What Is an XSPF File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert XSPF Files

XSPF File
XSPF Files.

A file with the XSPF file extension (pronounced as "spiff") is an XML Shareable Playlist Format file. They're not media files in and of themselves, but instead just XML text files that point to, or reference media files.

A media player uses the XSPF file to determine what files should be opened and played in the program. It reads the XSPF to understand where the media files are stored, and plays them according to what the XSPF files says.

See the example below for an easy understanding of that.

XSPF files are similar to other playlist formats like M3U8 and M3U, but are built with portability in mind. Like the example below shows, that XSPF file could be used on anyone's computer so long as the file is in a folder that corresponds to the same file structure as the referenced songs.

You can read more about XML Shareable Playlist Format at XSPF.org.

Note: A JSON Shareable Playlist Format file is similar to XSPF except is uses the JSPF file extension since it's written in the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format.

How to Open an XSPF File

XSPF files are XML-based files, which means any text editor (like Notepad++) can open it for editing and viewing the text. However, a program like VLC media player, Clementine or Audacious is needed to actually use the XSPF file.

A huge list of other programs that use XSPF files are available through this XSPF.org programs list.

Tip: Though it's probably not the case for every program that can open an XSPF file, you might have to open the program first and then use the menu to import/open the playlist file. In other words, double-clicking the XSPF file might not open it directly in the program.

Note: Since you might have a few different programs on your computer that can open XSPF files, you might find that when you double-click the file, an unwanted application opens it when you'd rather it be something else.

Fortunately, you can change that default program that the XSPF file opens in. See How to Change File Associations in Windows for help on that.

How to Convert an XSPF File

It's important to remember that an XSPF file is just a text file. This means you cannot convert an XSPF file to MP4, MP3, MOV, AVI, WMV or any other audio/video file format.

However, if you open an XSPF file with a text editor, you can see where the media files are physically located and then use a free file converter on those files (but not on the XSPF) to convert them to MP3, etc.

Converting an XSPF file to another playlist file, however, is completely acceptable and easy to do if you have the free VLC media player on your computer. Just open the XSPF file in VLC and then go to the Media > Save Playlist to File... option to convert the XSPF file to M3U or M3U8.

Online Playlist Creator might be helpful in converting XSPF to the PLS or WPL (Windows Media Player Playlist) format.

You can convert an XSPF file to JSPF with the XSPF to JSPF Parser.

XSPF File Example

This is an example of an XSPF file that points to four different MP3 files:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
 <playlist version="1" xmlns="http://xspf.org/ns/0/">
 <trackList>
 <track><location>file:///mp3s/song1.mp3</location></track>
 <track><location>file:///mp3s/song2.mp3</location></track>
 <track><location>file:///mp3s/song3.mp3</location></track>
 <track><location>file:///mp3s/song4.mp3</location></track>
 </trackList>
 </playlist>

As you can see, the four tracks are in a folder called "mp3s." When the XSPF file is opened in the media player, the software reads the file to understand where to go to pull up the songs. It can then gather these four MP3s into the program and play them in a playlist format.

If you want to convert the media files, it's there in the <Location> tags that you should look to see where they're actually stored. Once you navigate to that folder, you can have access to the real files and convert them there.

Still Can't Open Your File?

Some file formats use similarly spelled file extensions. However, it doesn't mean that the formats are similar or can be opened with the same tools.

Sometimes they can but it doesn't necessarily mean that that's true just because the file extensions look the same.

For example, XSPF files are spelled much like XSP files but the latter is for Kodi Smart Playlist files. In this instance, the two are playlist files but they most likely can't open with the same software (Kodi works with XSP files) and probably don't look the same at the text level (like you see above).

Another example is the LMMS Preset file format that uses the XPF file extension. LMMS is what's required to open XPF files.