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Rhythmbox isn't seeing all of my files. I have a library of music over 24,000 tracks all MP3's.

Rhythmbox sees 11,500 of them only.

This has been a problem for a while. I keep coming back to Rhythmbox as its integration with Ubuntu is so tight and I like that. But this problem is stopping me from using it.

I have tried Banshee, but the sound quality is tinny and horrible (hearing rumors of Banshee replacing Rhythmbox in 11.04 is giving me nightmares)

I used to use Songbird but it was always a bit buggy and they have now pulled Linux Support.

Exaile doesn't integrate well enough either. I tried Guaydeque, and it shows a lot of promise, but again its integration is horrible.

Is there a way to make Rhythmbox see all my MP3's or is there a music player with tight integration, great sound, good features, Gnome native and actively developed I can switch to?

Edit: I remember hearing somewhere it had to do with MP3 with variable bit rate?

Edit: answers to various comments:

Took a look and I can't see anything specifically the same about all the files that is different from the files it does see. But we are talking about over 10,000 files missing, to large a number for me to be able to draw any accurate conclusions in any timely fashion.

Not getting any error messages. All I did was set my music library folder to be the folder in Preferences and ticked the box to watch the library for new files. It works fine with every other media player I have tried, but every time I try Rhythmbox (several times now over the last couple of years) it fails to get a the majority of my tracks.

My files are all on one external drive in one folder which than has subfolders for each artists and sub folders in those for each album. But that's as far as it goes for multiple locations, ie its not really multiple locations and no symbolic links.

This has been happening across several clean installs across several version of Ubuntu.

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  • Is there anything in common with the files that RB ignores?
    – Isaiah
    Oct 22, 2010 at 4:01
  • I am not even sure they are all variable bit rate. All other music players I have tried have detected all the files without problems though Oct 22, 2010 at 4:02
  • Took a look and I can't see anything specifically the same about all the files that is different from the files it does see. But we are talking about over 10,000 files missing, to large a number for me to be able to draw any accurate conclusions in a any timely fashion. Oct 22, 2010 at 4:08
  • Do you get any import errors? Maybe some files are corrupted or for another reason cause errors when importing?
    – JanC
    Oct 22, 2010 at 4:34
  • No error messages. All I did was set my music library folder to be the folder in Preferences and ticked the box to watch the library for new files. It works fine with every other media player I have tried, but every time I try Rhythmbox (several times now over the last couple of years) it fails to get a the majority of my tracks. Oct 22, 2010 at 5:13

5 Answers 5

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I had a similar problem with Rhythmbox. I don't have nearly the number of files you have, but it was not seeing new files or changed files. I did the following:

  1. In Preferences --> Music, I unchecked "Watch my Library for new files".
  2. Completely closed Rhythmbox (important).
  3. Renamed the rhythmbox database - ~/.local/share/rhythmbox/rhythmdb.xml
  4. Started up Rhythmbox and checked "Watch my Library for new files".
  5. It started checking my collection and found everything.

It seems that my problem was an issue with the configuration file. I had reinstalled Rhythmbox, but had not done a complete uninstall. This left a corrupted configuration file in my Rhythmbox sub-directory. You may want to try this if it's possible that you have a corrupted configuration file.

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  • Thanks, I'll give it a try. But I don't think that's the issue as this has been happening across several clean installs across several version of Ubuntu. Oct 22, 2010 at 9:41
  • I removed the folder ~/.local/share/rhythmbox altogether and reloaded rhythmbox, then rhythmbox was able to find all the files. Thanks. May 19, 2015 at 5:53
  • That helped me too! Thanks! I think in initial scanning I closed Rhythmbox before task was finished and that could have corrupted db.
    – TusharG
    Dec 5, 2016 at 15:13
  • @AshG Please ensure you close Rythmbox according to step 2 before proceeding to step 3.
    – Dawoodjee
    Jun 24, 2018 at 21:44
  • This solution worked for my newly installed Ubuntu
    – Dawoodjee
    Jun 25, 2018 at 19:10
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There are two elements to Rhythmbox noticing files: the inotify watches on all the subdirectories (which may have hit a maximum, check /proc/sys/fs/inotify/max_user_watches, but it should be very high, higher than the number of directories you probably have), and the other is the file type detection that GStreamer is seeing.

Try to see if there are differences from GStreamer's perspective of the file. You can use gst-typefind to do this. A report like this may be useful to help track it down:

find /path/to/files -type f -print0 | xargs -0 gst-typefind
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It is possible that using a symbolic link or using multiple locations could be "confusing" Rhythmbox. I've got around 10.000 songs and they are all present and accounted for. But they weren't all there until I used the absolute paths to the files. That's the worst thing about Rhythmbox - no file browser.

As a side note, I don't know how you store your music, but you can set multiple library locations with the gconf-editor under apps --> Rhythmbox --> library_locations.

To see if the files are the problem rather than Rhythmbox being the issue check out the File Browser plugin. It won't let you browser your entire file system, but it will let you browser your configured music directory by file rather than relying on Rhythmbox to read the tags. You can find it here (w/instructions): http://www.webupd8.org/2010/09/folderview-rhythmbox-plugin-to-browse.html

I don't see the point of this plugin personally, but I've tried it and it does work; in your case it would likely be useful.

If your looking for a good alternative with file browsing capability and so on, I've been using Clementine a lot. It's easily my favorite Linux player (but I still use Rhythmbox too!). You can check it out here: http://code.google.com/p/clementine-player/

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  • My files are all on one external drive in one folder which than has subfolders for each artists and sub folders in those for each album. BUt that's as far as it goes for multiple locations, ie its not really multiple locations and no symbolic links. Oct 23, 2010 at 0:44
  • Yeah, that's how mine are set up too. It was worth a shot though.
    – Deadite81
    Oct 23, 2010 at 3:42
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For me the answer was to close Rhythmbox and run the following (Xenial):

apt install gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad
rm ~/.local/share/rhythmbox/rhythmdb.xml

This installs some additional GStreamer plugins (also try gstreamer1.0-plugins-ugly) and then deletes the Rhythmbox music database so it will re-check the files the next time.

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  • I was having trouble with the standard ubuntu rhythmbox (crashed while trying to load songs from my Music folder). I installed the latest version via PPA and I wasn't able to even get a reaction this time. At last, gstreamer plugins ugly worked for me with this latest build. Apr 10, 2019 at 12:48
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i run into this every time! i reinstall or upgrade linux on several computers quite a bit over a decades time.in the default preferences,the audio format is OOG. click 3 horizontal bars at top right.click preferences.click music tab. change the music format preference to mp3. the other 2/3 of my music is now included.they are ALL mp3's.go figure! 28GB's >2700 songs.adjust all the tabs/ settings as needed for the rest of you.nothing even close to your size library.there may be a limit to the software.do you have at least 8GB ram memory.is it maxed out? linux is pretty frugal.the browser is pretty ram intensive though. this should work for most people.success to everyone.

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