Every Android phone I’ve had, starting with the original Droid, allowed you to manually create .pla files through Windows on the phone’s memory card while connected via USB. This was a great feature, as it didn’t require any software like iTunes to manage your music collection and made it very quick and easy to add songs, create playlists, etc. Perfect for trips and such.

At some point into owning the Galaxy S4 one of the updates must have nulled this out. All the PC-made playlists I had on the phone were suddenly deleted, and new ones I created showed as empty on the phone. Likewise, opening playlists made on the phone via the PC showed them as empty as well, so all of a sudden it seemed that the way the phone creates (and wants to read) .pla files is different than Windows.

Making playlists in the phone’s music app is not a “solution”.

In doing repeated searches over the course of several months, pretty much the only results I found were how-to guides for creating playlists from within the music app on the phone. If you’re like me, this is just about the least ideal way to make a playlist, and I refuse to stop at that being the answer. When you have a music collection over 25GB on the phone, it’s extremely arduous to grab songs from a little screen and add them.

But the wording in each of these guides was a jovial tone, as if it’s so sensible to just make playlists within the phone that why would anyone do it any other way? I’m amazed there isn’t more out there about this — surely others prefer to manage large music collections and playlists from their PC?

Maybe .m3u files will work differently?

The intention of this post is to hopefully be found by others looking to do this and find a solution. I’ve also noticed that you can’t save .pla or .m3u files directly to the card when the phone is synced as a media device, but if the song files and folders layout is consistent on the PC and the phone’s memory card in theory a playlist file created on the PC and copied to the memory card’s music folder should work. I haven’t yet tried this with .m3u files, so I’ll see if that produces any different results.

In the mean time, if anyone knows of a solution please comment here!