M3U File Format

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M3U (Moving Picture Experts Group Audio Layer 3 Uniform Resource Locator, MP3 URL) is a computer file format that stores multimedia playlists. It was originally implemented in Winamp, although it is now supported by many applications.

An M3U file is a plain text file that contains the locations of one or more media files that the mediaplayer should play. Each location is placed on a new line. The locations can be either absolute or relative local pathnames (e.g., “C:\My Music\Chanson.mp3” or “Chanson.mp3”) or they can be URLs. The file can also include comments, prefaced by the “#” character. In extended M3U, “#” also introduces extended M3U directives.

One common use of the M3U file format is creating a playlist file that contains a single entry pointing to a stream on the Internet. The created file provides easy access to that stream and can be used for things like downloading from a website or for emailing, or for Internet radio listening.

The file is saved with the “M3U” or “m3u” filename extension.

“m3u” files use the Latin-1 charset, the unicode version of “m3u” is “m3u8”, it can include UTF-8 unicode characters.

Joe Cotellese @JoeCotellese