CTR_Paul's Guide to MP3 Organisation for the PS3 (Album Art & Track Listing)


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Nov 14, 2005
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I like many PS3 owners I have a fairly extensive CD & MP3 collection, which I'd love to be able to put onto my PS3 to play thanks to it's nippy booting up times and the fact my g/f can use it with ease.

I'm sure a fair few of you will have being disappointed by the lack of PS3 support for M3U playlists and Album art on any external USB HDD you're using.

After some research and a little trial and error I've established a way to do the following:

- Order MP3's the way you want them ordered (in the order they are on an album!)
- Add Album art to tracks that reside on a USB HDD.

Ordering MP3's on your PS3:

The PS3 basically orders music by folder name, then by the title of the track. Ordering by folder name initially isn't an issue, it's quite nice to have it all in alphabetical order, ordering by track name though is a nightmare.

To get round this problem I've adjusted my MP3 collection that sits on my USB HDD to include the track number before the track title, so for example;
Wish You Were Here.Mp3
changes to
01 Wish You Were Here.Mp3

Simple enough, but how can you do that for 12,000 MP3 files? The answer I found is called MP3Tag, a free program that allows you to make bulk changes, with some very nifty features: http://www.mp3tag.de/en/ You'll need to download it for what follows:

Step 1:
Within MP3Tag load in the MP3 files you wish to amend for your PS3 (note I advise that you keep a backup copy of your MP3 files, as making an error when learning how to use MP3Tag is to be expected!) by going to File > Change Directory, select the portable media your using be it a Memory Stick or USB HDD that you have plugged into your PC.

Step 2:
Ok, hopefully you'll now see all your MP3 files listed. This is where the changes are made to your MP3s. Make sure you're ordering your list of MP3's by filename, as these will almost certainly already be in the correct order down the page (If they're not in order you'll need to sort that prior to continuing with this).

Step 3:
Highlight all the MP3 files for that album (they go grey when highlighted), then go to Tools>Auto numbering Wizard. Make sure the bottom two options of this box are ticked, they should read "Leading Zeros..." and "Reset Counter..." and make sure the initial tick box is unticked. You also want "Begin at Tracknumber" to be 1. Once you've done that click on OK. A message will come up telling you a number of tags have being amended. You'll note that the not much seems to have changed, but when you scroll to the right of the page the track number should start with 01 and end after however many tracks. Why do you have to do this? Well a PS3 orders like a PS3 so it would order the following files like so:

5.mp3 etc.

By adding in that initial 0 to all tracks we get rid of this issue as it will happily order 01.mp3 followed by 02.mp3.

Step 4:
Ok that was all pretty easy right? Now on to something a little more tricky! We're going to make an Action in MP3Tag. For those who use Word/Excel/Access etc read Action as Macro, to me they appear to be much of a muchness.

Click on the Convert drop down and select "Actions".

Step 5:
On the right hand side of the box that has opened click on the "new" button which is signified by a star.

Step 6:
In the box that appears select a name for your action, I called mine 'PS3 Title Edit' but you can call it whatever you feel like. Now Click on Ok.

Step 6:
Another damn box I bet your thinking! In this box (titled actions still!) Select the Star icon again on the right hand side. A box called "Select Action Type" appears. Select "Format Value" from the drop down list and click OK.

Step 7:
Click on the drop list under "Field" and select TITLE.

Step 8:
In the box called format string type the following:
%track% - %title%

This will give you Track titles like so: "01 - Song Title"

Click OK and you'll return to the initial Actions menu, your new Action will have a tick next to it.

Step 9:
Now to test it works, Click on the OK button and the files you had highlighted should change to read "01 - Song Title" "02 - Song Title" etc.

Step 10:
If you are feeling brave it's possible to use this method to alter huge amounts of MP3's in two clicks of a button, JUST SO LONG AS THEY ARE ALREADY IN ORDER, if they're not... the Undo button will help you.

I was pretty careful (only doing 5 or 6 albums at once) about it when I did it so changing half of my MP3's took under 10 mins.


Add Album Art - Simple Way:

To do this I embedded the album art into the MP3 files, this means that all my covers show up on my USB drive, happy days! Here's how I did it (note I'll presume you've read the above first, although you don't need to really!):

Step 1:
Open MP3 Tag.

Step 2:
Select the files you wish to add album art for

Step 3:
On the toolbar at the top look for "Extend Tags" which is next to the "Actions" quick link. Click on it.

Step 4:
On the right hand side of the screen you'll see that little Star again next to an area called "Cover" click on it and you can browse for the album art you want to associate with those tracks.

Step 5:
Click Ok and the album art is written into the MP3 tags, so your PS3 will pick it up.

Add Album Art Trick Way, but better if you don't have the image:

Step 1:
Open MP3 Tag and make sure your MP3 files are ordered by filename, and more importantly that the ordering by filename is correct! Most 'downloads' come with the file names ordered correctly, so hopefully this won't be an issue for many people.

Step 2:
Highlight the files and click on the little Globe icon, this opens a series of new menus that enable you to update your albums Tag information, including that of an image, if you click on Save when prompted! You can select from four sources for your Tag information, Amazon.com and Amazon.de both appear pretty decent and picked out some fairly odd stuff I have on my PS3.

Step 3:
Use the Auto Number Feature to write tags with 01,02 etc as the downloaded Tags don't use the inital zeros.

Step 4:
Run your Action to name the tracks correctly, as detailed extensively above.


It's quite a long job initially, but... Once your MP3 collection is ordered like that you'll be able add a new album or two in the same format within seconds thanks to the Action functions.

Can't beat having pukka album art ! :D


Thanks Paul, it's so good I'm adding a link in the faq.:D
Thanks for that Paul :thumbsup:
Also what format is best to rip onto the PS3 for the best sound quality ?

I used MP3tag to id tag all my MP3s and would recommend it to anyone,.
It's not free but there is a trial version that can do pretty much everything the full version can do.
Once all your tracks are id tagged they will then show the correct Artist/Album/Track names instead of "unknown Album" Track 1, with any media player (lncluding PS3)
I'm trying to work out whether it's worth doing all this or just using the 360 like I do now (with everything in it's iTunes folder and the 360 sorting it out itself). Anyone tried the PS3 and 360 side by side with the same track and care to comment on the quality differences? The obvious thing in favour o the PS3 method is it'd not need the PC on to work.
Fantastic, just what I've been looking for! Thanks for your efforts in putting together this post. :thumbsup:
'tag & rename' is also excellent software- especially with large mp3 collections
how sad am i?

well for the last 3 years ive been downloading and ripping of my originals about 2,000 albums to mps and then storing to an internal HD


when i get a new album i change the tracks from 1 to 01, i change the names of all the tracks to capitol letters

then i do my albums in asimilar way likee this for chronological order

say for U2 ive got

u2 - zooropa
u2 - pop
u2 - joshua tree
u2 - achtung baby

ill change them to

U2 (1987) - JOSHUA TREE

U2 (1991) - ACHTUNG BABY

U2 (1993) - ZOOROPA

U2 (1997) - POP

then all albums go in the right years order (ive not read the entire above guide to see if this has been mentioned)
I've followed this guide, renumbering all my tracks but 10,11,12 etc is still coming before 02 in the track list. Any ideas on what is wrong?
I've followed this guide, renumbering all my tracks but 10,11,12 etc is still coming before 02 in the track list. Any ideas on what is wrong?
If you set the track number property using something like Tag&Rename, the PS3 will display tracks in the right order.

Filename ("01 - Enter Sandman.mp3") makes no difference, only either song titles ("01 - Enter Sandman") or by having the track numbering correct within the MP3 files.
Just checked the title of each track does start with the correct track number?????
e.g 01-Hells Bells, 02-Shoot to Thrill etc....
Just wondered. Should there be a space between the number and the hyphen?

EDIT: sorted it out, the mp3s need to be on the PS3 HD, I was reading them off an external drive. DOH!
Last edited:
Cheers for the FAQ, the PS3 still seems like a cumbersome beast though to me if you want to use it for listening to a large MP3 collection via your AV system, which is one of the things I was hoping for when I bought mine.

I have it hooked up to my receiver, with all my (50gb's worth) of albums sitting on a External hard drive, plugged into the PS3.

The way it displays Artists in a long vertical line in the XMB seems like a massive waste of the screen, and unless I'm missing something, there is no search function? So you have to scroll through all the prior Artists to get to the one you want, which is a massive pain if you have a large library of music. And again, unless I'm missing something, you cant just select an album folder and play it.

It's almost like using a windows PC to listen to your music, without installing a dedicated piece of software, e.g. winamp, to deal with it, instead almost browsing folders and playing them from there.

I'm hoping someone is going to tell me I'm completely wrong and have being doing 'it' incorrectly, but I can't see how? For a system that’s dubbed as an all-round media center, rather then just a games console, it's handling of MP3's on a large scale seems very limiting to me. :mad:

Best way I've found is streaming. I use Twonky on my NAS. This allows different menu layouts. So I have

Artists > Albums just like original with the long list
Artists (Alpha) > ABCD
Albums (alpha) > ABCD

And the Twonky configuration pages lets me alter these to my hearts content.

Beleive other streaming SW lets you do something similar. Certainly ~TVersity on PC did when I tried it

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