One of the casualties of Apple blundering through the QuickTime 10 update has been the total loss of functionality playing M3U files on the web through Safari. Despite the QuickTime Internet Plugin being 100% capable of playing M3U linked audio files, Apple broke the connection ability in Safari 5 and lazily left it that way. Explain that to me Apple, please.
BORING STUFF TO SKIP
1) Grab any M3U file off a website. Amazon is a great place to find them. They're what Amazon uses to play samples of tunes they sell as MP3s.
2) Drop the M3U file onto TextEdit and view the URL buried within.
3) Copy the M3U URL.
4) Open QuickTime Player 10.
5) Hit Command-L ('Open Location…') to open the URL entry box.
6) Paste in the M3U URL.
7) Click 'Open'. See the linked M3U audio file play perfectly. Shake your head at Apple trying to figure out why they cut access to this functionality out of the QuickTime plug-in. It's beyond comprehension.
BACK ON SUBJECT
So what plug-in can we use instead?
I believe it's still possible to finagle around with RealPlayer plug-in, if you want to bother with it. I don't. I don't know what's the point of RealPlayer any more.
That leaves the Adobe Flash plug-in. Oh no. If you read my Mac-Security blog you know that Flash is the second-most dangerous, insecure plug-in you can use on the Internet, second only to Oracle's awful Java plug-in. But thankfully, some bright and brilliant people at Apple now take OS X security seriously, and have written some excellent plug-in control into Safari. This helps to keep nasty Flash malware off our Macs. But it also means that the old methods for getting Flash to play M3U files has changed. Therefore, here is the new, current, 2014 Edition of…
How To Play M3U Music In Safari
1) Visit an Amazon.com page with MP3s you can sample and buy.
(Please never, ever choose ‘Allow Always’ or ‘Unsafe Mode’ as they invite Flash security exploits. And that's a bad thing).
You’ll also see a new header menu above the tunes labeled ‘Samples’ as well as a back button, ‘Preview all songs/Pause’ button, Forward button and volume slider.
M3U functionality restored!
Here are a couple images to help illustrate the instructions. Click to blow them up for viewing: