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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Creating Music Playlists: Using Naxos & Alexander Street

Getting Started

Welcome to the Music & Performing Arts Library (MPAL) guide to Creating Playlists using subscription streaming resources. This guide is for UIUC faculty, staff, and students and will walk you through how to create and edit shareable playlists for personal and class use through two of our major streaming platforms: Naxos Music Library & Alexander Street Press.

Naxos Music Library (NML) Overview

Naxos Music Library (NML) is a music streaming service with complete catalogues or selected recordings of over 800 labels spanning many musical genres with artist and composer information as well as libretti and synopses of over 700 operas. NML supports personal accounts and the UIUC institutional account which can both be used to create playlists with optional password protection.

  • For Students: you can create private folders and playlists by setting up a personal account. Note that these are NOT shareable and not visible to other Illinois affiliated users.
  • For Faculty/Staff: you can create shareable folders and playlists through the UIUC institutional account for use in your courses. Only faculty and staff have access to the institutional account; for access, email us at Due to the shared login for institutional use, we ask that playlists created through the institutional account be strictly for University purposes.

Creating NML Folders & Playlists

UIUC faculty and staff can gain access to UIUC's NML institutional account to create shared playlists and folders. These playlists can be shared with your students or embedded in your course Canvas pages.

Note: Playlists and folders created with the institutional login are restricted to University purposes.

  1. Login with our institutional credentials (email us at for access)
  2. Select "Playlists" from the navigation menu
  3. Under the "University of Illinois Playlists" tab, create a new folder by clicking the + plus button
  4. Label the folder name with your course number and use your name in the "author" field
  5. Check the box next to "secure folder" and add a password if desired (we recommend creating a memorable password for your students that relates to your course)

Access: If you add a password, your folder will be visible to all UIUC affiliates with the password. If you do not add a password, any UIUC affiliate will be able to view and access the playlist.

Once you set up your account, all UIUC students, faculty, and staff can create private folders to organize music playlists in Naxos!

Note: Private folders and playlists created with your personal account cannot be shared.

  1. Select "Playlists" from the navigation menu
  2. Click "Sign Up" next to Student / Member Accounts along the top
  3. Create a personal account using your email address
  4. Log in to your account and return to the "Playlists" tab
  5. Select the + plus sign next to "Folders" on the left
  6. Name your folder, check the box next to "secure folder" and add a password if desired

Once you've made a folder (either private or shared), you are ready to create playlists! Remember that playlists in private folders cannot be shared.

  1. Within Naxos, find the CD page that includes the tracks you want to add
  2. Select tracks by checking the box next to the track names
  3. Once you have chosen the tracks you want, click the + plus button above the track list to add them to a playlist
  4. In the "select location" pop-up window, choose your desired playlist and folder from the list or choose "new playlist"
  5. Click save
  6. Repeat with additional tracks from other CD pages as desired

If you have any trouble following the steps in the preceding tabs or need help managing your playlists and folders in Naxos, check out NML's help documentation and video tutorials linked below.

Alexander Street Press (ASP) Overview

Alexander Street Press (ASP) is a vendor that provides access to many performing arts streaming databases across genres including Broadway HD, Classical Music Library, Jazz Music Library, and Smithsonian Global Sound, among others.

By creating a personal account, all UIUC students, faculty, and staff can create shareable playlists and set their visibility to personal, class or group use, UIUC-wide, or public. Choose the ASP database you want from the Library's Databases A-Z List and follow the instructions below.

Creating ASP Playlists

In any Alexander Street Press database, you can create shareable playlists using your personal account. Unlike Naxos Music Library, there is no institutional account, so students, faculty, and staff will all have access to the same functionality using their personal accounts.

  1. Choose and open the ASP database you want from the Library's Databases A-Z List
  2. Select the user profile at the top right of the page (it looks like an icon of a person)
  3. Click "create a new account" and fill out the information using your email address
  4. Login and search for the album or artist you want
  5. Click into the album's page and select the "playlist" button under the album name to add the full album or the + plus sign to the left of the tracks you want to add if you only want to add a few songs
  6. After selecting the album or individual tracks, you'll be prompted to choose between adding them to an existing playlist or creating a new one

Once you've made one or more playlists, you can access them at any time by expanding the menu button at the top left of the page and clicking "playlists" from the banner of options.

To edit and share a playlist:

  1. Select the playlist you want from the list by clicking on its title
  2. Click "edit playlist" to change the track order, add notes, embed external links like YouTube videos, or delete individual songs or albums from the playlist
  3. You can change the visibility settings for your playlist at any time from the "edit playlist" screen
  4. To share your playlist with a group, select "just my class or group" from the visibility options and add email addresses for the people you want to share it with. If you want your playlist to be visible to everyone, select that option.

Alexander Street Press databases also allow you to create custom clips of audio and video content. You can use this feature to create listening tests for your students by selecting the work you're interested in and creating a clip at whatever segment you want. 

  1. Create or log into your account (for full instructions, see the first tab called "Creating Playlists"
  2. Search for the audio or video you want
  3. Click to select the moment on the audio or video file where you want the clip to begin and select the "scissors" icon from the toolbar
  4. Once you've selected the scissors icon, red and green flags will appear designating the clip's start and end times
  5. Drag the flags until they correspond with the duration of the clip you want to create
  6. Add a title to your clip and select the visibility settings you want

For more help, refer to Alexander Street Press's documentation (linked below). 

If you have trouble following any of the instructions in this guide or need help creating and managing your playlists in ASP databases, check out their help documentation linked below.

Music & Performing Arts Library

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Subjects: Dance, Music, Theatre