PLS (file format)

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Filename extension .pls
Internet media type audio/x-scpls
Type of format Playlist

PLS is a computer file format that stores multimedia playlists, originally used by SHOUTcast and Icecast for streaming media over the Internet, such as a desktop icon used for listening to an online radio station that supports PLS, using the user's .MP3 player. PLS is a more expressive playlist format than basic M3U, as it can store (cache) information on the song title and length (this is supported in extended M3U only). With PLS version 2, playlists also include a PLS version declaration.

iTunes, VLC media player, Totem, RealPlayer, Winamp, Yahoo! Music Jukebox, MediaMonkey, Windows Media Player, AIMP, XBMC, XMPlay, Rhythmbox, foobar2000, and more than 30 others are able to interpret (open) PLS files.[1] Media Player Classic with the K-Lite codec installed does work with PLS format but still requires the appropriate MIME or file extension associations.

As a streaming audio format PLS has both advantages and disadvantages over other formats. A simple software MP3 player (associated or linked with PLS,) often consumes far less of the System Resources than the typical multi-function Internet Browser, (particularly if video streaming is absent or disabled in the music player). This ability to circumvent video advertisements is seen as a disadvantage by many for-profit radio stations, and the PLS format support has declined in popularity among radio stations. However, because audio streaming requires less bandwidth than video, PLS connections are popular with users on dial up and other low bandwidth connections or with limited system resources. Radio streaming PLS files are normally obtained via free download from either a participating radio station's Web site, or a radio-tuner type site such as SHOUTcast.[2] PLS is also an inexpensive way to deliver radio over the Internet for small broadcasters, since it does not require a registered domain name, just an IP address. On a Macintosh, one can tune into many of these streams by clicking the radio tower button in iTunes.[3]


The format is essentially that of an INI file structured as follows:


  • [playlist] : This tag indicates that it is a Playlist File

Track Entry
Assuming track entry #X

  • FileX : Variable defining location of stream.
  • TitleX : Defines track title.
  • LengthX : Length in seconds of track. Value of -1 indicates indefinite (streaming).


  • NumberOfEntries : This variable indicates the number of tracks
  • Version : Playlist version. Currently only a value of 2 is valid.

Example of a radio station streaming audio PLS file, complete



Compare with[edit]


  1. ^ (computer diagnostics) in May, 2013, ...lists more than 40 programs that open PLS and their "prevalence."
  2. ^ Obtaining (radio) streaming audio PLS files normally involves trial and error in locating a site that supplies them. One source is: see: "How do I access radio station streaming PLS files on" ....Step 2: Check the option that says "Play SHOUTcast stations in default media player ( eg: Winamp / iTunes / Windows Media Player )" A PLS file will be offered for download that will play your selected audio stream or radio station (assuming the right file extension associations have been made).
  3. ^ FILEXT May, 2013, - see: "Other applications associated with file type PLS:" ..."use a modified form of http to deliver MP3 audio in real-time over a network." ... "does not require the server to have a registered domain name, just an IP address."

External links[edit]