Sorting MP3s on a Sony Walkman NWZ-B152 player

I bought an MP3 player yesterday for the kids, for bedtime music. They’re currently using an old Nokia phone, but it’s a bit broken and hard to navigate and the internal speaker isn’t that great. The new plan is to wire a line in socket to an old CD/radio and attach the MP3 player to that.

I got a Sony Walkman NWZ-B152 from Tesco because it was on special and they have a Double Points deal (though that took some negotiation in the end!). The documentation all assumes you’re using the latest OS from Microsoft. I’m using Ubuntu Linux, but I figured that shouldn’t be a problem.

The device supports USB Mass Storage, but when I copied some MP3s onto it, the tracks in each album came up in random order. I tried adding ID3 track number tags with eyeD3, and they still came up in random order – but a different random order this time. Bizarre.

Finally this morning I worked it out. The Sony player sorts on the ID3v2.3 track tag only – if there’s an ID3v1.0 track tag, it ignores it. And eyeD3 sometimes uses one flavour and sometimes another.

Simple fix: in my encoder script, add --id3v2-only. Or if, as in my case, you’ve already copied loads of MP3s across and don’t want to repeat it, in your fixup script add --to-v2.3. Et voilĂ , track sort order works at last!