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I have a big music library. Nothing special there.

But I very much dislike the way usually music library is displayed in most recommended players, according to Artist/Album/Year/Genre tags, ignoring my folder structure or making it hardly accessible.

The problem is that not all my music is tagged according to genre etc, but all is perfectly ordered by folder structure which takes into account all characteristics handled by tags, as well as many others, which I can change and specify at any time. (I can decide ordering my music by country, inside a sub-category like "baroque music", for example).

The advantage of using folder-structure-display of medialibrary is that all the logical structure is displayed, with all sub-categories, which can be sub-detailed, varied, and changed at wish and be all visible at the same time.

Some Players, like Clementine and Quod Libet, can display folders, but when comes to displaying only the library, they still display it only by tags.

I am looking for some plugins to good players that would provide a solution to this, and I am looking for different solutions to this.

Therefore I'll display as my own answer some solutions that I have already found and welcome other answers with new and better ways to achieve the same purpose.

(Most welcome are of course players that, beside having the capability discussed here, would not lack other elementary features like playlists in tabs, search, and the like.)

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5 Answers 5

guayadeque Install guayadeque

We made best experience with guayadeque. We can easily switch between library (tag) view and folder view (see also the nice online manual)

enter image description here

Install via the software center

For Lubuntu see this screenshot: Guayadeque - Lubuntu 12.10

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cannot tell why in my lubuntu 12.10 i still cannot see the main menus and therefore cannot access view/file browser and so on –  cipricus Oct 9 '12 at 7:46
did that. the mystery goes on :) –  cipricus Oct 9 '12 at 8:38
I then will be of not much further help. Grpahics driver issue seems likely. –  Takkat Oct 9 '12 at 9:01
up vote 5 down vote accepted

First, an example is Foobar2000 in Wine. Foobar2000 has different ways of displaying media library, my favorites being Album list (foo_albumlist, component installed by default) and especially Facets (foo_facets, component to be manually installed). I am aware that finding something better than Foobar2000 is unlikely. The downside of Foobar is of course using Wine, which makes it unstable, resource-hungry, and ugly-looking.

Quod Libet, once the media library folder selected, displays this folder separately in the list of folders (if "View" - "File System" is selected). Then, this folder can be browsed, but the way of doing that is clumsy, sluggish, and there are no tabs for playlists, nor other way of quickly accessing playlists (that I'm aware of).

My favourite Ubuntu music player is DeadBeef, which has a plugin called File Browser (64x version here) that displays the media library as folder structure.

(Considering the editing of this answer: as I was for a while in the beta version of 12.10 quantal which was not yet fully supported, the player could not be installed from PPA, and the version of the file browser stopped working from time to time in portable/static version in quantal (the player as such worked ok). That was the initial reason for posting this question. But getting back into a stable version of Lubuntu, Deadbeef is no 1 again and I think it deserves a more detailed presentation.)

The file-browser plugin is gtk2 so it would work only with the gtk2 GUI of the browser (Deadbeef 0.5.6 allows a gtk3 gui switch)

enter image description here

Also, this plugin is incompatible with the gtk2 version of the plugin called Infobar (x86_64 version here) that would display lyrics (see this related answer). Infobar has a gtk3 version. A workaround for using the two plugins alternatively is installing filebrowser plugin and the gtk3 version of infobar: in this way changing the player's gui would switch between the two plugins too.

enter image description here To install Deadbeef plugins (.so files): they have to be copied into a folder. On their site they say: ~/.local/lib/deadbeef/. But in fact, in (L)Ubuntu, in the case of Deadbeef installation from PPA the plugin file should be put into: /usr/lib/deadbeef, while after the player's installation from .deb the plugins go to: /opt/deadbeef/lib/deadbeef. In static-portable builds:deadbeef-X.X.X/plugins.

Deadbeef player has playlist tabs but no library search (as far as I know).

Clementine is an excellent player (no matter it having a screaming-orange tray icon that violates my monotone icon set). But when it comes to seeing the media library folders it cannot do it: if I want to see that, I have to select "Files" instead of "Library", and go to /media/username/externaldrivename and look there. But it has the very clever quality that after restart it can remember last path used in this way. (The player has playlist tabs and a search feature that does not work... Or does it? Not in my case, though I'd seen it said it does. Anyway, Clementine looks like a good option for what is asked here.)

I will not hurry setting a definitive answer for some time as I want to see as many answers as possible.

I cannot help posting here a screenshot of taskmanager with different players working at the same time (which i'll update in time). I guess this matter has a certain importance in making an opinion about software.

enter image description here


enter image description here

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Clementine is written in C++, not Java... –  Nick B Oct 8 '12 at 21:30
thnx,maybe that's why it's not as heavy as i imagined it would be, i'll correct –  cipricus Oct 10 '12 at 21:21

Try Exaile:

Install via the software center

Exaile music folder view

You can update it from a ppa:

 sudo apt-add-repository ppa:exaile-devel/ppa
 sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install exaile

See: Exaile music player lives on, version 3.3.0 released with many improvements [Ubuntu ppa]

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I was in a similar situation some years ago but eventually embraced the tagging paradigm, and never looked back.

I still keep the music in genre and (optionally) sub- and sub-sub-genre folders, but all querying and organisation is done by tags. With a sufficiently powerful searching capability, all my use-cases are solved, and I can now manipulate the library in far more ways than folders alone. Admittedly, though, viewing the hierarchy is much less pretty.

As it happens I use (and now co-develop) Quod Libet for this; directory-based genres can be queried by: ~dirname=/Baroque\/German/ (or whatever) or you could define a sub-genre tag (and automate). More recently, there's also a Filter On Directory plugin - might help some simple use-cases. However, if you have a solid idea for a new type of browser, feel free to raise a feature request...

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The music player quite similar to foobar in terms of its simplicity and ease of use is probably decibel, which you can install it with

sudo apt-get install decibel-audio-player

Instead of importing all your music, you can navigate the folder structure in the side pain and then drag and drop the selected folder into the main pain and start playing your music straightaway (see the first screenshot). Decibel is designed to provide a very simple and convenient method of retaining the folder structure of your music and it allows you to find what you want very quickly and easily.

It may not be the most feature-rich of media players, and may not have everything that you desire, but I find it to be an excellent player. More information is available at the decibel homepage.

enter image description here

If you have any problems in navigating your folders, check that your home folder is listed in decibel's explorer by going to preferences > explorer and clicking file explorer (see screenshot 2 and 3 below) and adding it if necessary (see screenshot 3).

enter image description here enter image description here

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