Ask music4dance: Can I export music4dance playlists to play locally?

I’ve been thinking about the concept of music4dance since long before streaming services like Spotify existed, so the idea of generating playlist that could be played against files locally on my computer has certainly been on my radar.

But the quick answer to this question is, unfortunately, no.

The longer answer is (of course) that it’s complicated.  The most recent person to ask about this specifically was interested in exporting to .m3u files to be used in ballroomDJ.  So I’ll use that as an example, but the general issue that I’m about to outline applies to all of the local players and playlist formats that I’ve encountered. 

The problem is that local playlist formats generally use file paths to locate the media that they play.  Since most of the information that I’ve compiled in music4dance comes from streaming and commerce services, I have no idea what the filename might be for the songs in the catalog, much less where on disk it my be hiding.

Quite some time ago, I wrote some experimental code that will take a list of song title and artist and search through a local music library in order to attempt to match and create a usable playlist.  This worked reasonably well, and when I added possible albums and song length to do some disambiguation it worked a little better.  But it wasn’t close to 100% and I’m struggling for a way to generalize that to run on anyone’s system without writing a player of my own.

In any case, I’m not writing about this question just to say that the answer is hard.  I’m interested in your feedback in two ways. 

  1. Does anyone have any leads on a media player that does a decent job of consuming some online description of a playlist and matching it to local media?  I certainly haven’t done a full survey of the possibilities recently, so I may be missing something that could help solve this problem.
  2. How useful would this be for you?  If enough people express interest in this I’ll push it up in my queue.

As a slight aside, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to point out that I did get this working for Spotify playlists. While that doesn’t solve the exact problem for those who use local media libraries, it’s very cool for Spotify users. Read about that in this post: Create a Spotify Playlist.

As always if you have comments or suggestions please feel free to reply to this post or contact me here.  And let me know if you like the Q&A blog format.  If you do, send me more questions to answer, please!

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