Friday, 11 October 2013

Creating an M3U8 Unicode Playlist for Foobar2000

Why would one need Unicode playlists anyway? Well, I download lots of music, and not all of the artists and track names fit into the ASCII character set. There is not too many playlist creation programs out there, and some of the existing ignore folders with non-ASCII names, like this one:

Note the Unicode symbols in the folder's name and MP3 file names

Luckily, the latest version of the highly automated mp3 tagger taghycardia, which I already wrote about previously, comes to help: the version 0.99.3 has an integrated configurable Unicode Playlist Generator. Not only it recursively creates Unicode (.m3u8) playlists for MP3 folder trees, but also offers some useful options.

First, you can limit the number of tracks to include in a playlist from each album. Those could be either the first N tracks of a folder or N tracks chosen randomly from each of the folders.

Second, you can avoid including introductory tracks in playlists. Sometimes, the first track of an album is an "intro" that is intended by an artist to set the mood for what you are about to hear, but when you need to taste several albums quickly, you often don't have time or desire to listen to the prelude tracks. So, taghycardia's Playlist Generator is able to skip track #1 of an album while creating a list whenever the first song is called "Intro" or its duration is shorter than two minutes, which too could indicate it is being an introduction.

Note that in addition to Foobar, m3u8 playlists are supported by Media Player Classic, and a number of other other modern media playing software.

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