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I like to keep my iTunes library ('My Music') clean and only add albums I really like. However, I also like to have playlists with songs I just like a bit. I do not want these songs to show up in 'My Music'.

When adding a song to a playlist in Apple Music, it's automatically added to 'My Music'. When removing it from 'My Music', it's also removed from the playlist.

Is there some way to add a song to a playlist, while not adding it to 'My Music'?

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Apple has added this ability in the most recent versions of their apps:

Add a song to a playlist in Apple Music without adding it to your library

What’s New in iTunes 12.3.3

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  • It appears this only works with songs from Apple Music, not e.g. MP3s downloaded from Amazon (which are either in your playlists and library, or in neither). Can you (or anyone reading this) confirm or correct that? – Wildcard Sep 29 '19 at 18:21
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iTunes treats tracks now the same way it treated tracks before the introduction of Apple Music: you can't put a song into a playlist unless it's in your music library. Before Apple Music, this was common sense; how could you have a song in a playlist if you don't even have it in your library?

If you absolutely need this behavior, Spotify as an alternative does NOT behave this way. Spotify's "Your Music" library and Spotify playlists stay completely separate. This effectively makes the "Your Music" library one big unordered playlist.

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