Monday, 29 November 2010

16 Music Players for Linux

Linux came a long way concerning music players in the last couple of years and if in the past there were only few choices for users - XMMS has to be mentioned here - well, now there are so many players to choose from, and if most share the same features, each one provides an alternative by bringing a new feature or a different interface. This I can tell, can satisfy any user's taste. Without further ado, here are no less than 16 graphical music players for Linux.

Each player (except for the last two) have been reviewed before here at TuxArena and there is a link to the review after the application's name.

Amarok - full review
I don't think Amarok needs an introduction. Every long-time KDE user tested it at least once, and most of KDE users use it as their primary music player, not to mention it comes by default in distributions like Kubuntu, the KDE-based branch of Ubuntu. Amarok is a powerful, collection-oriented player, with an interface which, although loved by some and contested by others, looks very good and offers as much information as it could. It comes with dynamic playlist support, cover manager, Internet services, integration, scripting support, Internet radio support, media devices support and much, much more.
Amarok - one of the most popular and powerful music players on Linux

Rhythmbox - full review
Rhythmbox is the default audio player in Gnome and Ubuntu implicitly. Among the top features it comes with are the music library, sortable playlists, plugins, local file cover support, integration, support for services like Jamendo or Magnatune. Another feature of Rhythmbox is the integration with Ubuntu One Music Store, the service provided by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu (I don't know if this is Ubuntu-specific only though).

Rhythmbox is the default audio player in Gnome

Banshee - full review
Some would recommend Banshee as the first option for replacing Rhythmbox. Banshee integrates in Gnome and it comes with a full set of features, offering a media library, 10-band equalizer, integration, cover fetching, playlist support, podcasts and a whole bunch of plugins . Banshee also offers a video library and support for playing movies and video formats. Its only problem seems to be stability though, I had some problems with random crashes and fetching local covers doesn't seem to work (Ubuntu 10.10 and Banshee 1.8.0).

Banshee is a full-featured player which also includes video capabilities

Audacious - full review
This is the GTK2 replacement for the now deprecated XMMS. It comes with Winamp 2.x skin support, an interface which resembles the Winamp 2 look and feel, support for covers, an equalizer, and more. Version 2.4 offers two view modes available in the View menu: Gtk interface and the Winamp Classic interface (screenshots below).

Audacious is a replacement for XMMS which offers two view modes: Gtk and Winamp Classic

Clementine - full review
For those who complain about the direction Amarok 2 took, Clementine can be a very good alternative to Amarok 1.4. Clementine's goal is a port of Amarok 1.4 to KDE4, and until now it's done a good job. Some of the many features of Amarok 1.4 are not yet implemented, but still Clementine offers sortable playlists, cover manager, equalizer, collection manager, file manager, song submission. It still lacks support for scripts though.
Homepage #1
Homepage #2

Clementine aims to be the KDE4 port of Amarok 1.4 and does a pretty good job

Qmmp - full review
I was talking about Audacious being the GTK replacement of XMMS. Well, Qmmp is the Qt replacement for it, making it perfect for KDE users. It resembles the XMMS interface, supports Winamp 2.x skins, it allows plugins.
Homepage #1
Homepage #2

Qmmp - the KDE replacement of XMMS

Listen - full review
Listen is another player for Gnome, and it comes with a clean, well-organised interface as well as support for plugins, integration, four display modes (small, normal, full and party mode), lyrics fetching, Wikipedia integration for artist and song info.

Listen - typical player for Gnome, featuring a well-organised interface

Exaile - full review
Yet another GTK application, Exaile features music collection, lyrics fetching, file browser, radio support, sortable playlist, device manager, 10-band equalizer, queue, covers support. Exaile is also highly configurable via the Edit -> Preferences menu.

Exaile is a feature-rich GTK player offering a good alternative to Rhythmbox or Banshee

Jajuk - full review
Well, when I reviewed Jajuk I was really impressed by this audio player. Jajuk is written in Java and it is a full-featured, top notch player with a neat and intuitive interface. Among the many features of Jajuk there are cover fetching, lyrics, file browser, lots of configuration options, statistics, cover manager, highly configurable interface. In my opinion, a must-try.

Written in Java, Jajuk is a feature-full player

Decibel Audio Player - full review
Decibel can be described in one word: minimalist. Written in GTK and aiming to stay simple and intuitive, Decibel can look too simple at first, but don't be confused by that. It still offers enough features one would expect from an audio player and most of Decibel's features are available via plugins (bundled by default in it), so go to Edit->Preferences if you want to take advantage of all the features. It has three view modes (full, playlist, mini), cover fetching support, song submission, equalizer, library, Twitter status update plugin. The interface offers a playlist and a file manager, which shows folders in a tree-view mode. Adding music to the playlist may seem at little confusing at first, you can do that by selecting a folder in the combo box to the left of the main window.

Decibel can be extended using the plugins included by default

Quod Libet - full review
Another player for Gnome with standard features and a clean, good-looking interface and support for Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, MP3, MP4, WAV and WMA formats. Quod Libet offers filters, a whole bunch of plugins (actually the plugins extend Quod Libet's functionality a lot, and there are a lot of them), several view modes.

Quod Libet

Guayadeque - full review
I featured Guayadeque in my Linux applications with peculiar names article, and found out in the mean time that Guayadeque is a place in Canary Islands. Guayadeque brings nice features also taking a different approach regarding its interface. Features: radio, integration, music library, lyrics, dynamic playlists, podcasts support, file browser, ratings. I think Guayadeque does a great job taking a different approach then most of the players out there.

Taking a different approach, Guayadeque is a must try if tired of usual players

Foobnix - full review
Another player for Linux, Foobnix is written in Python and uses the GTK toolkit. It offers the usual equalizer, song submission, an online search tool and enough configuration options. The current version in Ubuntu is a little buggy, but other than that Foobnix is a good audio player.

Written in PyGTK, Foobnix offers enough features

Goggles Music Manager - full review
Goggles Music Manager is written using the FOX toolkit, a library for designing lightweight applications. It features AlbumArt support, tag editing, smart sorting, drag and drop support, and song submission, SQLite database for the music collection, system tray integration.

GMM is a lightweight music player written using FOX toolkit

JuKIt looks like most of the players in this review are written in GTK, and those for KDE are only Amarok, Clementine, and JuK. This player offers features like cover manager, history, crossfading or the tag editor. JuK is very good for those who want a lightweight audio player for KDE.

JuK - a simple KDE player which has been around for years

DeaDBeeF is a player coming with a compact interface and features like an equalizer, tray integration, plugins, global hotkeys. Among the notable plugins are the OSD or the AlbumArt plugin.

DeaDBeeF offers a compact interface and an equalizer

Except for those, there are the client-server oriented ones, like XMMS2 and MPD (with clients such as Sonata or GMPC - for MPD and the ones listed here - for XMMS2), or text user interface players which can run in a terminal, like CMus (review here), mp3blaster or moc (review here).


Anonymous said...

Nice list, there are some that I havn't known of until yet. But I would like to know why everybody keep forgetting gmusicbrowser, it's a fantatstic music library and my program of choice if I'm on a GTK+ desktop.

Anonymous said...

You say nothing about foobnix, at least look at the screenshots with it features

Craciun Dan said...

Thanks Kelhim. I knew I forgot something, I just couldn't get my finger on it ;) It will be made as an addition, it wouldn't be fair to be left out of this list.

Anonymous, I tried to treat all players equally so the overview is pretty short (more or less) for every player. This is why I included a link to the full review of the application (except for the last two players which I didn't review yet).

Drew said...

I've like MiniTunes, which is a KDE-based minimalist player.

It allows you to browse your music by Artist, Album or Folders.

Mohanr said...

I would like to second gmusicbrowser. I having been using it for almost a year now after trying out various applications. Its has great features, interface and stability. It takes up less memory and is snappier than most players out there.

Craciun Dan said...

Thanks for the nice addition. As a matter of fact, I didn't know about Minitunes, and it looks promising from what I see on the website. Open-source, KDE-based, and available (currently) for Linux and Mac OS? That's cool, as soon as I get the time I'll take it for a spin.

Mohanr: will do. I observe gmusicbrowser actually has a lot of fans.

Unknown said...

I couldn't agree more with kelhim. I also use gmusicbrowser. I particularly like the fullscreen mode. I set a playlist to random then turn on fullscreen. I then get a fullscreen player showing album art and control buttons. Clicking on the screen displays the album tracks and I can get to each songs properties by pressing alt+p (a shortcut i set up myself). I can then sit my laptop in the corner and use it as a sort of jukebox whilst I do other things. Regards Daveleh, Guernsey

tuxy said...

I thought Exaile was written in Python using the GTK toolkit.

cbemerine said...

Great list of players thanks for posting. Amarok will probably always be my favorite, I love the way it pulls in additional related content when you want it too. I like that you have included some that I had not heard of before...on my list to check out one day...

Anonymous said...

and the winner goes to #17
Kelhelm with gmusicbrowser
love the g*

Carl Draper said...

I also use Gmusicbrowser, it took me awhile to find a player as quick with large collections. I detailed my quest:

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your efforts. I've been looking for a music player for linux, ever since xmms was deprecated. Believe it or not, nothing has proven better than mplayer for one simple reason: everything I've tried since xmms has horrible CPU usage. I dislike programs that use more CPU power than really required for the functionality they provide.

So I was wondering: any word on the CPU usage profiles of any of these music players? That would be great!


Carl Draper said...

Gmusicbrowser is pretty light for a player of it's features

roger said...

My current favorite is Aqualung. I prefer the minimalistic appoach of managing my music library from the file manager and playing songs through selecting them and opening them in the player. And Aqualung was the only player I could find that did gapless playing properly, which is a must for continuous music split into different tracks.

Anonymous said...

gmusicbrowser is hideous: the icons are crappy and the interface is a mess. try decibel for something clean.

Carl Draper said...

Well you can also try Gmusicbrowser "Shimmer" It has different icons and smoother look

Kai said...

Well there, nice list !
Maybe I'm a bit outdated - beacuse I dont care about displaying covers or having cddb support, but which of those bring a nice plugin support for high-level graphical effects like in Winamp. Xmms does, some old plugins, but they work.

Which one do you recommend ?

hhh said...

Nice list of players. One consideration of mine for an audio player is gapless playback. Several players now have this feature, but the best I've found is Audacious 2.4.0 from Benjamin Drung's backport. I haven't checked if the 'official' 2.4.0 release now has this working out of the box, and I'm not at my own computer right now, but if you want to listen to Dark Side of the Moon or another album where the tracks run into each other, that's my recommendation. Works with CDs or mp3, ogg, etc... from the get-go without a hitch.

Carl Draper said...

Absolutely, there are not enough gapless players. Aqualung is another truely gapless player, looks similar to XMMS. Too many apps use Gstreamer which isn't properly gapless.

Cesar said...

Awesome list, didn't know gmusicbrowser, excellent music manager/player!

Anonymous said...

What, no love for aTunes?!


Anonymous said...

It would be nice to see a similar post about mpd.
mpd is great for an office where many people want to share control of a single the media player.
However, most mpd players are too simple to be useful.