It depends on the kind of playlist you created.
If you created an "Automatic" playlist (i.e. one that has rules for including/excluding various kinds of files), you can change the order only by changing the sort criterion in the playlist edit box.
Here's what the Edit Automatic Playlist dialog looks like:
To change your sort order:
Click the checkbox beside "Limit to:"
This will enable the "When sorted by:" controls on the next line.
Choose the field by which you want your tracks sorted (Album, Artist, etc). You can also choose whether to sort in ascending or descending order.
If you don't want to limit the number of tracks in your playlist, uncheck the checkbox you enabled in step 1.
Click the Close button and you're done!
RhythmBox refers to playlists where you've explicitly added specific songs as Static.
When you populate static playlists, RhythmBox always adds new tracks to the end, so you could change the order of this list by removing and adding tracks until they're in the order you want.
Fortunately, there is a somewhat easier way.
Rhythmbox stores the content for the static playlists, along with the rules for the Automatic ones, in a human-readable XML file. In order to change the order, you have to edit that file.
The file's (default) path is:
To change the order of a manually-created playlist:
(NOTE: these instructions, while pretty basic, assume a certain amount of familiarity with Linux operations, like copying and editing files. If you don't know how to do these things, you'll need to look them up first.)
Close RhythmBox, lest it overwrite the file you are about to edit.
Navigate to the directory containing the playlist file. (
(Optional but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!) Copy the
playlists.xml file to a backup file, in case you screw up. (To do so in a terminal, enter something like this command:
cp playlists.xml playlists-backup.xml .)
Open the file (the original, not the backup) with your favourite text editor.
Find the particular playlist you want to edit. Each playlist is a playlist element, consisting of:
an opening <playlist> tag
a location element for each track comprising the playlist, specifying the file path
(Note that the file specifiers are URL-encoded, so – for instance – what would normally be a space in the file name will appear as
%20. Take that into account if you are using your editor's search functionality to find a specific file!)
a closing <playlist> tag
Each playlist element has a
name attribute (among others), so if the playlist you want to edit is called Main, you can search for
Move a song:
(Note: These are very basic directions, aimed at beginners. Experienced users of text editors will not need these.)
Find the file you want to move.
highlight the entire line containing the location element of each track you want to move
cut out the selected text (usually Ctrl+X will do this)
place your cursor in the new location and paste the text you cut in the previous step (usually Ctrl+V)
Repeat the previous step for each track you want to move.
Save the file. (!)
If you've done everything correctly, when you open RhythmBox, the songs should be in the order you want.
If you haven't done everything correctly, RhythmBox may not be able to read the playlists file at all. It's a good thing you backed it up when you started all this, huh? You should be able to use the backup to figure out what you did wrong.
This procedure is certainly nowhere near as nice as being able to drag and drop the songs from the RhythmBox GUI itself, but it's better than not being able to change the order at all.