Music Player Review: Music Player Daemon Explored

So, two Music Player Daemon (MPD) clients made it through my first review waves. Which was then followed by a “face off” or two. I generally try to make my reviews geared towards people who don’t want to have to do technical things to make music play. Music Player Daemon likely requires editing 1 text file and possibly restarting a service or two. If that scares you, read at least the next two Q&As before running on your way.

What is a daemon?
A daemon is an application that runs without a user directly seeing it (in the background) but that other applicatins the user can see ask it to do things for them.

So… What is a Music Player Daemon?
An application that organizes and plays your music, that can be controlled through various applications that you can actually see and use. All MPD clients get to use the same music library and control what is currently playing (yes you can open more than one client at the same time!)

Wait.. What about the applications that I can see?
Sonata – “An elegant music client for MPD.” Here is the info screen. It seems to follow a KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) philosophy. Sonata works (or should) out of the box if you have MPD locally set up and working.


Ario – “GTK Client for MPD” – Yes they have a technical tag line, bah! However it does win on features. Here is the Ario info screen:Ario-Info
The “Currently Playing” can always be shown in the bottom pane. Here is where Ario wins.. umm.. some cake:Ario-Cool Options
As well Ario has a bunch of other cool features (more than Sonata).

Memory Usage (just so you saw wow compared to some others):
MPD – 11.1 MiB (which really should be added to the one you are using)
Sonata – 16.6 MiB (respectable – 27.7 in total)
Ario – 4.8 Mib (wow…)

Of course MPD clients require a bit more config. Let’s get you installed and running Ario!
First install mpd
Then install Ario || or install Sonata

Hold ALT with F2. Then Copy in: gksudo gedit /etc/mpd.conf
Change the 8th line

music_directory “/var/lib/mpd/music/”

to point to wherever your music is stored, such as

music_directory “/home/your-username/Music”

Then save it. By default all users on the machine will get access to play music from the collection. (You can also enable remote access)

Then, hopefully just start up Ario and get playing 🙂

The music applet (add to your gnome panel) can also control MPD directly, so you can actually close all the other MPD clients after setting up a playlist and just control it through that!

But still, I’m not sure if MPD is ready for the non-technical user, so I am going to exclude it from the rest of the review, for now. Please do share your thoughts if you think otherwise. If you are a non-techie and love, I’d love to hear that.

Who’s left? Amarok, Banshee, gmusicbrowser, Videolan Client, Quod Libet, Exaile, Rhythmbox

7 thoughts on “Music Player Review: Music Player Daemon Explored”

  1. >Very cool looking players. I hope Banshee will get the header improved like that.

    Too bad they're a bit more tricky to set up.

  2. >You're better off running mpd as your own user. For one, it's the only real way for it to connect to pulseaudio, since that really dislikes if another user wants to access your instance of the sound server.

    It could probably be gotten around, but configuring it would be far more difficult than just running as your user.

  3. >Unfortunately I'm not a non-techie person, but I did start using MPD quite early in my exploration of Linux.

    Anyway, I would just like to add that MPD is great on media centres. Many nowadays build their own ones. Since options for mini-PC are far greater and cheaper than ever before more folks build one.

    On top of MPD you can also run different Webb solutions. Some are only designed to control MPD at its location while others use MPD as a back-end for streaming.

    If somebody thinks MPD looks too much, I would recommend them to at least give it a try. After some time you'll find all kinds of possibilities of how to use it.

  4. >It should be possible for Ubuntu to ship (or have in the repositories) versions of Ario, Sonata and other MPD's GUIs that are already configured for easy installation: running as your own user, using by default the music folder, etc.
    And let the techies dive into more advanced configurations of MPD.

  5. >If you ever figure out how to make mpd share the audio device with the currently logged-in user, tell the world!

    I consider myself a techie user, and I failed, after many attempts and RTFMing of both the mpd wiki and the pulseaudio wiki.

  6. >@Anonymous, dcruz, marius gedminas
    I oddly never did realize the MPD did this. There are several options, the one I would likely choose would be uninstalling pulseaudio :P.

    @KimTjik – Agreed, MPD is powerful. Glad to hear it is working well for you.

  7. >@Marius: I have in /etc/mpd.conf (among other config):

    audio_output {
    type "pulse"
    name "PulseAudio Output"

    …and it works flawlessly (in the sense that I can make hideous noise by playing YouTube videos and mpd audio simultaneously).

    MPD has kept me (to some extent) out of those ugly debates about Rhythmbox vs. Banshee as a default audio player. I like that it is low-fuss. I agree about setup—perhaps some utility could maintain symlinks from /var/lib/mpd/music/ to each user's XDG music directory (/home/$USER/Music or similar).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *