Fixing MediaMonkey playlists in RockBox

Yesterday I tried creating a playlist in MediaMonkey and synchronizing it with my Sansa e280 running RockBox. I never really bothered with trying to sync playlists to my MP3 player before, because syncing, well, anything that's not an iPod using third-party software is a little iffy. Needless to say, my fears were well founded.

While MediaMonkey's syncing feature is nice, I ran into several problems. First, and most obvious, MediaMonkey didn't like the layout of my media directory. You see, I have a main "Music" folder which contains a bunch of artist and album sub-folders, but also a bunch of miscellaneous MP3s at the top-level. MediaMonkey didn't see those MP3s for some reason. After the sync, they just weren't there - I had to copy them over manually.

My other problem was a combination of the playlists themselves, how RockBox on the Sansa works, and where I'm putting my music on the Sansa. A couple of weeks ago, I "upgraded" my Sansa by buying a 16GB microSDHC card for it to complement the 8GB of internal flash storage. This resulted in a change of organization - I now keep all my actual music on the microSD card and put podcasts and other spoken material on the internal storage. Turns out that this messes with MediaMonkey's assumptions about playlists.

There are several issues here. The first is that when MediaMonkey syncs to the microSD card, it sees it as a separate device and creates the playlists accordingly. The result is that the playlists use absolute paths within the microSD card. However, the real absolute path for files on the microSD card starts with the device path, i.e. <microSD1>. So, basically, the paths in the playlist are wrong for RockBox.

The second issue is that the playlists get synced onto the microSD card. This isn't really a problem, just now what I want. I want the files synced to the main RockBox playlist folder on the Sansa's internal storage.

The third issue was with those assorted MP3s in my root "Music" directory. Even though I set the sync path to <Path:2> in MediaMonkey's sync configuration, which should mirror the directory structure on my hard drive, when I ran the sync, the assorted files on my playlist got copied into a "Music" folder on the microSD card. I'm not sure why. But as long as that's the case, I decided to "solve" that problem by just moving the rest of the assorted files there too. They weren't being synced anyway, so why not.

I decided to solve the playlist path and location problems with a simple Powershell script. You can download a copy here. It simply reads your playlists, adjusts the paths, and moves them to the main device storage. The code is below:

$source = "MUSICSD"
$device = "Sansa e280"
$listDir = "Playlists"

function findDriveByLabel {
   $drives = [System.Io.DriveInfo]::GetDrives()
   foreach ($drv in $drives) {
      if ($args[0] -eq $drv.VolumeLabel) {
         return $drv.RootDirectory

$sd = findDriveByLabel $source
$dev = findDriveByLabel $device
$sdDir = [System.Io.Path]::Combine($sd, $listDir)
$devDir = [System.Io.Path]::Combine($dev, $listDir)

$lists = ls $sdDir

foreach ($lst in $lists) {
   $outFile = [System.Io.Path]::Combine($devDir, $lst.Name)
   Get-Content $lst.FullName | ForEach-Object {
      "/<microSD1>" + $_.Replace("\", "/")
   } | Out-File -Encoding utf8 -Width 1000 $outFile
   rm $lst.FullName

$remLists = ls $sdDir
if ($remLists -eq $Null) {
   rmdir $sdDir

So far, this part is working fine. I'm still not 100% happy with the sync experience, though. The missing files is the part that really bugs me. I'll have to do a little experimenting at some point and see if I can make it work. Only problem is that it takes a while to write 16GB of data to the device....

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