Current version: 1.01 (9 february 2008)

This application can generate playlist for RockBox from the Smart Playlists and Normal Playlist in a iPod.

It reads all the Playlists stored in the iPod generated with iTunes, and it let you select which ones you want to make rockbox compatible.
Click the "Generate Playlist for Rockbox" button and it creates a playlist for each one with the same name in *.m3u8 format, so it can be read from rockbox. The playlists created are stored in the "Playlists" folder in the iPod (that folder is created if doesn't exist), because this is the folder that rockbox look when you select to view the Playlist Catalog.

I want to make clear, that actually it doesn't convert the ipod playlist, but makes a copy in *.m3u format and put it in a Playlist folder in your ipod. It doesn't modify in any way the iPod Database or the original playlist.
Because the music files are stored by iTunes in a particular way, the path files in the playlist generated looks like this:


This is not a problem when you are playing the playlist, because rockbox reads the metadata (ID3 tag) of the music files and shows the correct artist and song name. But when you are exploring the playlist content, you aren't able to know the real song names... the only thing you see is:


But that issue have a solution. There is a M3U Extended Format that stores the length of the song and the title and artist name. A description of Extended M3U can be found here.

iPod/iTunes to RockBox Playlist Converter creates the playlists in this extended format, but RockBox still needs to understand the M3U Extended Format and show the names correctly. Fortunately there is a patch made by Xinlu Huang that does exactly that. I hope that that patch be accepted soon and integrated in to the code of RockBox. The patch is FS#7652

Update 5th april 2009: Now you can download custom builds for Rockbox with the patch!!

Download iPod/iTunes to RockBox Playlist Converter
The iPod must be connected before executing the program, because the first thing it does, is to try to detect an iPod connected.
iTunes must be closed and it needs .NET framework 2.0+ to run (can be downloaded from here: .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 1 (x86)).

Hope it can help you and if you use it i'll be glad to receive some feedback. If you want source code just mail me.


1.01 - 9 february 2008
  • this characters : \ / | * ? < > " are not compatible with the filesystem, so now it's replaced by underscore (_) if is present in the playlist filename.
  • Added a link to webpage.
1.0 - 19 december 2007
  • Initial release.


Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the playlist converter! I just used it on XPSP2 and my iPod 4g it worked fine, except for 1 playlist had a ":" character in the playlist title and caused the converter to crash. I removed the ":" and it worked fine. Thanks again!

Victor Cardenas said...

Thanks for the feedback. I made some changes to avoid the problem with some characters in the playlist name... version 1.01 is now released.

Sinister said...

Thank you SOOO much! It worked like a charm! As much as I loved RockBox, it was useless without my already created playlists. And entirely to large to manually recreate. I had no troubles and it converted my lists in the blink of an eye. A thousand Thank Yous!

Unknown Ripple said...

Thank you very much for the playlist generator. Its real timesaver. I have around 80 different playlists and was getting worked up on how to convert them. Thanks once again.

Anonymous said...

In case anyone wants to try it on linux, here's how to get it to run:

sh winetricks dotnet20

After that, it will install and run. I haven't tried it with an ipod, though, so I have no idea if it works.

See for more info about winetricks.

NASA's headless astronauts said...

For those who use Mac OS X or Linux, there's another method for playlist conversion. Basically, it boils down to using Songbird with the Playlist Export Tool to turn the playlists into m3u files and moving those over to your iPod.

Also, I recommend that little rsync command for synchronization; it might look daunting for Terminal newbies, but it works extremely well:

rsync -avW --progress --size-only --delete ~/Music/* /Volumes/IPODNAME/Music/

Then just put a database.ignore file in folders where you otherwise would have "unticked" them in iTunes.

Che` said...

Thanks for the playlist converter! It is awesome, but the problem you mentioned about the track name being garbage is causing me a lot of pain. I tried to install the patch by Xinlu Huang you mentioned in your article but to no avail. Being a non-coder, I sat down and took upon the task of installing cygwin and getting it to work right for me. But the whole day has passed with no solution of the patch working for me :(

If you have a compiled version of that rockbox, can you please upload it somewhere. It would really be the icing on the cake.

Thanks in advance

Victor Cardenas said...

Che`: I tried to apply the patch with the latest Rockbox build, but i't doesn't work because it is not synched. I will try in the next days to sync it with the last build, or in the worst case, apply the patch to a earlier build... by the way, what kind of ipod do you have?

Che` said...

@Victor: I have a 5.5G Ipod Video 30GB. And over these days I have kind of fallen in love with rockbox :P

I have learnt how to get my smart playlists into the database and that pretty much obviates the need to get iTunes playlists.

But it would still be nice to have them...just in case ;)

Whenever you do get around to compiling that build please please please upload it someplace for the benefit of people like me :)

Victor Cardenas said...

Now is available for download custom builds with the pacth for M3U extended playlists.
Rockbox custom builds with EXTM3U patch

rsr said...

Thanks you very much for your converter! It is dead simple to use and very fast. I think the only thing that could be improved upon is if the app could be used directly on the ipod a utility to convert the playlists. Very nice app though...

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it is this program, or the EXTM3U program that came with it, but on my iPod 5.5G Video with RB, only one playlist will play and then the any other playlist that is chosen will glitch up and not play. I need to restart my iPod in order to choose another. Any idea why?

Panda said...

I have a little problem I get a message saying iTunes has locked the iPod database, please wait for iTunes to finish synchronizing. but I don't have iTunes installed... I've no idea how solve this problem..

Panda said...

nevermind I solve it deleting the file called iTunesLock...

Thanks for this great software!!!

Victor Cardenas said...

@Panda: glad you solved it. That problem happens sometimes randomly when you connect your iPod in some computer with iTunes (even if you don't open iTunes). The solution is what you did, or connect your iPod, open iTunes then close it. That deletes the lock file too.
Best regards.

avi to ipod said...

This is just one of the reasons why I keep visiting this blog. I always find very informative and useful posts. Thank you for sharing all helpful information.

Sigge@Tokyo said...

Thank you very much for the great program. It has worked just fine even with two-byte code playlist names; we Japanese use Kanji (Chinese) characters with two-byte code.

This program has just solved a-week-headache to play favorite songs easily with Rockbox as a newbie.


Anonymous said...

Thanks very much great program there!!!!!

Sara said...

I never bought an ipod because i like to chat with my friends and have internet everywhere so i just get a smartphone so i dont have to get whatsapp pc

Paul Tee said...

Hi. I finally filled up my RockBoxed iPod Video but SharePod doesn't see my iTunes (10.7) DB. Tried in diskmode too and with iTunes closed - and I can tell that Sharepod doesn't start until my iPod is detected by Windows. I have a customised iTunes install with all of my music on a separate internal HD (M:\) - where/how does SharePod look for the DB? Thanks

Paul T said...

Ignore that last one - I now realise that it reads the playlists from the iPod - doh! Oh well, it's back to my C# project to include some more fun iPod code. Cheers!