How to create a USB BMW iTunes Media Library

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How to create a USB BMW iTunes Media Library

Post by jfbach » Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:41 pm

Hi, I read lots of posts and forums and tried different options and finally got it working in my 2015's Series 2 even with playlists.
I use iTunes because it's easy to keep your libray organised and to update information as artists, albums, covers, etc...

I explain here how to have your "BMW iTunes Media Library" in one USB

1 - Format your USB as FAT32 and set a proper name :-) . I got a 32Gb and works pretty fast

2 - Start iTunes application and IMPORTANT press SHIFT while it's starting to create/choose a different Library
It will show a window asking to "Create a iTunes Media Library" or to "Select and existing iTunes Media Library"
Obviously we're going to CREATE it but just this 1st time.
Once you press "Create..." it asks for a folder name where to store the libray. I set "iTunes" but you can choose a different one.

3 - Once iTunes appears with your empty library it asks to "Scan folders for music" ... just say no.

4 - IMPORTANT!! Before to add elements, go to "Preferences > Advanced" select the following 2 options:
* Keep iTunes Media folder organized
* Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library
It means that any single file added to this library will be COPIED to the USB and not referenced to its original location and that iTunes will create a directory layout to keep files organized (actually we don't care about this structure but it's good to have it)
So our BMW USB will hold a complete iTunes Media Library

5 - Add your music to iTunes. You can drag and drop files to iTunes window or use "File > Add to Libray..." option.
All files will be copied under your created "iTunes" folder

6 - Add/Modify all music information; Artist, Albums, Covers, Genres.
Cover is important to be shown in the BMW screen but I also suggest to have a proper "Genre" list or at least that's what I use the most.
I mean that instead of genre "rock" use detailed ones as "metal rock", "punk rock", "progressive rock", "gothic rock", etc.. Something handy for the "BMW Music Search"

7 - Create your preferred playlists in iTunes

8 - Browse to your USB and create a folder called "playlist" in the root. For example in windows will be "K:\playlist" and OSX will be "/Volumes/MyUSB/playlist"
IMPORTANT. I tried different locations but my BMW only recognises playlist under this folder


9 - Once you got your playlist choose "File > Library > Export Playlist" and select USB folder "playlist" and format M3U

10 - iTunes exports playlist with full path to music files but we need to do small replacements to have it compatible with BMW navigator.
I played with different formats and the only one recognised is starting with ".." and backslashes (\) as separator

Code: Select all

Open exported M3U files with a regular Text Editor; Notepad, Sublime, TextEdit, ...

File looks like

Code: Select all

So just replace "K:\" by "..\" and save

File looks like

Code: Select all

So we need to replace "/Volumes/MuUSB" by ".." and "/" by "\"

DONE!! you got a full iTunes Media Library in your USB that your BMW can read and play.
To do changes in your library just plug the USB in your computer, start iTunes, press SHIFT and select existing library in your USB
Add or Remove music files, modify information. Your library is updated in your USB
Just in case that you do changes in your playlists, you must repeat the steps 9 & 10 (export and adapt exported list)


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Re: How to create a USB BMW iTunes Media Library

Post by v-spec » Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:38 pm

Bloody excellent, I was just planning this for my retrofit CIC install.

Gonna give it a go,thanks matey!
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Re: How to create a USB BMW iTunes Media Library

Post by Paul CS » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:05 pm

A great guide, but am I missing something...

In the nicest way, assume one has an iPhone, why not just synch all the music to the iPhone from the laptop? That way the USB socket on the car can also keep the phone charged. Also, if like me you use Spotify, that can be accessed too.

Am I missing something?


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Re: How to create a USB BMW iTunes Media Library

Post by jfbach » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:08 am

you're right, you can use your iPhone with your music so there's no need to do that USB but in my case in my iPhone I got MY music but for my car I need also to have my wife's and my daughter's :-(
In fact I got playlists with the name of each member of the family.

That USB iTunes Media Library is a sub-set of my full Library.
For me is handy because the USB is always plugged (it's a very small one) and I just need to take it in case we wanted to modify the contents.

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Re: How to create a USB BMW iTunes Media Library

Post by ferraris » Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:55 pm

Or just use iTunesFusion which will do almost all of that for you from your existing iTunes library.
Last edited by ferraris on Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to create a USB BMW iTunes Media Library

Post by 5678 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:13 pm

Does this process deal with any DRM issues on iTunes purchased music?

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Re: How to create a USB BMW iTunes Media Library

Post by zaks » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:46 am

Great how to guide. You should do a WiKihow.

Is it possible to have multiple playlists? I have managed to get 1 playlist working 100% fine, even managed to add tracks etc. Just cannot seem to have multiple playlists working in the car.
The display shows both playlists on the USB, however just the one has entries in the list. The other merely shows "No entries"

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