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I'd really like to communicate with rhythmbox with a web server so I can remotely change the music playing from my smartphone. Is there a command-line interface for rhythmbox to do things like the following (fictional) commands?

rhythmbox next
rhythmbox shuffle=false
rhythmbox change album='Dark Side of the Moon' artist='Pink Floyd' song='Time' 

Is there a socket or message-passing interface instead? Are there any substitute programs that could get the job done, like Banshee, or some other type of server?

share|improve this question
Possible duplicate?… – fossfreedom Sep 18 '13 at 18:03
Possible duplicate?… – fossfreedom Sep 18 '13 at 18:03
@foss no, none of the questions has a similar answer as Geppetos. – Braiam Sep 23 '13 at 13:18
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Basically, the short answer is "Yes" and the complement of such answer will be "Use the rhythmbox-client command from a terminal in order to control your current running Rhythmbox, if it is not already loaded the first instance of your commands will invoke it."

In example: rhythmbox-client --play will make the current Rhythmbox session to start playing the current song (or the first song in the list). If Rhythmbox is closed then it will open it first in order to start playing.

Further information about the rhythmbox-client and its usage can be reached in the rhythmbox-client man page. I place here a portion of the manpage just for reference.

NAME rhythmbox-client - controls a running instance of rhythmbox

SYNOPSIS rhythmbox-client [option...]

DESCRIPTION rhythmbox-client is a tool for controlling an already running instance of rhythmbox. It’s useful for remote control scripting or printing details of what’s playing.

OPTIONS -?,--help Show help options

          Enable debug output

          Do not start a new instance of rhythmbox

   --quit Quit rhythmbox

          Don’t present an existing rhythmbox window

   --hide Hide the rhythmbox window

   --next Jump to next song

          Jump to previous song

          Show notification of the playing song

   --play Resume playback if currently paused

          Pause playback if currently playing

          Toggle play/pause mode

          Play a specified URI, importing it if necessary

   --enqueue filename
          Add specified tracks already in the library to the play queue

          Empty the play queue before adding new tracks

          Print the title and artist of the playing song

          Print formatted details of the song

          Set the playback volume

          Increase the playback volume

          Decrease the playback volume

          Print the current playback volume

   --mute Mute playback

          Unmute playback

FORMAT OPTIONS %at album title

   %aa    album artist

   %aA    album artist (lowercase)

   %as    album artist sortname

   %aS    album artist sortname (lowercase)

   %ay    album year

   %ag    album genre

   %aG    album genre (lowercase)

   %an    album disc number

   %aN    album disc number, zero padded

   %tn    track number (i.e 8)

   %tN    track number, zero padded (i.e 08)

   %tt    track title

   %ta    track artist

   %tA    track artist (lowercase)

   %ts    track artist sortname

   %tS    track artist sortname (lowercase)

   %td    track duration

   %te    track elapsed time

   Variables can be combined using quotes. For example "%tn %aa %tt", will
   print the track number followed by the artist  and  the  title  of  the

AUTHOR This manual page was written by Sven Arvidsson , for the Debian system (but may be used by others).


I got some interest on this subject so I ran a test with the next command:

dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.rhythmbox /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Seek int64:60000000

From the original answer posted right here. Which indeed works for the task of seeking on current playing song, (based on the asker's comment).

Good luck!

share|improve this answer
Awesome! That saves me so much headache. Do you know if there's a --seek ability? It doesn't include it in the man pages. – Athan Clark Sep 18 '13 at 18:29
Unfortunately the rhythmbox-client options are limited. I have added the details to this answer for your convenience. – Geppettvs D'Constanzo Sep 18 '13 at 18:34
Take a look on this answer:, the former --seek option seems to have been deprecated but it seems there is another solution. Please let us know if you succeed. Thank you. – Geppettvs D'Constanzo Sep 18 '13 at 18:38
Oh well... I dropped another edit for you. Good luck! – Geppettvs D'Constanzo Sep 18 '13 at 18:42
It turns out Banshee has the ability to both query for current player information (like track playing, cursor position, player state, etc.) and control playback! banshee --help 'splains it all! Thank you for your help though, I hope you have a great day! – Athan Clark Sep 18 '13 at 18:51

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