Syncing between Motorola Droid and Banshee or Rhythmbox in Ubuntu

I like to download those cheap albums on AmazonMP3 that are like “The 99 Darkest Classical Pieces” or whatever. The AmazonMP3 download, however, puts these mp3s in folders according to the artist instead of Various Artists or by album name. Because the Droid’s music player reads music based on the folder structure and not on the id3 tags, this means I have about 30 or 40 different entries for the same album. It’s annoying, to say the least.

I recently decided to use Rhythmbox to pull all of the music from the Droid and then copy it back over to see if it would automatically put the mp3s in the correct folders. To my surprise, Rhythmbox didn’t even notice the Droid as a music device.

To fix this, I had to add a file named .is_audio_player to the root of the Droid. In this file, I set some values for the location of music and videos, folder search depth, and mime types to scan for. The contents of the folder are:

audio_folders=data/Audio,amazonmp3/,media/,DCIM/
folder_depth=99
output_formats=application/ogg,audio/x-ms-wma,audio/mpeg,video/mp4,audio/x-aac,audio/aac,video/H263,video/H264,video/x-ms-wmv,audio/x-wav,audio/x-realaudio,audio/x-flac,audio/x-wavpack,audio/aacp,audio/x-musepack,audio/amr,audio/midi

The first option, audio_folders, tells Rhythmbox where I plan to pull media from. I’ve set a high folder depth just to be safe, and I added all of the mime types listed on the specs for the Droid on motorola.com.

Unfortunately, copying files through Rhythmbox didn’t put the albums in the correct folder structure. So, I installed Banshee. For whatever reason, Banshee didn’t immediately pick up the device as a media device. I closed/opened the application twice and it appeared. Banshee is a lot more like iTunes in that you can modify the id3 tags and there seem to be a lot more extensions. My distro of choice for the longest time was OpenSuSE, so I’m more familiar with Banshee than Rhythmbox. Luckily, this preference lead me to the results I wanted.

Just to be safe, I bulked modified the compilation artist tag for each of these albums and made sure the album title was correct (oddly, the Sweeney Todd soundtrack (which was purchased through iTunes) listed a different compilation artist for track 1 than for the rest of the album).

After copying the albums back to the Droid, they’re in a centralized location *and* the folder structure is setup properly.

The only issue with the Droid picking up these changes is that you’ll need to rescan the SD card for music. I’ve read that you can do this with an app in the market called SDrescan. I just went to the application management screen, deleted data for the Music app, then I had to restart the phone. After starting back up, the Music app says there are errors on the SD card and rescans. I assume the “errors” message is because deleting the data actually deletes the database that stores the information about the mp3s, in which case it’s not really an “error”. After the music is rescanned, my albums are now the way I like them.