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New 'Add Shuffled' mode for Playlists


Si64
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Thank you @maxmp for the addition of the 'add shuffled' to playlists / queues feature.

Could I just check an issue?  If the feature works by Shuffled mode mixes items randomly with the existing items, preferable after the currently played track, then it doesn't seem to work as expected, in that I have found that if the currently playing track is, for example, Whitesnake, then tracks are added after 'W' in artist alphabetical order in the playlist / queue, therefore not truly shuffled among the complete list.

It's quite possible that I am doing something wrong, as Queues seem to work differently to Playlists, but it would be good if tracks to be added shuffled are added and shuffled after the currently playing track, by track position, rather than by any alphabetical order.

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@Si64 '>>Queue (shuffled)' definitely inserts the shuffled items after the currently playing (or most recently played) song in the Queue - otherwise the new songs would never get heard.

Using '+Playlist (shuffled)' behaves in much the same way, so if a Playlist is currently being played (even if it is paused) then the new items will be shuffled randomly throughout the remaining (i.e. unplayed) portion of the Playlist. If the Playlist is not currently playing, the new songs will be shuffled randomly throughout the entire Playlist.

Note: There is currently a slight known bug in that if the queue is initially empty (or you are creating a brand new playlist) the added songs are not shuffled correctly.

Andre

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Posted (edited)

@andrewilleyThanks for that.  Is there a difference in the way a shuffled Queue works, to a shuffled Playlist?  When a playlist is shuffled, the track position seems to run in number order, ie, 1,2,3,4, etc, but when a Queue is shuffled, the track position displayed seems to be random, like apps that shuffle randomly 'on the fly' (which leads to repeats), if you see what I mean?

I'll have another play, but when I tried it with a couple of smaller playlists (>100 tracks), there seemed to be a long stretch before the newly merged tracks started to appear, when merged into an already running playlist.  

Also, with the bug you mentioned, does that mean when a new shuffle playlist is created, these need to be shuffled again before adding more tracks to them?

Sorry for all the questions.  I've been hoping for this feature for years, and now it's here, I'm trying to get my head around it, but I'm probably over thinking it.  👀

 

Edited by Si64
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@Si64 Using the new shuffle option in either '+Playlist' or '>>Queue' should behave in much the same way.

When adding shuffled songs to a partially played queue, the new songs will be shuffled and then inserted into random positions after the most-recently-played song in the Queue (otherwise some would never be heard).

The same basic logic applies to a Playlist that is currently playing (including if it is paused)., However if the Playlist is not currently in use, the new shuffled songs will be inserted at random locations throughout the whole list. This could mean that the first insertion is quite a way into the existing list, or it may be the first song, that's just the nature of randomness.

And yes, the bug I mentioned means you currently will need to re-shuffle a Playlist that you just created from scratch, or the Queue if it was previously empty, using the Re-sort menu for that Playlist/Queue. This is a known issue and will be fixed in a forthcoming beta release.

Andre

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@andrewilley- thank you.  I will have a further play.  I'm just trying to decide whether it would work best to first create a Queue from a Playlist, or to play the Playlist direct.  First world problems, eh?  🙂

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I don't tend to create Playlists directly in PA.  My main ones go back years and are imported from the system library.  I assume that doesn't make any difference?

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13 hours ago, Si64 said:

I don't tend to create Playlists directly in PA.  My main ones go back years and are imported from the system library.  I assume that doesn't make any difference?

Not really, other than where they are stored.

Internally-created playlists (including ones that were originally imported from the system library) are held in a local Poweramp database in your device, without any physical backup copies. File-based playlists on the other hand are loaded from storage files (e.g. M3U) and when you make a change it is written back into that physical file so is a bit more permanent and easier to copy for use on other devices/etc. If you only use internal playlists, making backup copies - either to files, or using PA's Export Settings/Data feature - is a good idea for longer-term safety.

But as far as general use is concerned, they both behave in much the same way. The Queue is different in that it is transient, and will automatically play as a temporarily list of songs until it is finished and then regular playback will resume wherever you last left off.

Andre

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@andrewilley - thanks for that.  Yes, I have several backups of my playlists in other music players on the device.  It's a bit more complex than it used to be, as now many music apps have their own playlists, updating one means updating them all indiviually.  I'm sure there's an easier way, but it's what I've got used to now.

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@Si64 That is of course one major difference between internal and file-based lists. If you create and manipulate your playlists internally within an app, they will generally be local and only available to that app (e.g. Poweramp). Whereas if you work with external file-based lists - such as M3U files - you can use and edit them anywhere you like, even in text editor if you want as they are plain text files.

There is one caveat to that though, which is that M3U files can be either absolute or relative. Absolute means the exact path to find the audio file is saved in the file, while Relative means only the subfolders from where the Playlist is saved are used. Relative makes the files rather more portable (e.g. between PCs and phones). PA has a trick it uses when reading full paths created on other sources though; it basically throws away any device-specific path information (such as a PC's "C:\Users\name\Music\" or an Android SD Card's "ABCD-1234/Music/" and only tries to match the extract filename and the first-level of folder that it is stored in. But when it writes absolute paths back out again, it includes the Android path details which will be fine for other apps on the same device, but might be difficult for a PC to understand unless the program has some fancy fuzzy logic like Poweramp.

I'm going to split this out into its own discussion thread as it's getting way off-topic for a build-release thread.

Andre

 

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I assume by "external file-based lists - such as M3U files", you mean any pre-existing M3U playlist?  So, if for example I create a playlist in Samsung's own music app, then export that playlist to internal storage, it would then become an "external file-based list", which can be imported into PA or other music players?

One of the issues is that Android keeps changing the location of system playlists, and some music apps need to be told where they are.

I've also been trying to find a way to copy an Android based playlist into iTunes, but have so far been unsuccessful.  I can copy a playlist to a text file, then change the file paths to the iTunes library, but it will either not work at all, or will import the playlist but not all the tracks are included.  

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Yes M3U files can be pre-existing, or you can export your current Poweramp internal playlists out to physical files (normally as .M3U8 for better extended filename handling, but same thing otherwise) using the Export feature in the Library=>Playlists menu.

iTunes is a law unto itself (Apple stuff always is) but I think it can handle M3U files. I'm afraid I never use it, so I don't know the details. 

Andre

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I only use iTunes as a reference library for my PC, but I don't use any Apple devices.  It would just be good to be able to sync my playlists, but I guess there's no real need as they can be backed up as text files anyway.  

Thanks.  🙂

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49 minutes ago, Si64 said:

I've also been trying to find a way to copy an Android based playlist into iTunes, but have so far been unsuccessful.  I can copy a playlist to a text file, then change the file paths to the iTunes library, but it will either not work at all, or will import the playlist but not all the tracks are included. 

iTunes can import standard m3u playlists. But unlike Poweramp, it requires a proper Absolute reference including the full path and directory structure. You can use any standard text editor to make a quick change here before you import it. Wordpad works fine since you are on a PC. Use the Replace feature under edit, and change the core path for the current one to reflect the library directory that iTunes is looking at. Be sure to use the correct slash character as well, Windows uses the opposite of Android. 

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46 minutes ago, MotleyG said:

iTunes can import standard m3u playlists. But unlike Poweramp, it requires a proper Absolute reference including the full path and directory structure. You can use any standard text editor to make a quick change here before you import it. Wordpad works fine since you are on a PC. Use the Replace feature under edit, and change the core path for the current one to reflect the library directory that iTunes is looking at. Be sure to use the correct slash character as well, Windows uses the opposite of Android. 

Thanks, yeah, I have done that, but still a good number of tracks were missing in the imported iTunes playlist.  I'll try it again on a smaller scale.  Trying to manage a playlist of over 3000 tracks might have been a little ambitious.  😄

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I seem to recall there was also an issue with certain characters in file names such as track titles.  You can't have a forward slash as part of a file name in Windows, so I think any tracks with slashes in the titles (such as Intro / Track One) in the playlist text file, didn't match up with those tracks in the iTunes library in Windows.

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Just now, Si64 said:

I seem to recall there was also an issue with certain characters in file names such as track titles.  You can't have a forward slash as part of a file name in Windows, so I think any tracks with slashes in the titles (such as Intro / Track One) in the playlist text file, didn't match up with those tracks in the iTunes library in Windows.

That is correct, the file name has to be identical or the song is skipped. Any non-Unicode or illegal filename characters are replaced by a space in iTunes.

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It always gets fun (OK, not so much...) when you try to use the same playlist content across multiple devices. An M3U (or M3U8, which is the same but is Unicode instead of ASCII so it supports more special characters) file at its simplest just contains a series of lines of text, each giving a path that links directly to an audio file. The problem is that these absolute paths probably only exist on that machine.
 

For example on my PC I might have a three-song playlist:

C:\Users\MyUsername\Music\Andre's MP3 Files\Artists\ABBA\Arrival\Dancing Queen.mp3
C:\Users\MyUsername\Music\Andre's MP3 Files\Artists\Blondie\Parallel Lines\Sunday Girl.mp3
C:\Users\MyUsername\Music\Andre's MP3 Files\Artists\Duran Duran\Rio\Hungry Like the Wolf.mp3

Poweramp is actually quite ingenious in the way it handles that sort of content, in that it ignores all the PC-only stuff like "C:\etc", and it can cope with either "/" or "\" for path separators. It will simply look for matches which fit this pattern:

A file called Dancing Queen.mp3 in a folder called Arrival
A file called Sunday Girl.mp3 in a folder called Parallel Lines
A file called Hungry Like the Wolf.mp3 in a folder called Rio

However the same thing re-saved from Poweramp, which then uses the phone's Android file system, might look like this - which a PC program is probably not going to understand if you copy it back again:

DOD8-86GE/Audio Files/Artists/ABBA/Arrival/Dancing Queen.mp3
DOD8-86GE/Audio Files/Artists/Blondie/Parallel Lines/Sunday Girl.mp3
DOD8-86GE/Audio Files/Artists/Duran Duran/Rio/Hungry Like the Wolf.mp3

 

For what it's worth, what I mostly do is manage my playlists on my PC (using music players or even a basic text editor) and create PC-style M3U files like the top example. Then I copy those files to my phone (you could sync them somehow if you wish, I generally just do it manually when I make any changes). I said above, Poweramp will then hopefully work it out.

There is a way to make bi-directional copying probably work, which is to create relative path playlists (i.e. basically without the C:\Users\MyUsername\etc stuff) and then re-save them from within Poweramp (which can now re-save using relative paths) but that brings its own set of complications such as the need for the playlist files to remain in the same relative subfolder locations on both systems.

Andre

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21 minutes ago, Si64 said:

You can't have a forward slash as part of a file name in Windows, 

Correct, you should never use either type of slash/oblique stoke character in any filename, nor any of other special reserved characters like double-quotes, *, ?, etc. They are all fine embedded in tag data for Titles, Albums etc, just not in the storage filenames.

If you really want to use a slash in a filename (but it's a pointless hassle, tags are more suited for that) you could get really creative and use Unicode characters which look visually similar to slashes (which is known as 'Solidus' in Unicode). e.g:

U+002F /  SOLIDUS
U+2044 ⁄  FRACTION SLASH
U+2215 ∕  DIVISION SLASH
U+2571 ╱  BOX DRAWINGS LIGHT DIAGONAL UPPER RIGHT TO LOWER LEFT
U+29F8 ⧸  BIG SOLIDUS
U+FF0F /  FULLWIDTH SOLIDUS (fullwidth version of solidus)
U+1F67C 🙼  VERY HEAVY SOLIDUS

But really, what's the point for filenames?

Andre

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Agree with the above.  It's probably more trouble than it's worth.  I'd have just liked to have a duplicate playlist in iTunes, which I could then have kept manually updating once it was created.  

I used to have one, many moons ago when I had an iPhone 4S, but since I moved to Android I let the iTunes playlist lapse and now it's going to be a job to recreate it.

I guess there's better things to be doing anyway.  😄

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