How can I add a Unity "quicklist" for Spotify (installed from their website), so that when I right-click on the icon on my dock, I get: "Next, Previous, Stop, Play" and so on?

4 Answers 4


I think the answers given so far are a bit over-complicating things. There is no separate script required, the relevant DBus commands can be sent directly via dbus-send. Just make sure that the dbus package is installed and in the command line issue the following commands:

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications
cp /usr/share/applications/spotify.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/

Edit the file ~/.local/share/applications/spotify.desktop to read:

[Desktop Entry]
GenericName=Music Player
Comment=Listen to music using Spotify
Exec=spotify %U

[Desktop Action PlayPause]
Exec=dbus-send --print-reply=literal --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.PlayPause
OnlyShowIn=Messaging Menu;Unity;

[Desktop Action Next]
Exec=dbus-send --print-reply=literal --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Next
OnlyShowIn=Messaging Menu;Unity;

[Desktop Action Previous]
Exec=dbus-send --print-reply=literal --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Previous
OnlyShowIn=Messaging Menu;Unity;

And you're done.

  • This is the best answer. However, when I tried to do it manually, I missed --print-reply=literal, and it didn't work. Do you have an explanation? I know almost nothing of DBus. Jun 16, 2014 at 10:59
  • Superb answer :) Additional question, is it possible to add "thumbs-up" and "thumbs-down" button too (the ones which are in the spotify radio :) )?
    – Linus
    Oct 8, 2016 at 11:42

spotify (native linux client)

Since spotify includes an indicator to control some of its functions, this allows us to use dbus to send events.

There is a great script on ubuntuforums that covers this.

First install a prerequisite:

sudo apt-get install libnet-dbus-perl

Now copy and paste the script into a text file called spcmd and save this to your home folder.

Give it execute rights:

chmod +x ~/spcmd

Lets move this to a more useful folder:

mv ~/spcmd /usr/local/bin

Now, lets create a quick list.

First copy the spotify desktop file to your home folder:

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications
cp /usr/share/applications/spotify.desktop ~/.local/share/applications

Open the file and copy and paste the quick list to the end of the file. Save it.

gedit ~/.local/share/applications/spotify.desktop

end result

enter image description here



[PlayPause Shortcut Group]
Exec=spcmd playpause

[Next Shortcut Group]
Exec=spcmd next

[Previous Shortcut Group]
Exec=spcmd previous

[Stop Shortcut Group]
Exec=spcmd stop



use 5.010;
use strict;
use warnings;
use File::Basename;
use Net::DBus;

# Figure out some dbus stuff
unless ( defined $ENV{'DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS'} ) {
#die "Don't know which dbus to attach to.\nMake sure environment variable DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS is set.";
#my $bus = Net::DBus->find;
my $bus = Net::DBus->session;
my $spotify = $bus->get_service("org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify");
my $player = $spotify->get_object("/org/mpris/MediaPlayer2", "org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player");
my $application = $spotify->get_object("/org/mpris/MediaPlayer2", "org.mpris.MediaPlayer2");
my $getorset = $spotify->get_object("/org/mpris/MediaPlayer2", "org.freedesktop.DBus.Properties");

# Handle command line argument
if (scalar @ARGV == 0) { &print_help; }
given ($ARGV[0]) {
# when ('play') { $player->Play(); } #Does not work for some reason.
when ('pause') { $player->Pause(); }
when ('playpause') { $player->PlayPause(); }
when ('next') { $player->Next(); }
when ('previous') { $player->Previous(); }
when ('stop') { $player->Stop(); }
when ('playstatus') { print $getorset->Get("org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player", "PlaybackStatus") . "\n"; }
when (m/\bspotify:(artist|album|track):[0-9a-zA-z]{22}\b/) { $player->OpenUri($_); }
when ('metadata-debug') { &print_debug_metadata; }
default { &print_help; }

# Print the help text
sub print_help {
print "USAGE: " . basename($0) . " {pause|playpause|next|previous|stop|playstatus|met adata-debug|<spotify URI>}\n\n";
print "\t" . "pause" . "\t\t" . "Causes spotify to pause current playback." . "\n";
print "\t" . "playpause" . "\t" . "Causes spotify to pause or play current playback." . "\n";
print "\t" . "next" . "\t\t" . "Goes to next song." . "\n";
print "\t" . "previous" . "\t" . "Goes to previous song." . "\n";
print "\t" . "stop" . "\t\t" . "Stops playback." . "\n";
print "\t" . "playstatus" . "\t" . "Prints current playstatus (Playing/Paused)." . "\n";
print "\t" . "<spotify URI>" . "\t" . "Starts playing supplied URI." . "\n";
print "\t" . "metadata-debug" . "\t" . "Shows available data on currently playing song." . "\n";
print "\t" . "\t\t" . "Fairly unformatted, thus \"debug\" data." . "\n";
print "\n";
print "EXAMPLES:\t" . basename($0) . " playpause" . "\n";
print "\t\t" . basename($0) . " spotify:track:5XXAq1r5r73ZyBS0XAiGw0" . "\n";


# Print some raw metadata
sub print_debug_metadata {
# Dereference the metadata hashref by copying it to a local hash
my %metadata = %{ $getorset->Get("org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player", "Metadata") };

# Print all metadata
print "Now Playing:\n";
for (keys %metadata) {
print $_ . ":\t" . $metadata{$_} . "\n" unless ($_ eq 'xesam:artist');

# Dereference the artist arrayref by copying it to local array
my @artistarray = @{ $metadata{'xesam:artist'} };

# Print all artists.
foreach my $artist (@artistarray) {
print "artist: \t" . $artist . "\n";

my $curruser = `whoami`; chomp $curruser;
my $procname = 'spotify';
my $pid = `pgrep -o -u $curruser $procname`; chomp $pid;
my $environ = '/proc/' . $pid . '/environ';
my $dbussession = `grep -z DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS $environ`; $dbussession =~ s/^DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS=//;

$ENV{'DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS'} = $dbussession;

spotify_cmd is a tool to control a running instance of Spotify under wine, it should work on Windows as well but have not been tested.

Download spotifycmd. Copy to Desktop. then

cd ~/Desktop/
tar -xvjf spotifycmd-0.5.tar.bz2 
sudo cp -r spotifycmd /usr/bin/

now use Exec=/usr/bin/spotifycmd/spotify_cmd.exe XXXX while creating quicklist.

Here XXXX is playpause, next, prev, stop, voldown, volup, etc.

for guide to create quicklist look at my answer

  • This answer is excellent!!!! I'm having problems with spotify_cmd.exe working though. It returns Can not find spotify, is it running? in terminal. This is the right track though! Jun 7, 2012 at 21:02
  • Oof, is there a native way?
    – MarkovCh1
    Jun 8, 2012 at 3:39
  • @Syzygy I didn't find one. :( Jun 8, 2012 at 4:22
  • hmmm - given the error - maybe you have to run the windows version of spotify under wine for this wine-based spotify_cmd to work.
    – fossfreedom
    Jun 9, 2012 at 13:07
  • @fossfreedom you are right. just checked source. it includes windows.h a library which provides Win32 API. Jun 9, 2012 at 13:30

Spotify will have a icon on the panel. Just click on that, and you get play, stop, pause, next etc (don't remember all). Not sure if that answers your question.

  • 2
    This question is asking how to put that functionality into Spotify's icon in the Unity launcher also. Jun 3, 2012 at 7:03
  • Ok, just me that misunderstood his question.
    – user66987
    Jun 3, 2012 at 15:37

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