Use your computer’s media keys to control Pandora, Google Music, Grooveshark or any other major online music player in Chrome – regardless of whether you’re using Chrome right now or not. Whether you’re a Mac user wanting to use your media keys for something besides iTunes or a Windows user wanting something to do with those buttons included on your keyboard, try Chrome extension Unity Music Media Keys.
It’s been a long time since music mostly lived on people’s desktops – services like Google Music allow you to upload all of your music and listen using your browser, while Pandora, Grooveshark and a lot of other services give you access to music online. This variety is great, but you generally can’t use the media keys built into your keyboard or laptop to pause music.
It’s a first world problem, sure, but it’s an annoying one – to pause your music, you need to open your browser, find the proper tab, then hit the pause button. It’s especially annoying when you want to quickly talk with someone without missing a moment of your music. Unity Media Keys solves the problem, assuming your computer has media keys. “Never hunt for which tab is playing your music again!”, to quote the extension’s download page.
Sorry Linux users – this plugin’s not for you, at least yet.
Using Unity Media Music Keys
Once you install Unity Media Music Keys it starts working, immediately. Open an approved music site and you can start using your media keys to pause, play or skip tracks.
You can also quickly control your music from Chrome’s icon dock:
The above example, from Pandora, even includes the thumbs up/down buttons used by that service to rate music. It’s a great way to quickly show (dis)approval for a track.
Currently Supported Sites
According to Unity Media Music Keys, the following online music services are all supported:
- Google Music
- Amazon Cloud Player
- Soundcloud (buggy)
- iHeart Radio
- YouTube (very beta, and only on youtube.com)
It’s quite a list, and it’s sure to grow, so check documentation to see if more sites are added.
Are you a Last.FM user? With Unity Music Media Keys you can send the songs you play in all of the above services to the web’s most popular music tracker. Just head to the settings page for the extension and you’ll see the option.
Install Unity Music Media Keys
Ready to install Unity Music Media Keys? Find it in the Chrome Web Store. You’ll be rocking your tunes in no time.
Mac – iTunes Keeps Launching
Mac users, you may occasionally be annoyed by iTunes insisting on launching when you press the pause/play button. This is because iTunes is a megalomaniac, and cannot conceive of a universe wherein you would press that button without wanting it to launch. Don’t worry though, there’s a simple way to humble iTunes. Just download this package and run the script, or read more about the problem (and solution) on SuperUser.com.
This plugin makes services like Pandora and Google Music slightly more usable, and that’s a very good thing. Controlling your music from your computer’s media buttons makes web music players feel native, at least in one way. This is one Chrome extension I recommend anyone who uses such services regularly install.
Do you know of any other tools web music fans should check out? Share them in the comments below, along with any thoughts about Unity Music Media Keys.