Nicely Display Music in the Scion tC

This post is about using a USB to play and nicely display music in a Scion tC, but it also applies to music kept on a smartphone.

The stock radio I have in my 2016 Scion tC is the Pioneer AXLP-Q16U T10071. It’s equipped with Gracenote, which is nice to have. When music plays, Gracenote displays an image of the song’s artist. If it doesn’t recognize the artist, it’ll display a generic image for the genre.

However, I wanted to make sure my music displayed properly all the time – that is, nicely formatted labels with matching album covers.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. If using a USB, the USB needs to be formatted with the FAT32 filesystem.
  2. Files have metadata.
    • Metadata is essentially information about the file.
    • There are different metadata types.
      • ID3 tags to use: ID3v2.3 with ISO-8859-1.
    • In the case of audio files, metadata includes information that you would normally want to know about a song – artist, track name, album, etc.
  3. For the Scion tC, the following metadata fields are available for a really nice presentation of the music and operation of the radio (sort/search).
    • Artist (album-artist)
      • Though some tracks have multiple contributing artists or features, if more than one artist is added in this field, then the radio will treat that combination of artists as a unique entry.
      • If we want to find the entire catalog for an artist through the SEARCH ARTIST feature, then treat the ARTIST field as the main artist – whomever the album is attributed to. Featuring artists could be placed within the song name.
    • Album
    • Track Number
    • Track Name
    • Genre
    • Release Year
    • Composers
    • Album Artwork: 300×300 (or smaller) jpeg/png

The time the radio system takes in sorting the music on a USB depends on how much music there is. So if we have a large library, we may have to give the radio a good amount of time to let it sort through all of the music files. The radio only does this the first time we insert the USB or if any changes are made to it.

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