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PLS (file format)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Filename extension
Internet media type
Type of formatPlaylist

PLS is a computer file format for a multimedia playlist. It is typically used by media players for streaming media over the Internet, but may also be used for playing local media.

For online streaming, typically the .PLS file would be downloaded just once from the media source—such as from an online radio station—for immediate or future use. While most computers and players automatically recognize the .PLS format, the first time a PLS file is used on a computer, the media player's settings may need to be changed to recognize ("associated" with) .PLS files.

PLS was originally developed for use with the museArc[1] audio player software by codeArts, and was later used by SHOUTcast and Icecast for streaming media over the Internet. PLS is a more expressive playlist format than the basic M3U playlist, as it can store (cache) information on the song title and length (this is supported in extended M3U only).

File format


The format is case-sensitive and essentially that of an INI file structured as follows[2]


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

Track Entry
Assuming track entry #X

  • FileX : Variable defining location of media file/stream (like .m3u/.m3u8 playlists).
  • TitleX : Defines track title. (optional)
  • LengthX : Length in seconds of track. Value of -1 indicates indefinite (streaming). (optional)

If file metadata includes a title already, then the TitleX entry will not be displayed.


  • NumberOfEntries : This variable indicates the number of tracks and therefore equals the number used for the last track
  • Version : Playlist version. Currently only a value of 2 is valid.



Example of a complete PLS file used for "streaming audio;" in this case, to connect to a particular online radio station and receive its audio stream:

Title1=Here enter name of the station

Alternative Example containing local paths:



Title2=Just some local audio that is 2mins long

Title3=absolute path on Windows

Title4=example for an Environment variable

Unix/BSD/Linux/OS X

In Unix-like operating systems absolute and relative file paths differ from Windows, because there are no drive letters, Environment variables differ and [/] (forward slashes) are used as directory separators instead of [\] (backslashes). Therefore, playlists pointing to absolute paths or media files outside of the folder containing the playlist will only work for one type of operating system - either Windows or Unix-like. URLs work the same for all types.

To make the second example from above work the 3rd and 4th path need to be changed to something like:


Compatible media player software


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

See also


Other playlist file formats:


  1. ^ Nullsoft Winamp Online Documentation: The Playlist and Playlist Editor
  2. ^ "configparser — Configuration file parser — Python 3.10.5 documentation". docs.python.org. Retrieved 2022-07-22.