What music players do I recommend on linux?

With the disappointing news that the much needed visual refresh is on hold, I got to thinking about music players and which ones I tend to recommend.

I have used a lot of music players on linux, some good and some not so good. Rhythmbox was the first, then I jumped to Banshee when Ubuntu made it the default application in 2011. I wasn’t nearly as upset at that as a lot of people were because Banshee was a great application. My next music player was Guayadeque which may be my favourite linux music player to date. Sadly it does not seem to be actively developed any more. In the recent past I have hopped around different music players and have a handful that I recommend people try.


Lollypop is to me what a modern Rhythmbox should be. It looks modern, has a great feature set and fits nicely with the Gnome/GTK desktop paradigm. It can be slow to load large collections but still faster than Rhythmbox. The random album feature alone makes it great. One click and it gives you a list of random albums from your collection to play, a great way to rediscover albums you may not have heard in a while.

Quod Libet

If you want a lightweight, customisable GTK music player that can follow a traditional UI paradigm (or be changed to look like other players), you can’t go far wrong with Quod Libet. It handles large libraries effortlessly in my experience and comes, in my opinion, the best metadata editor of any native linux music player in Ex Falso. It is also very extensible and comes with quite a library of plug ins to add more functionality like a waveform seekbar or the feature to play a random album in full from your library.


If KDE/Qt is your thing and you want a music player to fit in with your KDE desktop then Elisa is the music player I recommend. It looks nice and modern and handles decently sized libraries well. Not the most featureful of players but it works well.


Another Qt based music player and one for those who prefer the Rhythmbox UI paradigm. It is designed to be light and leave a small footprint on your system, and it achieves that goal. It handles large libraries like a breeze and packs a fair few features despite the small footprint.


Not one for new or non technical users who just want a solution that works, but if you are a terminal junkie and/or a massive nerd this is the music playing solution for you. MPD is actually a music server so it won’t play your music by itself. It needs a front end and while there are GUI solutions available I have always found them pretty clunky so when I used it I stuck with NCMPCPP. I stopped using it because I spent too much time customising it and less time listening to music.


A bit out of left field this one since it isn’t even a native application; but some wonderful individual made it work with WINE and packaged it as a snap application, and it works great. Foobar is legendary in music player lore so I don’t need to explain it but suffice to say that if you are coming from Windows and miss Foobar, “there is a snap for that”. I am currently using this on my linux PC and it is good.