File Structure for usb - music

File Structure for usb - music

In preparation of my pickup at the factory, and then a drive back to OC via supercharger network I'd like to get my usb stick loaded with some music and podcasts.

I see from other posts that I should format using FAT32 (correct?)

But how does the file structure work.

If I put things inside folders and sub folders does it all show up on the media screen?

I have a lot of music so I need some sort of way to organize it... or maybe the system is smart enough to scan all music with tags will present things any way i want?

Tech4ever | March 2, 2013


Oliver in Seattle | March 2, 2013

You can organize by folder, but it will also sort by artist, song, genre, album, etc using ID3 tags. No playlist support at this time.

bp | March 2, 2013

The entire USB memory stick is searched and then organized automatically for browsing by artist, album, genre, ...

The folder structure is only used when you want to browse the USB device by folder - which can be useful sometimes.

Tech4ever | March 2, 2013

Great thank you

stevenmaifert | March 2, 2013

Format with FAT32. I have each album organized by folder, but I think bp is correct. As long as you use ID3 tags for artist, song title, genre, album title etc., the MS software will sort if for you even if you don't use folders. What really blew me away was the display of the album artwork when I didn't include it on the USB stick. Freakin' magic!!!

Michael39 | March 2, 2013

I copied a bunch of music to a 32 Gig USB drive. When I plug it unto a car and select by album or song, all I get is the busy circle. I've let it sit for over an hour scrubbing away.

But if I select folder mode I can see and play the music.

Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks for any help.

Michael | March 2, 2013

@Michael39 Try running a disk check/repair on the USB stick from a PC or Mac. Sounds like something is wrong on the USB stick like a bad sector?

I've used a 64 GB and 128 GB sticks without a hitch (and both are close to full and load and scan in about 30 seconds).

Robert22 | March 2, 2013

For those interested, the SanDisk 128GB flash drive was recommended by another board contributor and works splendidly for iTunes collections. The price periodically drops to $59.99 from $82.55 on weekends at Amazon with free Prime shipping. I literally shift-clicked the first song and dragged through to the end of my iTunes list and then dragged and dropped all my songs onto the flash drive. I was concerned initially about how slow the access time is on this drive, but it really isn't noticeable after the first load on the car. Everything
was sorted into proper files automatically and the response to play any song is now instant on touch selection. Anyone else find themselves sitting in their garage after work saying "okay, just one more song before I go in" ? ;)

Robert22 | March 2, 2013
bobinfla | March 2, 2013

@StevenMaifert: You see the album artwork when playing off the USB? Mine never shows up.

I didn't copy my entire ITunes folder onto the USB drive, just a bunch of the folders with the albums in it. Have no problems playing the music, I normally just go to "By Folder" and then the folders are organized by artist, with albums as the subfolders, but I've never seen any album artwork.

Is everyone else seeing album artwork, and if so, any ideas what I might be doing wrong?

DouglasR | March 2, 2013

Those of you using very large flash drives: they can't be formatted with FAT32, can they?

hnashif | March 2, 2013

FAT32 volume size is limited to 2 TB for a sector size of 512 bytes or 16 TB for a sector size of 4,096 bytes

Carefree | March 3, 2013

You can download and format your USB drive with FAT32. I just did that with my Kingston 64GB thumb drive. It will take a long time to format but it works just fine.

DouglasR | March 3, 2013

Thanks, @hnashif. I was thinking of the file size limitation. Doh!

Michael39 | March 4, 2013

Thanks @Frank2,
I had yanked the USB drive out of the car in disgust but then decided to give it one more try.

Plugged it in and lo and behold, there it was, album, song, artist lists all populated and working.

Go figure!


stevenmaifert | March 4, 2013

@bobinfla - I have no idea how MS is retrieving the album artwork when I didn't include it on the USB drive. I'm playing MP3 files with IDT3 tags. All I can guess is the MS software is taking the artist and album title info from the IDT3 tag and retrieving the artwork from someone's data base. I do have the Sound Studio Package, but don't know if that matters.

bobinfla | March 4, 2013

@steve - I have the Sound Studio too, so I'm thinking it's a user issue. My music is just too old or eclectic to be in the database, lol, | March 4, 2013

I have all the cover art on my USB stick, but it is never used. My understanding is it pulls the covers from CDDB via the 3G and caches them locally. For me, I find about 80% accuracy, where 20% of the time it's wrong or missing. This is especially true of collections, which CDDB does not handle.

In addition, once it gets pulled down, it's not checked again (i.e. so if CDDB was fixed for a specific album cover, we'd still have the wrong art).

CDDB/Gracenote is the biggest collection database, and it's used by many products/companies for cover art. Unfortunately, CDDB has no way to let them know they are missing or worse, providing the wrong art.

Yesterday, I got a laugh, as I happened to be playing the Gladiator soundtrack, and it brought up a photo of a couple standing - nothing to do with cover art (and not anyone in the film). It was even in portrait mode, which makes no sense for a CD cover!

Anyway, perhaps in some future update, they will give us the option of where to pull the cover art first. If they did pull it locally, it would also reduce the amount of cell download data, but it really isn't that much data.

cerjor | March 4, 2013

When will we be. Able to download all this music to the car's memory? Weren't we supposed to be able to this?

bp | March 5, 2013

Would also be useful to have options to edit the information for stored music (to fix mis-labelling) and to have it refresh/rescan the online database.

Though you can fix some of the problems now by taking the USB back to a computer - edit the bad information - and then take it back to the car. Been able to fix some of the problems - but still have a few albums that are mislabeled - either with the wrong artists or artwork.

Epley | June 12, 2013

I have a stick that came formatted as ExFAT--does this format work? | June 12, 2013

My guess is ExFAT is not supported, but give it a try - either it will work or not, and I can't see it hurting anything.

ExFAT is a Microsoft proprietary format, and is not supported in the base Linux Kernel, and is rarely seen outside of Windows and Mac OS X due to licensing restrictions. It is not an open standard.

In case you were wondering, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 flash drives both work fine (although the MS uses USB 2.0).

Brucetesla | June 14, 2013

Upload songs question... Like Cerjor, I thought you could upload USB stored songs directly into Tesla storage memory. I don't see any option for that...

Music plays fine from the stick, but don't want to waste a port just for that. Any thoughts?

bp | June 14, 2013

Music storage in the Model S is not yet enabled.

l.glazerman | May 18, 2014

Some of my music is .m4a and some is .m4p. It seems like the .m4p music won't play on the Tesla. Is there anything I'm doing wrong? Could my flash drive be corrupted? OR is it just the format of the music?

Thanks | May 18, 2014

M4P are DRM protected file from iTunes and will not be playable in the Tesla or most other cars. M4A files do not have DRM and will play fine. M4P hopefully can be played on your iPhone through Bluetooth to the car.

DRM = Digital Rights Management

l.glazerman | May 18, 2014

Thanks, TeslaTap. I'm pretty sure this time I just copied the .m4a files, and they will hopefully work

C-NRG-GO | May 20, 2014

I want SHUFFLE! I create a play list by copying files into a folder, but it plays in the same order every time. Maybe not the highest priority for Tesla engineers, but also shouldn't be that hard to do... | May 20, 2014

C-NRG-GO - Yep, shuffle has been on my desired feature list for almost a year now. I'm still hopeful it will show up once the Software team catches up with more critical items. Vote on it if you want it at: