MP3s from Windows to Android without bells and whistles
September 12, 2019 1:57 PM   Subscribe

My father has recently got his first (Android) smartphone, and is about to get a car where he can bluetooth the phone to the car. He would like to create driving playlists on his Windows desktop computer (from music files he already has) and transfer them to his phone. He's not terribly tech-savvy and had a serious falling-out with iTunes a couple of updates ago (no issues with using it before that). What are the best software-app combinations for him?

Other details:
- he wouldn't be interested in anything like Spotify or the like. He has his MP3s ripped from his vinyl and those are the tunes he wants.
- phone is one of the mid-range Huawei ones (I don't have the exact spec)
- I can do initial setup, it's more the ongoing creation and moving of playlists that it's important to keep simple.
- I know it's odd, but he'd be comfortable paying money for software on the computer, but not for an app on the phone (but if the best solution is a paid app I can try and work on that).
posted by Vortisaur to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
MediaMonkey should be able to handle the playlists and transfer part. The phone has a standard music player app built in, right?
posted by soelo at 2:09 PM on September 12, 2019

I believe Google Play Music (the free version) will do what he wants. Make playlists on computer, sync to Google Play Music Library, sync on his phone.
posted by damayanti at 2:17 PM on September 12, 2019

"One thing you might enjoy is that Google Play Music, for free, will allow you to upload up to 20,000 (I think?) songs of your own from a sync'd desktop folder. You can then stream them through or the Google Play Music app on Android." This would mean, generally speaking, downloading the MP3s over the data connection continually. So you'll need a data connection and it will use a fair amount of data.

Another solution that I use (though not for this exact purpose) is FolderSync. You can simply set certain folders on your computer/hard drive that will be synced to your mobile phone. So you just create files & playlists however you generally do on a computer, then put them in this special folder (or set of folders, maybe one for each playlist etc) and FolderSync will make the corresponding folders on your phone match them.

This syncing is a thing that is more likely to happen, say, overnight while you're on wifi and plugged in. (You can set up various sync options in FolderSync.) So then you'll have the files & playlists you want on the phone all the time and won't need mobile data per se except for when doing the initial sync.
posted by flug at 2:22 PM on September 12, 2019

To add to flug's point above, he can use his home computer to get the files into Google Play Music, and do all his playlist creation there. There's even a Windows app that will watch+upload files from a folder automatically.

Once they're in Google Play Music, he shouldnt' need to do anything complicated to download them onto his phone - They'll be treated like any other album in Google Play Music in downloaded-only mode. He should be able to download individual albums, or just components of a playlist.
posted by sagc at 2:34 PM on September 12, 2019

Worth checking if the car has a USB port. Mine's inside the arm-rest-box between the front seats. Often they're situated somewhere close to the radio and climate controls. Most that do have such a port will play MP3s and other audio files directly from a USB stick, usually switching the source to USB when you plug it in. If that's the case, I'd suggest skipping the added complexity of bluetooth + getting the MP3s onto the phone. Some cars have an SD slot, which will work just as well.
posted by pipeski at 3:47 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

I use MusicBee for this and sync with a USB cord.
posted by Leontine at 8:18 PM on September 12, 2019

This would mean, generally speaking, downloading the MP3s over the data connection continually. So you'll need a data connection and it will use a fair amount of data.

No, Google Play Music lets you download the contents of playlists to your phone ahead of time, while you have a wifi connection, to save you connection fees when you're out on the road.

As sagc says above, you can set up the playlists on your computer after you've uploaded your music to the Google Music cloud. Then sync the playlists on your phone, then look for the menu item that downloads them to your phone while you're on wifi.
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:49 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Mediamonkey has a free (or paid) desktop version for managing his music, and an Android app that functions as a satellite app to the desktop version - e.g., you can't really use Mediamonkey Android alone.

The paid desktop app will greatly increase the flexibility of his playlists.

The paid version of the Android app probably doesn't have anything he'd want anyway (streaming from his computer, navigate by folder, customize home screen). Well, wi-fi sync is a pro option, but usb sync is unlimited. I do highly recommend the wifi sync. There is a 15-day free trial.
posted by timepiece at 1:06 PM on September 13, 2019

I use Musicolet on my Android phone. It's free, without ads, and will create playlists. Interface is pretty simple. Works with Bluetooth; once you set it up, the phone connects when the car starts, and the music player begins playing. Very simple.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:51 PM on September 13, 2019

While I'm not necessarily recommending Google Play Music, it's what I use, and if he's comfortable with the web interface for managing playlists, then it's pretty simple to set up. (AFAICT, there isn't any other way to create or manage playlists, and I've looked. This means that if he has existing playlists in e.g. M3U format, there isn't a way to import them into Google Play, that I can tell.) Also, keep in mind that Google Play Music has difficulty with playlists larger than 1000 songs if he wants to manually curate his playlists rather than rely on algorithmic playlists. On the app side, you can download playlists manually, force it to only stream or download on WiFi, and there's even a toggle to restrict it to only using music you downloaded.
posted by Aleyn at 5:23 PM on September 13, 2019

« Older Can I have a running clock time in a Google...   |   Sharp mens-style blazer for a plus size "woman" Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.