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Export an iTunes playlist in play order using Automator
Authored by: digidan on Apr 13, '09 07:32:51AM


I've had a couple of people contact me about this workflow, saying that it wouldn't work for some reason. On my MacBook Pro running 10.5.6 and iTunes 8.1.1, It works well. Still, there are a couple of little bigs I've found that may be the cause of some of these problems.

First, note that it seems that it can take as much as 30 seconds (or more, at times) for the automator workflow runner to start (and show the icon in the menu bar) if has not been run at least once since the last time you started up your mac - and it will take a while to copy everything. During this time, it looks like nothing is happening, making it very tempting to go back into the menu and run the workflow again needlessly. See the next point.

Second, only run one instance of the workflow at a time. If it's busy copying or starting up the automator runner (the system process that actually runs the workflow), and you run the workflow again, it will cause all sorts of errors, from copying a few songs but not others, to stopping mid-copy, to not renaming the files, to just plain freezing up.

Third, sometimes iTunes doesn't register particular songs as "selected" if you merely select the playlist name - so make sure you actually select all the song themselves within the iTunes windows (they should be bright blue). Also, keep the iTunes window active and "in front" until Automator Runner starts up.

Fourth, apparently in iTunes 8, Apple decided to force all songs to be imported with their track number in stored the file name, by removing the user option in the advanced pane of preferences. This means that many (most) songs will have a two or three digit number in the file name, even if the automator workflow did not add numbers to each file. If you're troubleshooting a workflow, it's a good thing to keep in mind.

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