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iTunes Playlists via USB Flash Drive

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by DBG, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. DBG

    DBG Member

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    First, sorry if this has been discussed but I cannot locate an answer after a bit of browsing.

    Just got my Model S with the premium sound system and I sort of took it for granted it would do something basic like a playlist for the extra $2500 lol. I am used to my GMC truck where the playlists, artists, genres, etc. on my iPhone or iPods just show up nicely on the touch screen as soon as I connect and that is a two years old system.

    I copied a playlist to a USB drive and it plays okay on the Model S but the files copy over in alphabetical title order. Any tips on how I could copy an existing playlist to a USB and retain the play order in a way the Model S will preserve? Even better, but perhaps too advanced for my poor Tesla, or my poor IT skills, any tips on how to put more than one playlist on a USB drive and get to them through the Tesla sound system?

    Many thanks! I really love my Model S but I am starting to realize the interior and touch panel is still a work in progress.

    Doug
     
  2. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Unfortunately, it's not currently possible to setup playlists on the MS. Some folks have done things where they make folders and put numbers in front of tracks to order them etc, but there's no way to just open an m3u file in the car.
     
  3. pilotSteve

    pilotSteve Member

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    I've finally found a slightly cheezy solution to playlists. I took a second USB thumb drive (32GB) and made a folder on it for each of my chosen playlists, then used an apple script tool I found on the web to export a copy of each playlist to its folder on the USB. The files have numbers placed at the front of each name you choose play by folder you'll hear your playlist in order.

    The export playlist(s) to folder is found here http://dougscripts.com/itunes/scripts/ss.php?sp=exportfilesfromplaylists. (Its freeware with ability to paypal donate if you wish). Finally an interim solution until Tesla improves media play. BTW by putting playlists on a second thumb drive I don't mess up my primary music library. I supposed you could do it all on one drive but this way I remove and update my 'playlists' without disturbing my library.
     
  4. majorlance

    majorlance Member

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  5. Nappe

    Nappe Member

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    If you are on a Mac, I suggest this app from the App Store: Mac App Store - Export for iTunes

    I also found it frustrating that the car played the songs in my playlists in alphabetical order. This app lets us define the format of the filename as soon as you hit Export, so I included the track number at the beginning, which the Tesla, thankfully, ignores on display. I used a custom format of track number, title, artist, album, as shown below.

    Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 9.07.37 AM.png

    If you don't have a Mac, the nav system will show you the shortest route to the nearest Apple Store. :biggrin:
     
  6. majorlance

    majorlance Member

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    How do you handle the playlists on the flash drive? Do you use the a separate folder for each and then play in folder view?

    As a side note, you can now turn on shuffle mode and have them play in random order.
     
  7. gzerninplatz

    gzerninplatz Member

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    majorlance's script completely solves the problem, folks...I've been using it for a while now....it puts the playlist name in the genre field, not the folder field (which has issues), so you can play in order, shuffle, see all track info, etc...and it doesn't copy unplayable formats. I have 107GB of music on a 128GB drive, all working just fine...
     
  8. KurtR

    KurtR Member

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    It's useful, but it doesn't completely solve the problem because it eliminates the intended use of the "Genre" tag. Say I have my music collection on one thumb drive, with Blues, Classic Rock, Classical, and Jazz tracks all tagged with the relevant Genres, and then I want to also create playlists while retaining the ability to switch Genres and shuffle all songs in the Genre. Can't do that if the Genre tag has been hijacked to mimic playlist functionality.

    This touches on one of my pet peeves about Tesla's priorities on software updates. You order a 90K+ car that lacks the capabilities you can find in a $150 aftermarket stereo head unit. They spend so much time focusing on the exotic features (voice recognition and Internet look-up of metadata), that they overlook the more basic stuff geared to how many drivers actually listen to their music. Why even bother looking up information on the Internet for songs on a USB drive? It's so easy for anyone with a computer to just tag the songs themselves. All the car needs to do is read the metadata tags and be able to use them. Instead, by trying to be fancy, the car now screws things up by pulling the wrong information off the Internet. Conversely, it can't take much time to, say (1) add playlist functionality; (2) add better hierarchical browsing options like both Artist-Album-Song and Album-Artist-Song (maybe even add more top level hierarchies like "Composer" but that would just be a bonus); and (3) add an option to play songs by track order, which is needed when playing an album. Do those three things and you've got a useful USB music interface, and it's hard to imagine that all this couldn't have been done with just a small amount of work.
     
  9. majorlance

    majorlance Member

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    KurtR,

    I agree completely that the there is no excuse for not having traditional playlists supported on the Tesla media player. (I've even written another script that will copy selected playlists from iTunes, leave the genres intact and re-create an m3u format style playlist on a flash drive- if they ever support them!). Album art is another frustrating area for me- all of my songs are tagged with artwork. Even the stereo itself (I have the UHD with a Reas Upgrade) doesn't sound as good as the stock systems on my prior Audio A8 or MB S class.

    All that said, I still love the car. At least we were given shuffle mode back in January so maybe they'll hire a summer intern to add playlists! :)

    If you're flash drive is large enough (I purchased a 256 GB drive off of Amazon for about $90), you could create additional smart playlists in iTunes that were by Genre i.e. a playlist titled Rock and it was set to include any song whose genre was Rock. Another called Jazz, etc.

    Regardless, you will always end up with multiple songs on the flash drive (once per each time it appears in a playlist).

    My approach has been to use two flash drives, one with copies of all of the songs from my Tesla playlist folder, genres intact, a second flash drive that is playlist oriented and uses my script.

    Here is a copy of the scrip that will copy/sync all (no duplicates) songs from your Tesla playlist folder to a flash drive, leaving the genres intact. If you have apple lossless files, it will convert to them to flac but you need to have XLD installed per the instructions in the other thread. (And I should point out that Ra-san also wrote a script that copies all songs in a library to a flash drive, converting lossless to flac- which looks pretty robust. He detailed it in the middle of the Easy iTunes Sync thread referenced earlier in this thread.)

    Dropbox - Just the songs v1.scpt

    Good luck. Let me know if I can help. And maybe these threads will put a little pressure on Tesla engineering to give us playlists and album art!
     
  10. KurtR

    KurtR Member

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    Unfortunately, I avoid iTunes like the plague. Too much spyware/marketingware. I organize and tag my files in Mediamonkey which is perfect for my needs. In fact, the absolutely ideal solution would be for Tesla to just contract out to have the Mediamonkey people do a music interface for the Tesla - maybe a third-party app some day? In the meantime I could probably do the same thing as you by having multiple songs on the same drive but I'd probably need many copies of many of my songs to achieve the same functionality that playlists and better song navigation options would get me.
     
  11. ra-san

    ra-san Member

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    New release of my utility, info posted here Easy iTunes playlist syncing for Tesla USB flash drive - Page 5

    Though you don't need iTunes to use it to keep a destination folder hierarchy up to date with new items from a source folder hierarchy, including conversion from alac to flac, I don't think it'd be useful for you, KurtR. It's still OS X only and doesn't seem likely you'd have any Apple Lossless files anyway. It also doesn't (yet) read m3u playlist files, so the current playlist support is tied to iTunes (but the folder capability is independent).

    Also, in terms of the playlist handling it does do, mine doesn't do the genre remapping (in this release - may add, but will be an option you can turn on or off), but instead makes a new folder per playlist and new copies of the playlist items named to preserve playlist order.

    One of the biggest reasons Majorlance and I (independently) did these utils was because, in addition to automatically updating the destination USB drive with new stuff added to the library, we also had a bunch of Apple Lossless files we wanted to convert over without leaving cruft around the source or destination and without making extra copies if the files were already there. Add to that the name-mangling and extra copies needed to hack around the lack of playlist support in the S, and you end up needing something a little more than just dragging and dropping the source to the destination, or running rsync, etc.

    If you don't care to do playlists in a similar way and don't have any conversions that you want to do every time (but only when needed), then I think there's many options that work well, and all basically just come down to a copy/export and saying no to replacing existing items. If you are in the subset of folks that want the playlists and/or conversions, then hopefully one of the approaches listed in these threads will work for you.
     
  12. majorlance

    majorlance Member

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    If you ever decided to add the genre remapping, I think that would be a real winner (at least for me!). Applescript works well for me but is not as robust with error handling as your application.
     
  13. ra-san

    ra-san Member

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    I expect I will, if I can integrate taglib in to handle the tag editing. I don't want to mess with scripting bridge to get iTunes to do it, and I don't want to change anything in it's library/metadata regardless. I have the code that could easily handle the flac genre setting as well as m4a, and it wouldn't be tough to handle anything Apple's audio libraries support, but the S plays a wider range than that. Taglib looks like it'll handle every format we need, just a matter of getting it integrated and plumbed through the rest of the app. Maybe in a week or so, depending on free time.

    Btw, I originally had problems with networked drives timing out, or the application just pausing on long runs when the computer would go to sleep. Had to add code to disable sleep (and still allow screen sleep) during processing to fix it. I suspect that may be behind some of the issues with the AppleScript too. If so, I bet you could find a way to disable sleep while your script is running too (or just warn people to disable it themselves from system preferences, but hate adding more steps for people).
     
  14. majorlance

    majorlance Member

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    I looked at the taglib library and it seemed to handle everything... Would be a great way to go. And agreed on changing things in iTunes. It's too easy to have an error and leave a genre tagged to the playlist. I did put in the script error handling that would, if triggered, would change the genre back. That has helped. Also changed the most recent version to reset the last modified date to whatever it was before the script changed the genre. Only iTunes won't pick it up until the song plays again. Long way to say that working outside of iTunes makes sense.

    My original intent was to copy the playlists to individual folders named after the playlist (converting to flac as needed for apple lossless) and then run a utility through the command line that renamed the genre to the folder name. But I couldn't find anything out there that did that through a shell command. That's when i ran across taglib. But given my last language where I was really fluent was Turbo Pascal, I opted for the easier approach with iTunes. ;)

    My machine never goes to sleep but I think that Time Machine or other background processes are locking my script occasionally.

    Keep me posted if you decide to add the genre change. Maybe if you do that, Tesla will suddenly support playlists! Timing is everything... :)
     
  15. JimmyAZ

    JimmyAZ Member

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    Spyware and marketingware in iTunes? Are you sure? I've never seen anything like that in mine since its inception. Are you on a Windows machine? Perhaps it's different there. Usually I see marketing and spyware on anything OTHER than Apple software - except for iAds on my phone which I can block pretty easily.
     
  16. KurtR

    KurtR Member

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    Mis-spoke slightly. It's got a bunch of bloatware in it that loads up the computer with stuff that I have no use for, and modifies user registry keys that created conflicts with a lot of other programs, and made my computer a pain to shut down waiting for some Apple background function to shut down (which I'd always have to do manually). Here's an article on how to get rid of it if you want to go through a pretty intensive procedure - The unofficial guide to installing iTunes 10 without bloatware | ZDNet. I only installed it because I got an iPod to load my .wav files (no MP3s) and I don't buy music by downloading it. I also got annoyed with the user-interface and Apple-store pushing. Once I got my music on the iPod I tried to uninstall iTunes, but it left all the nasty stuff.

    Once MediaMonkey enabled synching with iPods all my problems were solved.
     
  17. JimmyAZ

    JimmyAZ Member

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    Oh! I see. That I can definitely see happening. I'm a Mac user so I don't experience that problem. Sorry to hear that it's such a pain to remove. I ended up using Export for iTunes to create a thumb drive for the car just to get shuffle on it.

    Maintaining it with new music is going to be a bit of a pain, but all in all not too bad. Luckily all these issues are software-related and can be fixed with firmware updates!
     

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