Ford SYNC unable to read playlist.

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DannoPA
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Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:42 am

Ford SYNC unable to read playlist.

Post by DannoPA » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:40 pm

Problem: Playlists exported to USB Flash are not readable by my 2010 Mercury Mariner. Songs play, artists, tracks and genre all can be recognized by name but SYNC is unable to decipher the playlist.

Purpose of post: I don't need help but if you are reading this you probably do. I want to share with you what I have learned.

Introduction: MM exports of songs and playlists are apparently perfect. The problem lies in the Microsoft SYNC software. In 2010, SYNC was the most advanced version of software for the purpose but as time progresses, so does the state of the art. With the additional flexibility provided by new "improvements" in the m3u format comes increased complexity making playlist compatibility on a USB drive for use with SYNC increasingly problematic. I have spent more than a few days looking for a solution to my problem but only encountered others with the same problem but no solution. Further, those with the problem seemed to have limited proficiency with computers. If you fall into that category don't worry. No one is proficient at everything. Hence, the reason for this post.

Pertinent hardware & software inventory: MediaMonkey version 4.1.23.1881; 2010 Mercury Mariner with Ford SYNC. If you have a later version of SYNC and don't mind giving up some features, this may also work for you. I presume SYNC is backwards compatible.

Here's how to make it work, at least in my case.

Step 1: Assemble your media library and your playlists in MM. In this step we are only interested in making MM work. If you want to test the procedure before continuing, feel free. If syncing is configured, MM will update the USB the next time you mount the USB drive on your computer.

Step 2: Insert the USB drive into a USB slot. In MM's media tree select the mounted USB the drive. Select Auto-Sync (-->Device) from the tabs in the row just above the window and select the play lists you wish to synchronize on the USB drive.

Step 3: Select options in that same row above the window. Make sure only the following check boxes are selected: sync play lists, artists, albums, playlist format = M3U, force relative paths, use Unicode (UTF-8 encoding).

Open the "set formats" option in the play list format area and insure nothing is checked in that box. Then save it.

The Destination Directory: should be set to \Playlists\
Playlists are located at [USB Drive Letter]:\Playlists\[Playlistname].m3u
Example: F:\Playlists\MyPlaylist.m3u

Step 4: Sync the drive.

After MediaMonkey is through syncing playlists, you should be able to open a playlist on the drive using Notepad.exe or some other text (i.e. flat file) editor and see some entries in a format similar to the following:

..\Music\Unknown - Unknown\00 Glenn Miller - String Of Pearls.mp3

The playlists are fundamentally a list of track locations, complete with "relative" paths followed by a filename. I call them relative because they are only relative to whatever drive letter SYNC decides to assign the drive at the time. This is shown by the ".." at the head of the line. That ".." translates to the name of the parent folder, relative to the current folder (\Playlists). Just a guess but the ".." would not logically be needed if the playlists were moved to the root directory of the drive. Again, just a guess.

As far as I have been able to discern, the only important thing to look for is the "..\" at the very beginning of the line and to make sure the playlists exist in the "\Playlists" directory. If it isn't there, the playlist won't work.
If you see a Drive letter anywhere in the line, the playlist won't work.
If the line starts with a \, the playlist won't work from the "\Playlists" directory.

If you see playlists with the following format you are making an extended m3u playlist and this version of SYNC can't handle them:

#EXTM3U
#EXTINF:459,Benny Goodman - Sing Sing Sing

After several days of fiddling around with this, this is the best I can offer. Good Luck. If you can make further technical contributions please do so.

If you have a contribution for a version of SYNC other than the original, perhaps you should start a new thread.