? Does it matter? Does it need to match the OS I’m using?

Is the path in the M3U file relative to the monitored folder or an absolute path? My monitored folder is on my NAS. Roon sees it as \\qnapnas\music > Working. Under there I have a folder called “Ripped”. Which of these do I use for the path in my M3U file:

When I use the terminal on my Mac, the path is shown as:

Is that what I’m supposed to use?

I think I’ve tried them all and my playlist still does not show up. When I view the song in Roon and select “View File Info” for the file I’m trying to add, then “Copy File Path To Clipboard”, I get: “/Users/music/Library/RoonMounts/RoonStorage_49314b768337b2b4e30ddb9cf2b16596f094c5f9/Working/Ripped”. Am I supposed to use that path? It didn’t work either.

Will the playlist still show up if the paths are wrong? Should I see a playlist with 0 songs in it? Or will it only appear if at least 1 song is recognized?

Will songs with bad paths prevent the file from loading? Do all of the files have to have the right slashes, etc? Or will it load the songs it can find?

Do spaces in in the M3U file need to be escaped on a Mac?
Are spaces allowed in the M3U file name?
Do line endings matter? If the file was created on Windows, do I need to convert the line endings to use it on a Mac?
What about file encoding?

Hi @Sharon_Westfall,

Let’s take a look at one example — Can you share a screenshot of:

  • The Album in Roon
  • The path for the track as seen in Roon
  • The path for the track in the M3U playlist


I think I have screen shots you wanted. Here’s the latest attempt at the M3U playlist. I’m trying to add one song. The latest try uses “/Volumes/Music” because I saw that in another post somewhere and that person got it to work. This one also uses “\” to escape the space characters. Macs are a variant of Linux, so spaces are problematic in filenames and directory names. I’ve tried it both with and without the escapes.

#EXTINF:185,Ring Ring - ABBA
/Volumes/Music/Working/Ripped/ABBA/The\ Singles\ -\ CD\ 1/01\ Ring\ Ring.flac

Here it is without the escapes:
#EXTINF:185,Ring Ring - ABBA
/Volumes/Music/Working/Ripped/ABBA/The Singles - CD 1/01 Ring Ring.flac

The playlist is named “Test_Playlist.m3u” and is placed in the /Volumes/Music/Working directory, which is the same as the Storage Location in Roon.

You can see in the top screenshot a terminal window that shows how the Mac recognizes the path.

Hi @Sharon_Westfall,

Can you send us the m3u file so I can have our QA team take a look? You can send it via Dropbox or any other file sharing service. If you don’t have one of those services available let me know!

I don’t use any file sharing systems. It really is just the 3 lines I posted before.

You can create a file by pasting these into a text file, omitting the lines with the dashes.
#EXTINF:185,Ring Ring - ABBA
/Volumes/Music/Working/Ripped/ABBA/The Singles - CD 1/01 Ring Ring.flac

I’d still appreciate a description of what the file should contain. I posted a bunch of questions that you should really answer so people know how to get this working. If you could post a working entry from a Mac playlist that uses a NAS, I could figure it on my own. I’m just frustrated trying to guess all of the possible permutations of things to try.

Any updates on this? Can you post an example of a playlist line for a Mac using a NAS? I can probably get it working from there. Also, can you confirm the location of the playlist file? Does it go in the root folder that I have told Roon is the “Storage Location”?

Any progress on this? Can you post the lines from a playlist for a Mac with files mounted on a NAS?

Hi @Sharon_Westfall,

Apologies for the delay here, I have been out of the office. I asked the team for some feedback while I was out and they are hoping you can let us know editor you are using to create these playlists. It looks like absolute paths are being used. You’ll want the playlist file to be in the same folder as the Roon watched folder and you’ll want to use relative paths (which is an option in many editors).

Short version: working now!!!

Medium version:

  1. Place your playlist files in the same directory as the Storage Location defined in Roon. In my case this is my /Volumes/Music/Working folder.

  2. Each song defines the path relative to that location. Do not put any leading slashes or drives on there. In my case, the next level directories are Ripped, iTunes, and HDTracks. So, my entries will all begin with “Ripped/”, “iTunes/”, or “HDTracks/”.

  3. Use forward slashes in your paths. I didn’t try backslashes to see if they work too. For me, this looks like this: “Ripped/ABBA/The Singles - CD 1/01 Ring Ring.flac”

Long version:

I’m trying to edit the playlists created in iTunes to work with the songs I have imported into Roon. On iTunes, I used down-sampled versions of my ripped files and hires files from HDTracks. I don’t want to play those in Roon. I want the glory of full resolution. But I created my iTunes playlists from the same folder structures, just .mp3 files instead of .flac files.

I’m a programmer, so I use SlickEdit to edit these files. It provides powerful substitutions and scripting to automate the process. I’m just struggling to know what to put in the file.

As we can see from the above screenshots, the root of my library in Roon is \qnapnas\music\Working. Not shown in that picture: I have subdirectories for “Ripped”, “iTunes”, and “HDTracks”; which I use to keep the origins of my music separate. It really helps with the file management.

I placed my “Test_Playlist.m3u” in the \qnapnas\music\Working subdirectory. So, I believe I have placed the playlist file in the same folder as the Roon watched folder, as you say.

You say that I should use relative paths from that folder. For the example song I’m using to try to get this to work, that would be:
Ripped/ABBA/The Singles - CD 1/01 Ring Ring.flac

So my file contains the following 3 lines:

#EXTINF:185,Ring Ring - ABBA
Ripped/ABBA/The Singles - CD 1/01 Ring Ring.flac

After doing a “Force Rescan” to make sure the file is examined.

…and it works!! Awesome!!! I must not have tried this without a leading slash or without a fully qualified path.

If you could add this to the page that documents how to import playlists, that would be great. Thank you so much for your help with this! I totally love Roon, and I’m so pleased to be able to set up my playlists.

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