11 Replies Latest reply: Feb 9, 2009 11:13 AM by thbtty
quantamos Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Summary:
I want to use one of my USB thumb drives as a music library that can work on my car's audio system. What is the easiest way to do this?

Background:
My brand new car stereo can play music off of an iPod. This is convenient, but I don't want to just leave my ipod touch in my car. My car stereo can also play music right off of a USB thumbdrive. So is there a way to sync all my play lists on my USB drive? This way I can just leave it in my car and not worry about theft, my ipod melting in the sun, etc.

I don't think iTunes can do this, so maybe there's a script somewhere? It will have to prune out the m4p files since obviously I can't authorize my car stereo to play them... (grrr DRM...)

Considered Solutions:
1) Obviously, I can just copy files over manually, and write a perl script to remove .m4p files. But I'd like to get playlists...
2) I could get the 32 gb USB drive I saw, which can hold all my stuff, but then that's too much data to browse while driving my car.
3) I could manually export each playlist, and write my script to parse and copy those files... but that would still require me to manually export the playlists (so it's not automatic).
4) I could just try to remember to bring my ipod with me whenever i go somewhere, but i'd rather just leave a usb stick in my car. Then there's nothing to worry about, and nothing to forget.
5) I could plug in my ipod, and see if there's a way to access it's file system and then just mirror the usb drive off of the ipod... but i looks like the ipod is hidden in the file directory.
6) If any Apple people see this, I'd appreciate them thinking about allowing iTunes to treat a USB drive as a limited iPod.

Macbook, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • 1. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    quantamos Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Continuing my search, I found this:
    http://www.ericdaugherty.com/dev/itunesexport/
    which might do what I'm looking for, but that's Windows software, so it won't work for me.
  • 2. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (38,475 points)
    I make a playlist, select all and then drag it over to an empty folder on my drive. It copies all the files in the playlist. I think this may be the closest you'll get to synching.

    6) If any Apple people see this,

    Unlikely since this is mostly an end-user to end-user forum. There's other ways in the feedback contact route to send suggestions.

    I'd appreciate them thinking about allowing iTunes to treat a USB drive as a limited iPod.

    What? And have people buy $10 thumb drives instead of the new ipods?
  • 3. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    quantamos Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Ok, I had tried to copy-paste playlists, but that only works if you select the songs, not the playlist itself. Thanks for clearing that up, but I'll still have to write a script to remove the m4p files and clean up the song titles...


    And why would I buy a 2 gb shuffle for 70$ or a 8 gb nano for 150$, when I can buy a 32gb USB drive at Frys for 40$? I hope Apple comes to see these as separate markets... But I guess if Apple accommodates my request, they're opening the door to 3rd party mp3 players too. Although, if I got a cheap ipod, then i wouldn't have to worry about the m4p files...
  • 4. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    quantamos Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Apple's removal of DRM solves much of the issue. I'd still like to sync, but we'll just have to see if Apple adds this to itunes.
  • 5. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    Jonezeee Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I have the same issue. I have not had a problem copying album folders to the thumb drive from the itunes library but the problem I have is that most of my files are not in the mp3 format but in lossless or AAC.
    I have been selecting the tunes I want and, after changing my import settings to high level mp3, selecting "create MP3 version" under the advanced menu. The issue is not wanting to duplicate my library. If I were to burn that selection of non-MP3 files to a CD specifying a MP3 disk I don't get the duplicates. Burning the disks and then copying the files from there to the stick works but you have to put in the album folders manually and that is a lot of disks to burn for an 8G stick. I tried using DVD's but you can only burn a data disk in that format and no MP3 conversion.
    A lot of new cars come with the USB option and the usb flash drives are cheap. There will be a rapidly increasing number of people looking to get a playlist to MP3 format onto flash drives. Apple needs to give us a tweak here.
  • 6. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    quantamos Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    It seems to be implied by your message, but just to be clear, your car stereo doesn't play ACC? My newly purchased system can, and I assume it will be the way to go...

    You can't select multiple files and convert them all at once, in place? I don't think there's a way to get around the duplicated library aspect since you really do have a use for both file formats.
  • 7. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    Jonezeee Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    My new vehicle seems to ignore any format I threw at it other than mp3. Probably likes wma but I don't have any files of that type.

    I can and do select multiples for conversion. I usually select an artist and convert all the selected songs. I then create a folder on the thumb drive with the artist's name and after sorting the selection as to file type, drag selected mp3 tunes from iTunes to the folder in the finder.

    I was just looking for a way to do the conversion without having to manage two copies of everything after that is done. I could delete the files when I think I am done copying them, I suppose.

    Having two copies makes rating tunes and using that assessment in smart playlists more trouble for example. I have over 15000 items in the library so adding multiples just makes working with playlists etc more time consuming.
  • 8. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    quantamos Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I think you were right before: Apple needs to give us a tweak.

    In the meantime... you're going to want a script. This one might be good enough for you for now:
    http://dougscripts.com/itunes/scripts/ss.php?sp=quickconvert

    There are tons of other scripts available too. Please post here what you end up deciding to do.
  • 9. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    thbtty Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    This is exactly what I'm looking for, too -- sync.

    I have a Sony CDX-GT630UI with a front-facing USB slot. I'd love to use my USB key instead of my iPod (mainly because having an iPod dangling from the front of the stereo is unsightly and annoying), but the Sony deck only reads up to 128 directories... which is absurd in this age of 64GB flash drives.

    If iTunes could treat the flash drive like an iPod, maybe I could fool the Sony deck into thinking it was an iPod.

    Oh, and a note to Apple: I already have 3 iPods, and I'm not about to buy another one just for my car.

    Like another poster here alluded to, maybe it's another market Apple can get into.
  • 10. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    gil perry Level 1 Level 1 (85 points)
    thbt,if the radio only reconizes 128 directories does this mean no mater how many songs are on the drive it will only play 128 and stop?
  • 11. Re: Sync USB thumb drive as if iPod?
    thbtty Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    That's pretty much the case. When you navigate through the file structure, it will only show the first 128 directories (even if they're nested) and no more.

    I believe there's also a 500 song limit per directory, so theoretically you could hold 64,000 songs, but I don't know anyone who would put 500 songs in a single folder.