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linux music playerUse a simple music player for Linux. Drag your music files into the program, hit play, listen and enjoy. If you feel like modern music players do way more than what you’re looking for, Audacious could be what you need.

It is, in many ways, similar to Winamp circa 1998; it even supports Winamp themes from that era. Die-hard Linux users will also note the similarity to XMMS, one of the original Linux music players. Whether you’re feeling nostalgic or not however, Audacious is a solid music player that every Linux user should check out at least once for its reliability and its ease of use.

Software like iTunes or Banshee (the default music player for Ubuntu 11.04 Ubuntu 11.04 Unity - A Big Leap Forward For Linux Ubuntu 11.04 Unity - A Big Leap Forward For Linux It's here. The newest version of Ubuntu sports an entirely new user interface: Unity. It also includes a much-improved Software Center, alongside the usual updates for the thousands of free programs Ubuntu offers. Canonical decided... Read More ), with their libraries, videos and endless other features, are great for some. Others find this sort of software gets in the way when it comes to enjoying music, particularly if you already organized your music in folders. For them, Audacious is perfect. We mentioned it briefly during our review of great alternative Linux music players 5 Great Alternative Linux Music Players 5 Great Alternative Linux Music Players Read More , but Audacious is worth another look and a brief instructional.

Basic Music Player

Fire up Audacious and you’ll be greeted with a simple GTK interface:

linux music player

This doesn’t take much to get started; just add music and go. You can click-and-drag stuff over from your file browser or use the “+” button to add music. Playback is easy from here.


You can, using the “Playlist” menu item, add multiple playlists. These will be stored in separate tabs, making it easy to switch from one list to another. It’s worth exploring the settings, however. The plugins panel particularly includes a lot of options:

music player for linux

Whether you want scrobbling or crossfading, you can find what you’re looking for here. These plugins are typically installed when you set up Audacious but not enabled, so explore. You can find more plugins on the Audacious website.

Another section of the settings worth checking out, of course, is the support for Winamp themes. in the main menu bar. Click “View” followed by “Interface“. You’ll see the option for using Winamp themes. Click it and Audacious will start to look different:

music player for linux

A few changes happened, of course. The menubar is gone, and so are the tabbed playlists. Don’t panic; everything is a right-click away. Want to change how this looks even more? Head to the settings again; you’ll find an interface tab where you can pick skins. You’ll even find the old default XMMS skin.

Using Winamp Skins

You’re not limited to the included skins, however. You can also install old Winamp themes. There’s no GUI for doing this; you need to extract the skin files and put them in the right folder.

To start, download your favorite Winamp theme from yesterday. I found the Winamp skin site a mixed bag; many of the themes there are “modern” and as such can’t work here. There are a variety of classic skins at Wherever you get your theme, the file you’ll end up with will be an archive with the file extension “.wsz”. Unarchive it, and drag the folder you get to this folder:


The “~”, if you didn’t know, refers to your home folder. Not sure how to get to that folder? Open your file browser, then click “ctl” and “h” to show hidden files. Everything should be easy after that. Once you install themes they should show up in Audacious, but you may need to restart the program.

linux music player

Here are just a few skins I like:

  • Super Mario Bros Remix
  • Winamp 3 Default skin
  • Handwritten
  • Fire Elemental

Have fun recommending your own in the comments below; it’s a retro thing to do but kind of fun.

Download Audacious Now

Ready to install Audacious? Check your package manager for a download; it’s there somewhere. Be sure to install the plugins package too. Ubuntu and Debian users can simply click here to install Audacious and its plugins right now.

What do you think of this somewhat old-school Linux music player? Leave your thoughts below, or just wax nostalgic about how great software used to be back in the day. Then tell the neighbor kids to get off your lawn.

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  1. Tim Brookes
    July 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Looks good and reminds me of old school Winamp, my player of choice way back before the bloat.

    • jhpot
      July 26, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      WinAmp before the bloat is pretty much what this is.

  2. lxskllr
    July 22, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Audacious is alright. I went through most of the music players available for Linux, and settled on DeaDBeeF. It's very similar to an early version of Foobar2000, and is under active development. It does everything I need, without a bunch of fluff, or weight.

  3. Nomats427
    July 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm