Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

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amethystzephyr
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2024 1:32 pm

Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

Post by amethystzephyr »

Hi. I have several playlists on the same Thumb Drive. It is my intention to have the songs in the playlists to play as ordered in the playlists. So, I pop the thumb drive in my Honda Fit, and the playlist begins to play. The songs play in the correct order until it gets to a song from an artist that also has a song, or multiple songs, in other playlists. All the songs from that artist that are in other playlists will play sequentially at that point, then it will resume playing the remainder of the songs in that playlist. How do I force the playlist to play only the songs that are in that particular playlist, when multiple playlists are stored on the same thumb drive?
Thanks in advance,

amethystzephyr
Lowlander
Posts: 57017
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

Post by Lowlander »

Check the Playlist files (in any text editor) on the drive. Do they show that the Playlist is incorrect too? If not, it's likely a problem with the car.
amethystzephyr
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2024 1:32 pm

Re: Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

Post by amethystzephyr »

@Lowlander
I used Notepad to view the Playlist Files, and everything appears to be in proper order. So, on the screen on my Honda Fit are a series of four buttons <Folder Folder> <<Track Track>> (Previous Folder, Next Folder, Previous Track, Next Track). Do you, or does anyone here know how I can force my Honda Fit to play the songs in my Playlists to play in the correct order? Surely, I can't be the only person here with this issue who wants to address it.
Once again, thanks in advance,

amethystzephyr
MattTown
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:09 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

Post by MattTown »

Here is a way to organise the files synced to a USB drive so that they will play in the intended sequence in a non-MM player.

I bumped into this problem myself and learned that - in the stock configuration - MMW will organise files on the USB drive in accordance with the file pattern in the function path Media tree > Devices & Services > [yourUsbDrive] > Sync profile > File locations > Music which defaults to (simplified) \Music\<Album Artist>-<Album>\<Track>-<Artist>-<Title>. So tracks from one artist and album all end up in the same (nicely organised) folder, no matter which playlist they are on, and files in any one multi artist/album playlist will be spread over multiple folders.

The MM program, on Windows or Android, knows how to use the playlist to pull the song files out of their individual folders play them in the order that you specified, but it is possible that your Honda Fit media player does not recognise the playlist file (typically in the form "[myplaylist].m3u"), or just ignores it, and so doesn't know to pluck specific songs from specific folders and just plays songs from the folders that it finds.

In my car the integrated media player is a bit dumb and does just play tracks in the order that it finds them. My solution is to have the files written in a simple sequence that the player can recognise. Three steps: 1. adopt a different location pattern ("file mask" in MM lingo) to force synced files into the root folder in playlist sequence, and 2. force MM to adopt that pattern for all files synced to the USB stick in that session, even if they have already been wrtitten to the default artist-album\track-title pattern, and 3. watch out for duplicates. These settings present your car media player with a list of files sorted in playlist sequence, and it should have no difficulty finding them there and playing them in that sequence.
  • The file mask I use is: \<Auto Number:2> - <Artist> - <Album> - <Track #:2> - <Title>. The file mask ensures that the files are located in the root folder of the USB stick, and the filename starts with the playlist number, which because of the ":2" will sort correctly in a folder view even for the single digit playlist numbers (if you have hundreds or thousands of tracks in your playlist you will need to up that number to suit). So your car's media player will see a USB stick with files in the root folder which (for the default alpha file sorting most likely in your cars OS) can only sort in your playlist sequence and so will be played in that sequence.
  • While in the [yourUsbDrive] > sync profile > File Locations screen make sure that you tick the option half way down to "[i]Enforce use of the sync mask for files already on [yourUsbDrive][/i]". That will ensure that all files in the playlist get relocated to that list, especially if they are already resident on the USB in an artist-album folder. Note that if you are syncing a playlist, files that are already on the USB stick but not in the sync list will be left where they are. If you repeat this process you might get duplicates, see next.
  • If you find that you are getting duplicate no1, no2, no3 etc tracks then you will need to go back to the Media tree > Devices & Services > [yourUsbDrive] > Sync list (Library --> Device) screen and tick the option to "Delete other files and playlists from '[yourUsbDrive]' ". Note that this is a global setting and will leave you with nothing on the USB stick except some MM folders and the playlist files, which is fine for me but might not be what you want.
I know that it sounds complex but after you set it up it should work smoothly, at least until you update MMW, when you'll probably have to go back in and re-do the device settings.

Cheers,
Matt
MM 2024.3035 (WEF 7 July 2024, Portable Mode), Gold lifetime license, user since 2009.
Currently 27K files. Library and music files are on a separate partition (E:\) on external USB drive.
Windows Surface Book (Original), i5, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD.
Win10 Home 64 bit, update: 22H2 19045.3570
MMA 2.0.0.1103, Android 13 on Nokia XR20, music files on SD card.
amethystzephyr
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2024 1:32 pm

Re: Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

Post by amethystzephyr »

Matt,
I appreciate the response. This looks very promising, but I must admit that I am having trouble implementing this proposed solution. Please bear in mind that I have very little experience in using Media Monkey. When you say "The file mask I use is: \<Auto Number:2> - <Artist> - <Album> - <Track #:2> - <Title>", you intuitively know how to use the menu to access and change the file mask. I have searched through the available options on the interface of Media Monkey, and I cannot find any means to change the file mask.

I have gone through all the available sub-options of the following options:
File Edit View Play Tools Help, etc...

If you wouldn't mind breaking down your explanation to steps that a novice can sequentially follow using the visible UI, I would be very grateful. Also, I'd like to know if there are any dangers in implementing this solution. Will this potentially break my database? I spent months ripping my music to Media Monkey, and I do not relish the prospect of starting from scratch.
Thank you,

amethystzephyr
Lowlander
Posts: 57017
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

Post by Lowlander »

This refers to the File Location settings in the Device Profile.
Rob_S
Posts: 951
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2021 1:53 pm

Re: Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

Post by Rob_S »

I think, in conclusion, your car plays tracks in displayed order, regardless of any playlists.

So, you can place tracks in folders in filename order by whatever method you know how to use. IE rename tracks by adding numbers in front or have MM do that for you which can be complicated, but rewarding once you set it up.
Using V2024 LATEST alpha or beta build on Windows 11, HP laptop, managing 13k tracks
MattTown
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:09 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

Post by MattTown »

amethystzephyr wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 6:54 am If you wouldn't mind breaking down your explanation to steps that a novice can sequentially follow using the visible UI, I would be very grateful.
Please note that I'm using the latest beta build (see my sig block) and so details of this process might be different if you're using an earlier, non-beta build.

There is a specific process to get to the sync settings - you have to use the Media Tree instead of the Menus:

1. If you've already used the USB stick in MMW and don't have other USB drives plugged in then you can skip this step. But, if this is a new USB stick then it is useful to give it a drive name in Windows. That will make it simple to unambiguously identify the USB stick when you plug it into MMW. MMW distinguishes USB drives by their unique drive identifier (which we don't routinely see in Windows or MM) and then remembers it. If there is no drive name given then MMW uses as the device name the windows drive identifier (eg "D:\") that it first sees for that device id, and if you have lots of USB devices then you can end up with multiple instances of things called "D:\" in MMW. First up, close down MMW if it is already running so that MMW doesn't try to remember a "naked" USB. With MMW closed, plug the drive into your PC, open Windows Explorer (if it doesn't open automatically), right click on the drive identifier to get the Properties pane and then type a name in there, eg "MySyncUSB", and OK outwards. Eject the USB from Windows and plug it back in to ensure that the drive name has stuck.

2. On your MMW machine, get MMW running and showing the Main List (centre) and the Media Tree (the tall narrow panel at left). Plug your USB stick into your MMW machine. Wait for MMW to recognise that a device has been plugged in and add it to the Device list - for some (unknown) reason that can take up to 10s of seconds, but for a blank USB stick should be only several seconds. When the device is recognised you will see a prompt at bottom stating "Connected to MySyncUSB" with a button to CONFIGURE. Clicking on that will take you to the sync settings screen for the USB device. Note that you can also just scroll down the Media Tree to the Devices & Services node to see the device name, and click on that.

3. You will now see the screens that show in Lowlander's reference to File Location Settings, where the main list is replaced by an open-tabbed dialog box, with the tabs being Summary, ... , Sync Profile.

4. As per the reference you use the second tab (Sync list (Library --> Device) to select what to send from MMW to the USB stick, plus also at the bottom is the option to "Delete other files ..." that I mentioned above. I usually sync one playlist at a time, but all of the other sync content options are there for you.

4. The next tab Sync List (Device --> Library) can be used to return new files collected onto the USB stick to the library, but I don't do that so can't advise in detail. What is crucial for me is the option at bottom to "Auto-Sync file metatdata from the device to the PC" which ensures that ratings and play counts updated via use in the USB stick get sent back to the library. If you don't want that update, turn the option off.

5. The bit you're really looking for is in the last tab Sync profile. This looks simple but is actually a three-tier options interface. To get to the specific page for setting file mask, click on the File Locations option second from top at left, then look to the line of file mask code next to (I'm assuming) Music. You can directly edit the file mask code on that line or click on the CONFIGURE button to get to a simple editor with will offer you the code strings. It might be better to use the editor in the first instance because the code strings are very literal and it is easy to make hard-to-find typos (eg the required space between Track and #). A syntax error will generally have the code string added to the filename as text rather than a field value.

6. Lastly, allow MMW to close down the USB stick before unplugging it. I once had done such a sync to USB and pulled out the USB stick straight away. When I put it into Windows it would not open up and i had to stick it back into MMW and close it down there. So, once the sync has finished, right click on MySyncUSB under Media tree > Devices & Services and select Safely remove device. It shouldn't take more than a few seconds, and you are free to remove the USB stick when it disappears from Devices & Services.

amethystzephyr wrote: Sat May 11, 2024 6:54 am Also, I'd like to know if there are any dangers in implementing this solution. Will this potentially break my database? I spent months ripping my music to Media Monkey, and I do not relish the prospect of starting from scratch.
No, you won't break the database. I have used MM for more than a decade, mostly in its beta form, and it has always done a great job of protecting my data. Yes the user interface is not consistent and has its own flaws, but the core engine is solid.

You might have spotted that the Organise function uses the same syntax for its file masks. And yes, if you select your entire library and mangle your file mask and then invoke Organise then your filenames will be mush and you will be sad. But an intelligent users wouldn't do that. The sync stuff we're talking about above will ONLY affect what happens with that specific device that you plug in. As indicated by RobS, once you master the file mask patterns and get confident with using them appropriately, Organise and Sync Profile will be your friends.

I do suggest though that you take full advantage of Windows File History and MM's own Database Backup options (Menu > File > Manage Database > Scheduled Backup) because even perfect coding (a state for which the MM devs are still striving) is subject to the vagaries of cosmic rays.

Cheers
Matt
MM 2024.3035 (WEF 7 July 2024, Portable Mode), Gold lifetime license, user since 2009.
Currently 27K files. Library and music files are on a separate partition (E:\) on external USB drive.
Windows Surface Book (Original), i5, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD.
Win10 Home 64 bit, update: 22H2 19045.3570
MMA 2.0.0.1103, Android 13 on Nokia XR20, music files on SD card.
amethystzephyr
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2024 1:32 pm

Re: Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

Post by amethystzephyr »

Matt,
Thanks for your response. If you don't mind, may we get just a bit more granular here?
I've gone through the steps you've outlined here, and I'm looking at the following (I hope I'm in the right place):
Destination:

Main Directory: |\Music\ |

Subdirectories: |<Album Artist> - <Album> |

Filenames: |<Track #: 2> $Left(Artist,20) - <Title> |

Sample: | .\ |
| \Music |
| \,etc... |
_________________________________________________

Shall I type "\<Auto Number:2> - <Artist> - <Album> - <Track #:2> - <Title>" after |\Music\ in the Main Directory?
Or in the Subdirectories, Filenames, or Sample Field?
I appreciate your patience and diligence!
Thank you,

amethystzephyr

(This did not format at all like I wanted. It conformed much more accurately to what was shown on the screen)
MattTown
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:09 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Force Playlist to Play Songs in Correct Order

Post by MattTown »

See this pic of my Organise file mask:

Image

Terminology note: "directory" and "folder" are used interchangeably and to my mind mean the same thing.

In your mask example I've removed the pipe symbols ("|") because they're not helping:
amethystzephyr wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 2:40 pm
Main Directory: \Music\

Subdirectories: <Album Artist> - <Album>

Filenames: <Track #: 2> $Left(Artist,20) - <Title>

Sample: .\
\Music
\,etc...
The way you're using the Main Directory, Subdirectories and Filenames fields is nearly correct, except:
  • no space before the character count for Track #, and
  • I am not sure about the leading folder character ("\") before "Music".
In my example I have an absolute file path for the main folder which has no leading folder character; Lowlander and others could advise about whether the Windows library "Music" needs a leading folder character or not.

In your case, it looks like the leading "\" has caused MMW to look for a "Music" folder in the current folder (".\" being Windows folder syntax for "current folder"). I do not know how MMW determines what the "current folder" is for the purpose of Organise; I expect that it would be the folder that the file itself resides in, which you probably don't want. Note that if MMW didn't find a Music folder, it would create one. I strongly suggest that you use the BROWSE option to find the folder you want to start from and then MMW will interpret that correctly for you.
amethystzephyr wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 2:40 pm Shall I type "\<Auto Number:2> - <Artist> - <Album> - <Track #:2> - <Title>" after |\Music\ in the Main Directory?
Or in the Subdirectories, Filenames,
To answer your question, the filename mask that you've got goes into the Filenames: field. The Main Directory: and Subdirectories: fields only get the information necessary to form those path elements.
amethystzephyr wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 2:40 pm Shall I type ... in the ... Sample Field?
No, you cannot type in the Sample: field. It is there solely to show you the expected result of your pattern. If you select a file already in the library before invoking Organise then the Sample: field you will see your mask applied to the current file, and that can show you whether you're going to get the result you want.
amethystzephyr wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 2:40 pm This did not format at all like I wanted. It conformed much more accurately to what was shown on the screen.
I'm assuming that you were trying to use the pipe symbols "|" to indicate field names. I can see what you intended when quoting your original, but the bulletin board technology underlying this forum is from the last century, and the programming from then seems to regard repeated spaces as a waste of precious computation and communications bandwidth and so doesn't display them. You can either :
  • just use the field names and we'll work it out from there, or
  • read up on the "Attaching Screenshots" guidance in the post at the top of the MMW Help forum, which will take you step by step through the process of getting your images into your posts.
Cheers
Matt
MM 2024.3035 (WEF 7 July 2024, Portable Mode), Gold lifetime license, user since 2009.
Currently 27K files. Library and music files are on a separate partition (E:\) on external USB drive.
Windows Surface Book (Original), i5, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD.
Win10 Home 64 bit, update: 22H2 19045.3570
MMA 2.0.0.1103, Android 13 on Nokia XR20, music files on SD card.
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