Step 6: Create the Playlist, Export and Order the Songs

The objective is simple
  1. Make a playlist
  2. Export it as MP3 files, on the computer
  3. Copy the MP3 files onto the USB flash drive

It seems easy, but there are some unexpected pitfalls... Here are some tips.


There are many many ways of creating MP3 mixes these days. Usually you use your computer's music player; most players offer export features. Although not an Apple fan-boy, I'm using iTunes.



I purchased very few songs on iTunes, protected by DRM. I soon realized it sucks (cannot play MY purchased music on MY other computers). I solved this by burning them (as WAV) to a CD (a CD-RW is great for that) and re-importing them.

MP3 export:

Given the capacity of the USB flash drive and the number of songs you want, lossless format will take too much space, so MP3 is the way to go. The quality loss (if you can notice it) shall remind us that, in the cassettes era, "lossless" was hopeless.

I didn't quickly find a player able to export in other formats, and it was a bit late at night to play around with the command line (mplayer/gstreamer), so I found TuneClone which works great together with iTunes. TuneClone pretends to be a CD writer; it intercepts track writings from iTunes, converts them and orders them into a directory of your choice.

Songs ordering:

I wanted the songs to be playable sequentially (like a cassette) to match the playlist, and importable hierarchically, with artist and album names. So I exported the songs twice:

- all songs in one directory, each song prefixed by a sequence number;
- in a hierarchy by artist / album / song.

File names:

Also some players may put "dangerous" characters (from the album/song names) into directory or file names, like quotes, column, semi-column, parenthesis brackets,... It's usually a good idea to remove these characters.

They may also (especially for classical music) produce extremely long names (containing the composer name, conductor, orchestra, soloists, album, movement, tempo, etc.). It's a good idea to shorten them and keep only the essential information.

Kinda bad of you to use such a high quality tape though. There's lots of garbage quality tapes, and you went with a MA-X...
Kinda amazing that people can distinguish those tapes nowadays... ;-)<br> <br> Now that I have no more cassette player, what (else) should I do with the tape?
You can keep the tape reels in to make it look more realistic.
That's what I did! Just winded it up to the appropriate out of the way portion, get a tooth pick with a speck of glue, and BAM!
Gave one to my friend, their Walkman and ticket, she said,&quot;This is pretty kool; I might as well kick it.&quot; :) No, not really! Fresh Prince was my favorite. It's really weird to be 15 and nostalgic.
great !
Now,what to do with those old 8tracks. :) Am I giving my age away?
haha i like it! when i was a lot younger cassette tapes were still all the rage, (this was either before or just after cd players stepped onto the scene, 1999-ish) and i had a old cassette stereo, i still have the mixtapes from back then, but my taste in music haas certainly changed since then..<br><br>as i was reading your walkman comment i got an idea for a possible version 2:<br>have the usb plug capable of plugging into a walkman modified to have a usb connection inside for the flash tape, then give that to your friend as well, in my opinion, it would add that extra little touch to the perfect gift.<br><br>the one thing i can still remember about tapes though, there was no skipping when you hit a bump in the road...
and no scratches that caused half the music not to play or whatnot.<br>And don't forget rewritable with no DRM. if you didn't like the band, a strong magnet and it was all over.
Good project! Better idea!<br><br>I will make same project for me :D<br><br>Thanks for sharing!
Good one!
So clever! Great idea.
Is it weird to have a crush on an Instructable?
Not at all!
I agree!
I'd love such a present!! Great idea:)!
Thanks for sharing your hard work! Nice ible!
This looks great! I often create mix CDs for gifts, I think I'll give this a try next time.
Very clever!
I want to <a href="http://vo-world.ru"><font color="black">own</font></a> a gadget
lol!Cool ible!

About This Instructable




Bio: So many things to learn and make, so little time! I like things that are cool, useful, efficient, well crafted. Subscribe to me! If I ... More »
More by laxap:Stylish Concrete Phone Stands Easy Stylish Concrete Phone Stand Retrofit a LED Ring to a Stereo Microscope 
Add instructable to: