Play & Manage Your Music Collection With Rhythmbox [Linux]

Danny Stieben 13-09-2012

manage music collection linuxMusic is a way of life for a lot of people, and their music collections often reflect that to a massive degree. We all enjoy our music, and should be able to keep tabs with what music we have. This requires a good program that can easily organize our music so that perfect song is only a short distance away.


Or maybe you’d like to be able to manage your music in other ways, such as creating playlists? Whatever your needs may be, it’d be ideal to take care of it all using just one program.

About Rhythmbox

manage music collection linux

Rhythmbox is one of the most popular music players available for Linux. Currently, its alternatives include Banshee Banshee 2.0 – A Comprehensive Media Player, Streamer & Podcast Tool [Linux] The Banshee media player was first released in early 2005 and has since come on leaps and bounds. Probably the closest thing Linux has to iTunes, Banshee comes with an integrated music store, Internet radio,... Read More , Clementine Clementine - A Simple Cross Platform Alternative Music Player Read More , and more. Rhythmbox is the default music player for a number of popular distributions, and is commonly found alongside the Gnome desktop environment. In fact, if you installed Ubuntu 12.04 4 Things You'll Love About Ubuntu 12.04 The new version of Ubuntu–12.04, codename "Precise Pangolin"– is officially here. 12.04 improves on Unity's strengths, and addresses some of your old complaints. It's fast, includes new features desktop users will love, and, as always,... Read More , you can find it integrated in the Sound menu. It’s also fairly feature-rich without making the experience too complicated.

Playing Songs

When you first launch Rhythmbox (and even every new launch after that), it’ll automatically look through your Music folder to see what songs it can add. If you can play a song on any other player which uses system codecs – also called GStreamer plugins – Rhythmbox will add it to your library. From here on out, you can search by genre, artist, or album to find the song(s) you want to play.

You can also import other folders for Rhythmbox to look through, and support for playlists exists as well. There are even three smart playlists, which include your top rated songs, recently added songs, and recently played songs.


Other Features

Playing your music library isn’t the only thing Rhythmbox can do, however. It also offers support for podcasts, so all you have to do is add the podcast feed and it’ll automatically check for new podcasts and download them when available. You can even add Internet radio stations to play through Rhythmbox.

manage music collection

Rhythmbox also has support for plugins, which can easily add functionality or establish connections to third party services. You can see as well as as available services. Through the plugin infrastructure, you can also go to the Ubuntu One Ubuntu One: An Unknown But Worthy Contender In Cloud Storage Just a little over a week ago, a lot of news was made in the world of personal cloud storage, where Dropbox added more sharing features, SkyDrive introduced their new synchronization application for desktops, and... Read More music store (in Ubuntu only) and the Magnatune store.


manage music collection linux


When you go into the settings, you’ll find a couple of nifty features to configure. You can choose what view configuration should be displayed for the song browser, which columns of information should be shown about songs in the area below the browser, whether there should be a crossfade between songs and for how long, where Rhythmbox should look for new music files, and how often it should check for new podcasts and where it should download them to.


To install Rhythmbox in case you don’t have it, you should easily be able to find it in your respective package manager under the “rhythmbox” package name. Ubuntu users can use the command line and run sudo apt-get install rhythmbox to install it, while Fedora users can use sudo yum install rhythmbox.


Overall, Rhythmbox is a very useful program that gets the job done reliably. Ubuntu had Rhythmbox as its default music player since its early days, but switched to Banshee for a few releases before returning back to Rhythmbox. Give it a try as it should work well for you.

What’s your favorite music player for Linux? Why do you like it the most? Let us know in the comments!


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  1. Bipop
    December 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Once I change the details of a song using rhythmbox it does not stay part of the songs if I play it in another application. For example if I transfer this song to my phone the details are not saved.

  2. Declan Lopez
    September 21, 2012 at 3:15 am

    you can also manage your music collection on your ipod with rhythmbox

  3. Michael
    September 18, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I tried Rhythmbox, but completely purged it from my system after fighting to load a simple directory of music. Why do its designers assume that all music will be properly tagged, named or whatnot is beyond me. I have gigabytes of perfectly well organized music using good plain old and simple directories and files and I've been more than happy just loading them like that for years with various other players. I then tried Amarok, it seemed a bit big on the Gnome 2 desktop, but it played and worked quite nicely. However, once I moved to Unity, it seemed to have even further grown in size again and would crash my system. I recently discovered a nice one called Exaile, which aims to be a real alternative to Amarok on Gnome. That's what I use now. So far so good.

    • Danny Stieben
      September 19, 2012 at 1:40 am

      Amarok only seems like a very large program because it depends on KDE libraries, so every time you install it, you're also downloading all of its KDE requirements.

  4. Dexter Smith
    September 13, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    This is one of my most favorite programs ever.

  5. Paul Forbing
    September 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I have been streaming directly from my Google Music page. I haven't used any Linux players for music yet. I wouldn't mind seeing one being able to pull from a Google Music library.

    • Danny Stieben
      September 19, 2012 at 1:39 am

      Have you looked at this? [Broken Link Removed]

  6. 573d1210d64cc82ed1979188e3b9622a
    September 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    i prefer km or vlc player but thanks for the info

  7. Timothy Liem
    September 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I'd prefer VLC as Rhytmbox sometimes just too feature-rich. Amarok and Banshee too. all I want is just play the folder I specified. but as VLC on my machine doesn't support (at least I don't know how to configure it to) combination of Fn key + next key to play next song, I;m forced to use Amarok a few times.

    • Danny Stieben
      September 19, 2012 at 1:38 am

      That's pretty interesting, Timothy. I actually think that VLC is more feature-rich than Rhythmbox. However, you should use what you like the best!

  8. Miggs15
    September 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I think the best GNU/Linux audio players are Clementine and Amarok. However, I don't find myself using any of them much these days. I simply don't need the extra features so I use moc, a simple curses audio player.

  9. Ben Klaas
    September 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Sadly because of what work allows me to do, I haven't been dedicated linux-on-the-desktop for a few years (and at home, it's all squeezebox all the time). When I did spend my days on a linux desktop, Amarok was by far my software of choice for music. It at least used to be leaps and bounds above Rhythmbox. Amarok is the nicest music manager/player I've used on any OS.

    • Danny Stieben
      September 19, 2012 at 1:37 am

      What specific features made you prefer Amarok over Rhythmbox?

      • Ben Klaas
        September 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

        It's all in the UI for me. I think the Rhythmbox UI is very plain, but at the same time has too much stuff being thrown at the user at once. Amarok had a nice tabbed interface, a really nicely thought out drag-and-drop play queue, cool little extras like a tab to wikipedia so you could read about the artist you were listening to, etc. I also felt Rhythmbox was taking at least some cues from iTunes (worst music software ever), whereas the Amarok team seemed dead set on blazing their own trail.

        I disliked having to load KDE libraries on top of Gnome (which is what I was using back then), but thought Amarok was so much superior than Rhythmbox it was worth it.

        Full caveat that this was a few years ago, so things have probably changed. I know Amarok did a major respinning of things and I haven't tried it since that respin, and I'm sure Rhythmbox has matured (though I'd have to say based on the screenshots above my criticism of the UI design has not changed)

  10. Vishal Mishra
    September 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Overall Rhythmbox is good but sometime it gives problem in internet radio.