Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Listen Review - Alternative Music Player for GNOME

There is a huge number of audio players for GNOME which strive to offer as many features as possible, with Banshee, Exaile or Rhythmbox currently being the most popular for this matter. Since features like easy access to lyrics, Wikipedia information or collection management are a must-have for a complex audio player, it looks like Listen makes no exception regarding those either.

Listen 0.6.3 in Ubuntu Karmic

The version I'm going to talk about in this review is the latest, 0.6.3, which was released on July 30, 2009.

Listen is written in Python using the GTK toolkit, and it features a simple and organised interface, providing fast access to information related to the currently playing song, like lyrics, Wikipedia artist's page, concerts and info.

The library is divided into five sections:
- Music, which will show available artists and albums
- Podcast, for managing and listening to podcasts
- Station, allowing you to listen to radio
- Filesystem, a file browser
- Webradio, a collection of Internet radio stations

Listen offers drag-and-drop support, and besides the usual sorting, the playlist font can also be changed. One of the minuses is that the playlist cannot be sorted by full path or filename.

Playlist - allows for font to be changed

Among the notable features of Listen are: song submission, support for podcasts, Internet radio, OSD (on-screen display), Wikipedia info and lyrics fetching, upcoming concerts, cover fetching (either from the local directory or from, tags lookup, tag editing, support for plugins, song queue, system tray integration, visualizations. Most of these come with the bundled plugins.

Context view

An interesting option is the ability to set custom web service filters, which will be skipped when performing web queries. For example, you can add here information which you don't want to be searched for, like cd 1, cd 2 etc.

Listen 0.6.3 preferences

Listen also provides no fewer than four view modes: small, normal, full display and party mode, and the latter is practically a fullscreen mode.

Regarding plugins, Listen comes by default with several useful ones, like:
- a 10-band equalizer
- PidginStatus, which will show the song you're listening to as your Pidgin status message
- a visualization plugin
- events, to retrieve upcoming concerts for a band from
- Jamendo and Magnatune integration

Installation in Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

There is a PPA available for the latest Listen release, and to use it add the following two lines inside your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

deb karmic main
deb-src karmic main

Next, add the trusted key for this PPA:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys AA832887

Update the packages list:

sudo apt-get update

And install Listen:

sudo apt-get install listen

Official website
Listen on Launchpad


aperson said...

For the un-initiated:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:listen-devel/ppa

Will add the repository and the key in one swoop.

Anonymous said...

That works only if you are running Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala.

aperson said...

Which is what this post was written for.