M3U playlist empty

Hi all,

I just bought a new Clip Sport Plus (update 2.02 installed) and have been struggling with the empty playlist problem that so many seem to be experiencing with various Sandisk MP3 players. I’m sorry for yet another post on this topic but I really need some help.

I’ve researched articles on this blog and experimented with several approaches, but have had frustrating and inconsistent results after several hours of trying.

After several failed attempts, I decided to create a test folder with 3 files and meticulously follow the instructions on the Sandisk support page for the Clip Sport Plus using WMP. I decided to created a folder called FolderA with three MP3 audios, Song1, Song2, and Song3 so that I could send an example to this forum. Before I did, I dragged this folder (containing the playlist) to the Clip Sport /Music folder and amazingly it worked.

Having believed the problem solved, I went to my actual desired folder and followed the exact same procedure and was disappointed to find the playlist empty. Here’s the contents of the test playlist FolderA that worked:




and a truncated version of the desired playlist folder ACI_1-10 that did not work
(truncated because there are actually 12 files in this folder)




Both folders were built identically and both reside in the /Music folder on the device. Both playlists show up when I look in the playlists on the device, but FolderA is populated and works properly and the other is empty.

Thinking that the underscore and dash in the folder name might be causing the problem, I repeated the process with a folder having only letters and numbers to no avail.

I must be missing something basic, so if someone has cracked the code on how to make playlists work properly, I would very much appreciate the help.  Thanks!!!


I am contributing these comments based on my experience using the SanDisk Clip Sport (not the Plus).

I recommend everyone to try using the software mp3tag to create m3u playlists for SanDisk players


My Clip Sport will properly access my playlists using MUSIC mode, but not FOLDER mode.

Also, my playlists work when my ID3 tag information is filled in for each cited audio file.

Here is the format of a playlist on my Clip Sport (created by mp3tag).

#EXTINF:nnn,artistname - songtitle
#EXTINF:nnn,artistname - songtitle


nnn=3-digit number (with no obvious relationship to the file information ?)

songtitle does not include .mp3

I hope this helps…

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Thank you for taking the time to respond, but the result was the same using mp3tag, an empty playlist.

Any other ideas would be appreciated.

Hi folks,

I just wanted to follow up on the e-mail I posted a couple of weeks ago, in hopes it may help others with the same ‘empty playlist’ issue.

First of all, let me send a shout-out to Sandisk International Support.  They worked with me on two seperate occasions and the reps were very courteous and helpful.

In order to investigate the issue, I uploaded my files to a Sandisk dropbox site, and the technicians saw the same problem I had. They were able to resolve the issue by changing all the file names to Track 1, Track 2, Track 3, etc.  Despite the fact that the orginal file names were a simple string of letters and numbers (i.e.,  B2M01101.mp3), the files weren’t visibile on the Clip Sport Plus.

The tech did not know why this problem was happening and I haven’t had time to investigate further by using different variations of file names, but renaming the files to Track 1, Track 2, Track 3, etc allows the playlist to be created correctly and played in the right order on my device. 

I hope this helps others experiencing similar problems.


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Thank you for posting a follow-up to this confusing problem.

After all your effort and learning experience, do you have any advice for Clip Sport Plus owners ??

ALSO, with your original filenames, did your player recognize and play the files using MUSIC  or FOLDER modes?

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Thank you for posting a follow-up to this confusing problem.

I decided to try your original filenames on four simple mp3 audio files using my Clip Sport (not the Plus version).

    I discovered that my player would not display the contents of my playlist using the filenames you reported.

    My player would recognize and play the files using MUSIC mode and FOLDER mode.

Then I decided to try a few filenaming variations and I hit upon a solution in my first attempt.

I used  “mp3tag” software to create a working playlist using these slightly modified filenames. 

B2M01101 -> B2M0101

B2M01102 -> B2M0102

B2M01103 -> B2M0103

B2M01104 -> B2M0104

(I think the problem may relate to  using 7 identical characters in a row at the beginning of each filename?)

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Thanks for taking the time to respond!  I think you may have hit on something. There must be a llimit on how many identical characters you can have at the start of a filename, and six seems that magic number. Thats why your renaming scheme worked and that’s why Sandisk’s support team solution worked with Track 1, Track 2, Track 3, etc.

I was concerned that without knowing why my filenames didn’t work (even though I had a workaround), I could run into problems again in the future, but I think your broke the code. Thanks again!

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One final follow up here for Clip Sport Plus owners, the playlist must be located in the same folder as the .mp3 files in the device’s Music folder, not in the device’s Playlist folder.  

For example, if you have an album of music that you’ve put in a folder called Album A, then the playlist for that album must also be stored in folder Album A on the device.

Interesting enough though, when you want to select that playlist, it will show up in the devices Playlist folder.

Also, the playlist is simply an ASCII text file with a list of the songs you have in the folder. No extra header information is required. For example, 




Make sure there is a carriage return after the last file in the playlist or that last song will not play.

As part of the investigation of my problem, Sandisk tech support sent me the following link to a batch file


Simply put the batch file in your desired music folder, i.e., Album A, and run it.  The batch file with create a playlist titled Playlist.m3u in the correct format.  You can rename that playlist to Album A or whatever, and store it on your device.

Good Luck!


I think everyone who has struggled to understand how SanDisk players interpret m3u files will appreciate your effort to obtain and post the link to the SanDisk batch file for automatically compiling m3u Playlists.

I am taking the liberty of pasting the text contents of your cited text file: “Playlist3.bat” here:

@echo off
dir /o:n /b *.mp3 *.wma *.wav> Playlist.m3u

    One limitation of this simple method is that it does not allow for a playlist compilation of audio files from several subdirectories.   The software “mp3tag” can produce a slightly more complex m3u file that can point to audio files residing in multiple subdirectories inside the main Music directory.  The m3u file can be saved into the main Music directory or any subdirectory inside the Music directory.

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I am still inspired by the helpful contribution of member John-Z and his effort to resolve the basic syntax of m3u Playlists.

  I modified the simple batch file that John obtained from SanDisk Tech Support.

This version allows for the inclusion of multiple subdirectories in one m3u playlist file.

    I added the command  /s  to include all subdirectories below the current resident directory.

@echo off
dir /o:n /s /b *.mp3 *.wma *.wav> Playlist.m3u

The output file “Playlist.m3u” should be renamed as needed.

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I’m sorry, but this seems a bit ridiculous. I can’t do a simple sync or copy from a typical media player on windows and have playlists work? I’ve had older clips and haven’t had issues. I go and use media monkey and syncing the playlist fails. I transfer the playlist to the playlist folder. The music copies over and the playlist is empty. This is in addition to those same tracks already existing on my Clip. Yet the playlist is empty.

Having to jump through hoops, renaming tracks, placing in specific folders outside the norm seems to be a bit much. This isn’t 2003 on my original Rio Player. And this isn’t a first gen Sansa product. I only bought a Sport Plus out of necessity on vacation, and now I’m really regretting it and more mad I left my Shanling M1 at home.

I even copied the folder containing the songs and m3u file over to the music folder like the sandisk instructions recommend. And I still have an empty playlist. I can manually do a go list, but god forbid I forget one track. I can’t easily add it in and put it in its proper spot. Just frustrating. I should be able to be in WMP or MediaMonkey and just transfer a playlist and have it show up and be working. Going backwards makes no sense.

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Really sorry about your frustrations with the manual effort required to copy music subfolders into the main Music folder on your Clip Sport Plus.     Seems to me you are more than half-way to your desired result !!

     My suggestion for you is to try using the batch file idea as described above.

     Paste a copy of the simple batch text file (saved as Playlist.bat) into your copied music subfolder on your CS+.

     Then use Win File Explorer to double-click on the Playlist.bat file and it will automatically create a working m3u file.  

           (You should rename to a helpful name, like NewMusic1.m3u)

Maybe this is too tedious for you, but it really should work !!!

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The easier solution is to just return it. I’m not jumping through these hoops every time I want to make a playlist. It defeats the purpose of buying a new mp3 player in 2017. Besides, the Sport Plus is just ■■■■. It’s huge. The plastic is cheap. The card slot is gone. The UI is inconsistent. I’ve owned every generation until they started butchering the line, and they’ve gone downhill every generation leading up to this one. I don’t understand it. They haven’t really listened to what people wanted as the line evolved. And Chinese companies like Agptek and Shanling have created players that can possibly do it better. Well Shanling has, but you pay for it, which I did. Agptek is almost there.

Appreciate the help, but mine is going back to Best Buy when I leave the shore. Makes no sense to change the way they do things after so many years and frustrate many. Was on another forum with long time clip owners making the same complaints.

Just for reference…




The 6th and 7th gen ipod Nanos are nicer options if you can live in the Apple world. I had the Sport Plus next to my sister’s and was like, if I could Rockbox it, I’d take that over the Clip. Other companies get it. Sandisk does not.

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wow…have to love posts getting deleted. I’m guessing if you don’t have a hard on for the Clip, your post get deleted by mods. how lovely.

While I appreciate the attempt to help, tedious is not what I want to deal with when creating a simple playlist and transferring it over to my player. This is 2017. I’m not in my way back machine doing this on my Rio Carbon.t Which by the way had less fuss getting playlists on it. And this is what, the 7th generation Clip? Why are we taking steps backward to do simple things that should be effortless.

Then again, why do we have a bloated Clip that lost a card slot and only gained bluetooth? Why has this device needlessly grown over the years? Why has the choice in plastic gone on the cheap so it looks more like a Hasbro toy than an mp3 player? Why has the UI not improved?  Yet the price tag has grown right along with the player’s size.

Despite the market for mp3 dwindling, there is still a market for these small players. You can go upscale with the Shanling M1 like I did. You can make a mostly lateral move to the Agptek:


And deal with the quirks until their firmware gets ironed out. I have more faith in them than I do in Sandisk putting out a product I’d want to use at this point.

And the Agptek is half the price and sized in line with the smaller previous gen Clips.

Sport Plus 2.60 x 1.74 x 0.68 in
Agptek       2.32 x 1.42 x 0.63 in

Ridiculous how bloated the Clip has become. Mine is going back to Best Buy on my way home from the shore since my Shanling is waiting for me at home. Picture the Creative M300 meets the 6th gen ipod nano.

I honestly don’t know why people keep buying these when they do zero to innovate or even evolve the line.

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Hi, my SanDisk playlist is reading"empty". I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Can someone guide me step by step how to convert and load songs on playlist. I’m using SD micro on a SanDisk

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Take a look at this message on the SanDisk Forum. This batch file method is the simplest way I have found to create m3u Playlists for my Clip Sport.


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I’m having a similar problem on my Sansa Clip Voice (a regional version of the Sport Plus). I have custom M3U playlists containing random songs from throughout my music tree, and certain seemingly arbitrary songs are missing from the playlist.

I could find nothing in common between these files myself, but somebody else on another forum solved the issue for me. They’re all songs that, somewhere in their tree, have a folder whose first few letters are identical to some other folder. For example, if I have two folders:

_Music\Soundtracks\Video Game Soundtracks\Final Fantasy VIII\OST-1_


_Music\Soundtracks\Video Game Soundtracks\Final Fantasy VII\Original Soundtrack_

then any MP3 files that are found in the first folder can’t be pointed to in a playlist. The reason is because the Sansa Clip looks under Video Game Soundtracks for the Final Fantasy VIII folder, finds the incredibly similar Final Fantasy VII folder, and decides to go down that path instead. It then, of course, can’t find the file it’s looking for.

The files are of course still accessible through all other means (Folder, Albums, Songs, etc.)

Please fix this in the next firmware update!


The reason the playlists are empty is because the instructions in the owner’s manual for creating a  playlist are INCORRECT!

It only took me about 8 hours to figure this out.

The instructions tell you to place all the mp3’s you want in your playlist into a folder on your computer , then drag it into Windows Media Player.  This is WRONG!  If you do this, an M3U file will be created that tells your player to go find the mp3 file on your computer, not on the mp3 player.  So, since it can’t find it, it says the playlist is empty.

Here are the correct instructions:

  1. Put all of your songs on the mp3 player in the Music folder.  It doesn’t matter if they are in folders, subfolders or no folders.
  2. Drag each song you want in your playlist from the player onto Windows Media Player on your computer.
  3. Click “Save as…” and save the playlist to anywhere on your computer (let’s say Desktop).  Make sure you select file type “M3U”.
  4. Find the M3U file on your Desktop and drag it to the Playlist folder on the player.
  5. That’s it.  You’re done!

Wow - that actually worked… finally.

Thanks JSW1735

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Thank you JSW1735 for your simple and accurate step by step instructions!!!  Your solution worked after much frustration with the instructions in the manual as well as other posts about using a batch file. In addition, it certainly didn’t make sense (as per the manual) to copy all the music into another folder to create the playlist (unnecessarily duplicating) as all the songs were already on the player.

SanDisk, please, please update the manual with accurate and clearer instructions to prevent such frustration for future users!