Monday, January 08, 2007

Playing Music on Linux

There are a lot of music players available for Linux. If most of them were junk it would be easy to choose one to use regularly, but that's not the case. There are many good quality players, but they all have different features. This article is meant to assist you in choosing the one that's right for you.

This list is by no means complete, but it should give you an idea of what's available.


This is the old warhorse of graphical music players on Linux. There are a ton of plugins to extend its functionality as well as skins to change its appearance. The interface is simple if you just want to play music, but it is a bit clunky once you start getting into more advanced features. There are a lot of people that still use this one, but it is dated and some distributions (such as Gentoo) aren't including it anymore.


Another simple media player for KDE. Plugins are available, and it is skinnable. It uses simple playlists and isn't a bad choice if all you want to do is play music.


This is the player I use. In my opinion it is the most advanced player out there for Linux. Smart playlists, lyrics, album covers, tagging, information about the artists from Wikipedia, transfer music to and from digital audio players, an integrated music store (, and way more that I can't describe in the space I have.


Juk will organize your music into playlists, and can include album covers as well. It will also burn playlists as audio or data cds through K3b.


This is a decent music management program. You can create smart playlists, fetch podcasts, and create audio cds from playlists. The most recent versions support iPods and other portable audio players, although it did give me problems with my iPod Shuffle.

Quod Libet

No smart playlists, but it does have plugins for Wikipedia information on artist or album, album covers, burning to cd, and lots more.


Banshee will burn selected songs onto an audio CD, supports cover art, and with plugins supports smart playlists, song recommendations through, podcasts, and more. If Banshee was able to transfer music to my iPod Shuffle this is the player I'd be using, simply because it allows limiting the size of playlists based on MB.


If all you want is something that just plays music from a simple playlist Noatun is the way to go, although XMMS still has its fans.

If you want to be able to sync your portable audio player and want a music management system like iTunes, Amarok is a great piece of software. Banshee would be my recommendation if you don't need support for a digital audio player.

What did I miss? Do you have any other recommendations, or do you disagree with mine? Let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me.

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