Top 6 Ways To Get Your iTunes Experience On Linux

Danny Stieben 05-04-2015

As you’re getting used to Linux (potentially as your new main operating system), you’ll eventually try to find a way to efficiently manage your music. iTunes comes to mind because it’s been the most popular way to manage music over the years, but you’ll quickly find out that iTunes isn’t available natively on Linux. Plus, better ways exist to manage your music now that it’s 2015.


However, that doesn’t automatically mean that you won’t be able to manage your music the way you want to. There’s plenty of other ways to keep tabs on your music library. Here’s six great ways to get it done.

iTunes via WINE

Even if iTunes isn’t available in Linux as a native application, you can still try to get it to work under WINE Run Windows Applications on Linux (or Mac) With WINE Read More or PlayOnLinux. These pieces of software try to add a compatibility layer so that Windows applications work on Linux, but the results are far from perfect. Therefore, not all Windows applications will run with WINE  but it’s still worth a try.

Each version of iTunes can give you different results, but the general process is as follows:

  1. Install WINE
  2. Run the iTunes installer via WINE
  3. Google and try to solve any problems you come across.

Again, you might come across issues somewhere along the way which cannot be solved, such as the installer failing or the installed application refusing to run. That’s just how it is with WINE.

If you really want to use iTunes and you happen to luck out with WINE, then that’s great. However, if you’d rather use a native Linux application or WINE didn’t work for you, then there are options here as well. Several “music library manager” programs are available to give you a quick oversight of your music and play it directly in the application, as well as make playlists.



If you use KDE, then I’d recommend Amarok. It has plenty of features to manage your music Control The Music Your Way With Amarok [Linux] Music players come a dime a dozen on any operating system, and it's easy to lose sight of those that are actually worth something. Amarok is probably one of the most feature-rich music players I've... Read More and tight desktop integration with KDE. It also has useful features such as Last.FM integration, file tracking, dynamic playlists, and script support. It can even pull up biographies of artists as you play their songs.


If you use GNOME or any GTK-based desktop environment (they’re quite common), then I’d recommend Banshee as a full-featured music library manager 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 . It has a very similar feature set as Amarok, including Last.FM integration, Internet radio support, podcast support, and much more. Amarok and Banshee are really among the top two choices, so which one you choose should depend on which desktop environment you’re using (for integration’s sake).


Rhythmbox as a more lightweight music library alternative Play & Manage Your Music Collection With Rhythmbox [Linux] Music 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... Read More that is best used on GTK-based desktop environments. However, it still has quite a few features. You also get Last.FM support here, plus gapless playback and integration with various other applications such as Nautilus, XChat, and Pidgin.


Another application called Clementine also gets my recommendation with its clean and intuitive interface. It has tons of support for third-party services such as Spotify, Digitally Imported, and Dropbox. There’s also an Android app you can use as a remote control for Clementine. Clementine is cross-platform Need A Lightweight Music Player Without Sacrificing Features? Clementine! [Cross-Platform] Sometimes you don’t really know what you want until you’re holding it in your hands. There are not-so-resource-intensive music players out there that are bland and there are monster RAM hogs that provide tons of... Read More and available for Windows and Mac OS X.


They all are excellent at managing and playing your music. The only downside to all of these is that there is no iOS device integration, and there’s currently no modern application that can do that. However, iOS has received enough improvements that it’s virtually unnecessary to connect it to a computer anymore.

Google Play Music

Lastly, if none of those applications satisfy your needs, you can take a look at Google Play Music. This online service acts as a music library manager that can play your music, but it also has some extra benefits. You can upload all your music to it and have access on any device connected to the Internet. That also means that you won’t have to sync your music between your computer and your mobile device (no matter if Android or iOS) because you have access to Google Play Music from both. If you want to expand your library you can get the All Access subscription, but it’s not a requirement. You can use it simply as a music library completely free for up to 20,000 songs.

Wot, no Spotify?!

The only reason why I don’t mention Spotify is that, although it’s also a great way to access and listen to music, it doesn’t really let you manage your own music. You can’t upload trakcs to Spotify  you have to listen to what they give you. Albeit they give you a lot, but it’s nonetheless a different mechanism.

You Have Options

With these six options, you should be able to get iTunes-like functionality on your desktop. These options focused mainly on managing and playing your music library, but if there are any other features that you need from iTunes, other Linux-native applications can take care of those needs.


What music applications do you regularly use on Linux? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: cartoon Penguin Via Shutterstock

Related topics: Google Play, iTunes, Linux, Wine.

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  1. Uche
    March 3, 2020 at 12:26 am

    Can't compare fish and crayfish. iTunes is not just a music player but a media player as it plays videos as well as organising them as movie, music videos and TV shows. The only match for iTunes in Linux is Kodi. The only one that comes close to it in the list is banshee. Banshee can play both audio and video but I have not gotten it to install. More so it have been removed from Debian repository.

  2. WhoGivesADuck
    August 30, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Sadly, those are terrible alternatives.

    Noise, aka "Music" from elementary OS is the only music player that gets close to iTunes. It should be on top of that list !
    It can be installed on Ubuntu and Debian quite easily using Elementary's PPA.

  3. Tony
    March 23, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    This article is incorrect in reference to Spotify. You can indeed upload your own tracks to Spotify and sync/listen/stream them as you would its natively available music.

  4. The Big E
    May 14, 2015 at 3:55 am

    I have a dual boot and sometimes I am able to play my itunes library (installed on my windows partition) from a program in Linux. The trouble is it doesn't see the albums as collections so you can only do one song at a time.

  5. Fred
    April 20, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Try noise from elementary os.

    • Danny Stieben
      April 30, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      I'll need to try that next time I take a look at Elementary OS. Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. trip
    April 17, 2015 at 4:17 am

    amazing that Guayadeque is not mentioned here, it does as much as any of these apps and is very light on resource usage. it's got a pretty ugly logo, but it's the power user's choice for sure, with it's many features, options and configs.

    Guayadeque is by far the best linux music player by far, imho.

    • Danny Stieben
      April 30, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      I'll need to check it out. Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. jelabarre
    April 10, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I had hoped this would be an article about how to get the iTunes client working under Wine or Crossover Office. The one major problem with all these Linux-native apps is that you can't use them to buy from the iTunes store. That requires the actual iTunes application itself, because Apple doesn't 1: let you buy media through their website or 2: make an Android client. Mind you, the only reason I was even concerned about using iTunes at all was because I got a $50 itunes gift card for my birthday, with no way to use it. Eventually my option was to install it on the Win10 tech preview I'm evaluating (need to keep familiar with it, even if I don't use it for myself). I've bought all of *one* album with it.

  8. KT
    April 9, 2015 at 2:07 am

    WINE with PLAYONLINUX is a pretty easy one to set up.

    • Heinrich
      June 25, 2019 at 6:47 pm

      4 years now, it still does not work yet. What are you talking about?

  9. Ant
    April 8, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    How about local backups on local computers?

  10. robbh
    April 8, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Logitech Media Server (aka Squeezebox). Access to your local collection plus Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, etc. Some of these outside sources depend on third-party plugins that can be buggy, however. Can be used with Squeezebox hardware, but software can make nearly any computer a virtual Squeezebox, as well as Android phones and tablets. (Sorry, I don't know about other mobile platforms.) A great basis for a whole house music system.

  11. littlenoodles
    April 7, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    What about using Linux to update an actual iPod? I've been using gPodder to download podcasts and gtkPod to sync them with an old iPod mini. Both work - both are confusing as hell, and not all that reliable. I know Amarok claims to have ipod and podcast integration, but it does it via addons - which are confusing in the way only the best KDE apps can be (and I'm a KDE user). In any case, I've never been able to get Amarok to do the job.

  12. dgrb
    April 7, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    I prefer to use the software I was born with, as I've yet to encounter a program which will organise my music the way I want it organised.

    And then play it with something minimalist like XMMS which doesn't try to impose its authors ideas on me.

  13. fanel
    April 7, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    You forgot about gmusicbrowser, it has many features other players don't

  14. Thomas
    April 7, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Well, the Spotify desktop client lets you play your local files. Just add the directory in the preferences.

  15. Lana Spires
    April 7, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    No mention of mpd? We use mpd as a server and ario as a client. On our phones, mpdroid. It's networked, is easy to set up and there's a command line client I use to bind my multimedia keys to control the server over the network using a python script. It also has the advantage of (with mpdroid running) when I get a phone call, the music pauses.

  16. MadcapJake
    April 7, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    gmusicbrowser works really well for me and has tons of customization including a copy of the itunes layout.

    But I'm really excited for Gnome Music to start working better cus it looks really slick! Just crashes on my large library. :(

  17. Legal Wrangle
    April 7, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Google Play's free storage limit has now been upped from 20k songs to 50k.

  18. muss60
    April 6, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    I use Clementine as local native app in ubuntu but I have started to use "Amazon Music" more. While you cannot download complete album in one hit on Linux it does let you song by song. Downside will not let you upload if you run Linux os. I use this as most albums on cd purchsed through Amazon have a mp3 copy stored in Amazon Music for free. It also will recognise your locally stored music and make it available through Amazon Music player. I use it on desktop via Ffox and or Chrome and on android via application.

  19. Manuel
    April 6, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    I'm using Tomahawk at the moment and I'm pretty satisfied with it. I find the GUI and features (or lack of them out of the box) more appealing than the other options out there.

  20. JonGl
    April 5, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    My choice is Google Play--and I'm still on my Mac. I moved all my music over--even protected music, apparently, is accessible. I guess Google knows the album and track name, and just plays something from their own collection. I pay $7 a month and get access to everything on Play, and I have it on all my devices, regardless of OS, etc. I suppose the downside is that I need a data connection, but so far, this has never been a problem. The upside is that my 16gb phone has no music stored on it, which leaves space for other, more important things. Since moving my files to Play Music, I almost never launch iTunes any more. (I have Play Music extensions for Chrome that I use to listen on my Mac.)