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What are popular audio players for the command line?

  • How to play a single sound file?
  • Are there command line players that also index the music library like Banshee, Exaile, etc.?
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12 Answers 12

up vote 25 down vote accepted

I have compiled a complete list of commandline and other lightweight tools for linux. It also have list of music players too, check it out Command Line Tools.

Here is my personal favorite CMUS CMUS

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Thanks, CMUS looks great, do u know also MOC and if why do you prefer CMUS? Cheers – type May 22 '11 at 13:36
i never used MOC before, but it looks good I will check it out. – HSS May 22 '11 at 13:39
@Harbhag could you please add a picture and a small description (makes a 1st impresssion comparison with other answers easier) – Rinzwind May 22 '11 at 13:49
cheers, i guess screen/byobu is similar and available from the ubuntu repository if not installed by default yet --- interesting nevertheless: / – type May 22 '11 at 14:05
@type I've written a wiki page that explains how to add a little extra sugar to cmus so that it is automatically detachable/re-attachable: – jmuc Dec 12 '11 at 13:56

MOCInstall moc

With MOC we have a powerful commandline player that is capable of browsing directories, generates playlist can can even be extended with plugins, e.g. for lastFM streams.

enter image description here

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Thanks, also looks great, do u know also CMUS and if why do you prefer MOC? Cheers – type May 22 '11 at 13:37
I found MOC a bit easier to handle, but that's maybe only my personal taste. – Takkat May 22 '11 at 13:48
MOC's default config is more 'directory' oriented behavior as opposed to other players and launch daemon at first time, you can keep playing while quitting moc interface. – Mait Dec 21 '13 at 4:57
The first image on this answer is down. – Calculus Knight Nov 21 '15 at 13:16

mpg123 Install mpg123

mpg123 is a fast, free and console MPEG audio player software program for UNIX and Linux operating systems. mpg123 was ported to the Windows platform using Cygwin and MinGW. It supports MPEG-1 and -2, layers 1, 2 and 3. Its most common use is to play MP3 files. It also comes as a Winamp plugin.


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Let's not forget ogg123! – daithib8 May 25 '11 at 20:50
make it an answer! I get 1 to name so you can make that one :D – Rinzwind May 25 '11 at 20:51
who ever it was: care to explain the downvote? – Rinzwind Aug 3 '12 at 21:05
The image on this answer is down. – Calculus Knight Nov 21 '15 at 13:16

mpd (daemon) + ncmpcpp (client/interface):


MPD is able to scan a directory and create a music library from its ID3 tags. Ncmpcpp has a library view which lets you add songs/albums/artists to the current playlist, search for tags and edit them in place.

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Yes, I like mpd too... but let's be fair and point out tha's basically the vim of the music players. Can support just about anything on could think of, eg. in terms of controlls and multiple in- and outputs, varying freely in in format and transport as needed. But - right, when combined with ncmpcpp as you show, it more like gvim - in a pretty good way! – Volker Siegel Jun 27 '14 at 3:59

ogg123 Install vorbis-tools (probably already installed)

ogg123 reads Ogg Vorbis audio files and decodes them to the devices specified on the command line. By default, ogg123 writes to the standard sound device, but output can be sent to any number of devices. Files can be read from the file system, or URLs can be streamed via HTTP. If a directory is given, all of the files in it or its subdirectories will be played.


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The image on this answer is down. – Calculus Knight Nov 21 '15 at 13:17

I like mplayer. It's very basic player, but sometimes I find it very useful (for example, I can specify it manually the audio driver I want it to use).

To play a file: mplayer file

As far as I know it cannot manage playlists.

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VLC has a command line interface. MPlayer has also a command line interface, but I am not sure if it can play audio as well.

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VLS has a great ncurses interface cvlc -I ncurses musique/* – meduz Oct 15 '13 at 8:22

just write one line in terminal;) and listen radio streams

for OGG/OPUS streams

wget -qO- | opusdec - - | aplay -qfdat

be sure u have installed opus packages

for listen OGG/Vorbis radio stream just write

ogg123 be sure u have installed vorbis packages


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mpg123 (

it's in the universe repositories, supports playlists and streaming from web-sources. When startet with -C you can also skip tracks in playlist etc. edit: not sure about ogg support.


A command-line shell for programs like mpg123 and ogg123, music123 plays a variety of sound files using a mpg123/ogg123-like interface. With all the Recommends installed, music123 plays wav, mp3 and ogg files. By simply changing the config file, music123 can play any sound file you have a player for.

(If you install a recent version of vorbis-tools, music123 will handle Ogg Flac and Ogg Speex files too.)

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Plugins Input: Ogg Vorbis, MP3, FLAC, Musepack, WavPack, WAV, AAC, MP4, and everything supported by ffmpeg (WMA, APE, MKA, TTA, SHN, ...) and libmodplug Output: PulseAudio, ALSA, OSS, RoarAudio, libao, aRts, Sun, and WaveOut (Windows)

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I've used mp3blaster in the past. It supports Playlists, Groups, Repeat, Search. Not many special features.

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any features worth mentioning? – type Jul 4 '11 at 21:44
Playlists, Groups, Repeat, Search. Not many special features. – RobinJ Jul 4 '11 at 21:48

For single file, check aplay, play, and paplay (for Pulseaudio only).

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protected by fossfreedom Jul 6 '15 at 12:20

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