1. I want to export my iTunes library to an external hard disc such that it RETAINS structure of all artist folders, album folders and music files within.
  2. I would also like to separately export playlists from the library such that they retain all artist folders, album folders and music files.

There is way too much music (1.5 TB) and too little time available to do this manually. I have tried many third party software or instructions (e.g. "itunes export" ) but so far they all just transfer music files unattached from album and artist folders. I am not very savvy with using command center but I can follow detailed and clearly written instructions. I know this can be done I just do not remember how. My intention is to give discs to my children, with playlists retained so they can find their interests without having to search though over 100K songs.

(Yet another question is if there is a better music management program out there than iTunes which continually mangles my library) I would appreciate someones guidance. Thank you

1 Answer 1


The link below has the answer. With no need for downloading any software or scripts / patches.

You need to use Terminal, but there's a simple to follow video, and minimal steps on the page:


  1. With selected playlist, choose File > Library > Export Playlist and choose m3u8 format
  2. Open a shell and run tr '\r' '\n' < input_m3u | cpio -pd destination_directory > m3u_file where input_m3u is your playlist file, destination_directory the root folder to put the directory tree in and m3u_file is a new playlist file for the new tree (?). You can leave out > m3u_file, you will see a bunch of messages like ´Cannot lstat ...` which you can ignore.

I've just done exactly the same thing as you want to do, so I can say from personal experience that it works. Copies a playlist to a new location whilst keeping the iTunes folder structure exactly the same (so by Artist, Album or compilation, etc) depending on how you have you iTunes folder set up. If you set the new location as a SD disk (or external drive) it will copy it straight there.

  • While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.
    – grg
    Sep 18, 2016 at 19:40

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