Top 10 Linux MP3 Players


There are no shortage of audio players in Linux. It has everything from command line MP3 players(mpg123) to RAM eating GUI players(like Amarok). With easily available codecs, linux supports almost all available formats.

This is the final post on a series about MP3 Players in linux. This series focuses on dedicated audio players – not video players that can handle audio as well(like mplayer). Without further ado, presenting the top 10 Linux MP3 players…

1. Amarok

Amarok Logo

amaroK is currently the player of my choice – it rocks. Everything I ever wanted in a MP3 Player and more. It is the clear winner in this field. In my opinion, there is nothing that beats amarok even if you look at Windows and Mac MP3 players as well.

Amarok Linux MP3 Player Screenshot

More Information on Amarok MP3 Player



A Winamp clone. Simple and user friendly, it is very popular on linux. It does not have a large feature set – but I am going to give it second place due to its popularity.

XMMS MP3 Audio Player Screenshot

Official Sites for XMMS Player

3. RhythmBox

RhythmBox Gnome Music Player Logo

Rhythmbox Music Player is a music player and library for tagged files, that support various music formats. It was inspired by Apple’s iTunes. Although it is designed to work well under the GNOME Desktop, I had no issues with it in KDE.

RhythmBox – Gnome Music Player

RhythmBox Media Player Screenshot

Official Sites

4. Exaile

Exaile MP3 Player Logo

Exaile is a music player aiming to be similar to KDE’s Amarok, but for GTK+ and written in Python. It incorporates many of the cool things from Amarok (and other media players)

Exaile – Music Player for Gtk+

Exaile Media Player Screenshot

Official Sites

5. Audacious

Audacious Logo

Audacious is not among the ‘star media-players’ in Linux – so many people never try it out. But those who have tried it out like it. For the sake of the article, I installed it – and I liked it. I even considered switching from amaroK to Audacious.

Audacious Media Player

Official Sites

6. Banshee

Banshee Music Player Logo

Banshee is an MP3 players for Gnome. You can import, organize, play, and share your music using Banshee’s simple, powerful interface.

Banshee – Music Management and Playback for GNOME

Banshee MP3 Player Screenshot

Banshee Official Sites

7. SongBird

SongBird MP3 Software Logo

SongBird is an MP3 player built on the XUL framework. It’s a desktop media player mashed-up with the Web.

SongBird – The Firefox of MP3 Players

Songbird Screenshot

Official Sites

8. Juk

Juk MultiMedia Player Logo

An audio jukebox that supports collections of MP3, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files. It is a part of the kdemultimedia package.


9. mpg123/mpg321

mpg123 is a fast, free, minimalist, console MPEG audio player software program for UNIX and Linux operating systems.

mpg123/mpg321 – The Command Line MP3 Players

Official Sites

10. Other MP3 Players and Media Software…

Instead of putting the last MP3 Player here, I am going to list the MP3 software that did not make it to the list…

So, which is your favorite MP3 Player? Leave a comment…

Update: I reviewed two more players…


  1. @Shankar Ganesh, @Ashish Mohta, @Nikesh Jauhari

    Thanks for the suggestions – I have not heard about those. I will try them out and add it to this list.

  2. Amarok is great when it doesn’t crash. Of course, it always crashes, so for me, Amarok kinda sucks. Great features, awesome interface, horrible stability.

    I also have used Rhythmbox. Its interface is a little clumsy.

    Hate to say it, but I haven’t found an mp3 player on Linux that’s as stable and easy to use as Winamp.

  3. Thanks for this nice list!

    But no matter how many players I try, I always switch back to Quod Libet. It’s very lightweight and yet has powerful library search, folder browsing capabilities, alarm, lullaby and much more stuff via plugins.

  4. Don’t forget Kaffiene. It is a simple media player that can be used to create playlists quite easily. You can even put music videos into the playlists if you please.

  5. @James, the top of this post says that this is a list of audio players only, not audio/video players.

    Also, +1 for mpd!

  6. I’m surprised Listen isn’t listed, it’s a fantastic Gtk player. Definitely worth trying out if you like amaroK.

  7. Great list, but you left out my number one. VLC player will do just about everything most of the above listed will do and more. It is easy to be unimpressed by it’s simple and tiny GUI, but it also plays videos in just about any format and will even make videos of your desktop just like the Istanbul application. The only thing it won’t do is surf the web like Songbird. It even plays .flv’s.

  8. so.. where’s mpd? I use mpd exclusively on my server and on my laptop with its beautiful client sonata ( mpd plays everything including streams and consumes not half the memory that all these heavy players need.

  9. “..I even considered switching from amaroK to Audacious…”

    Just don’t do it 🙂

    If I have enough RAM available and my system it’s not overloaded, I use Amarok, if it’s, I use Audacious, but I want audio + video, of course that I use the SUPER VLC.

  10. Using at work VCL, and Banshee at home – the best players I think =)
    But thanks for the list, may be will try out some other =)

  11. Another interesting audio program is Mixxx, which has some interesting features not included in the mainstream players such as speed control and reverse. The program itself has a very basic UI and supports (.aiff, .mp3, .ogg, & .wav).

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  13. Nice list, I think you should consider trying quod libet.. if you have a big collection and if you need to orginize it, it will be the best option

  14. I am looking for a mp3 player that just lets me open a directory and play the files inside it, with a minimal interface like PAUSE STOP PLAY on the system tray… I’ve tryed SoundBird (the closest to what I want in interface, but its “library” functions pisses me off), Audacious (it has a plugin to add an icon to the system tray, but it’s not enougth for me), and Rhythmbox (no comments…)
    Any suggestions?

  15. Good choices. Also keep an eye out for Entertainer – front/backend structured media player written in python. Development seems to be coming along nicely.

  16. I’ve tried almost all (with the only exception being Songbird) of the media players listed here, and I can tell you Amarok would be my favorite if the eq was more easily fetched, Exaile would be my second if it would stop crashing in Ubuntu, and the winner? Audacious- it’s slick, strong and does the job with a great eq system and interface.

  17. I’m really disappointed that Audacious only got 5th place as for me it is one of the bests. As a simple player, it really beats XMMS I think. AmaroK, Exaile and Rythmbox are far more advanced since they have options Audacious hasn’t, like library support, podcast support and many other stuffs, but I find them really “RAM eating” to quote your own words. AmaroK and Exaile even freeze my computer, which is quite not what I would call an old beater.

    As for me, I use Audacious, and Rythmbox occasionnaly (when I’m in totally random mood, or podcast mood).

    Great post anyway.

  18. heho, nice list – since i’m a linux noob, im still looking for the best player for me (im quite demanding)

    just wanted to say

    “Goggles Music Manager” seems to be worth a try

    though it hasn’t to much features now, (or maybe because) its lightweight and the basics really work perfectly 4 me

  19. Para mi el mejor es audacious, nunca truena, es ligereo, un verdadero clon de winamp y desde luego, fácil de manejar. Tambien el mpg123/321.

    For me, the best is audacious, never crash, is lightweight, it’s a winamp clon, and of course, easy to use. Also the mpg123/321 player

  20. Strongly disagree with what said about Amaroks. It looks cool but isn’t too configurable… at least I need too group tracks by folders, not albums – but I simply can’t. I wish to control track order (random, etc.) using a button, not a menu somwhere… I can’t. Also, randomization by albums is nice, but I also wan’t to do the same with folders…

    Look at foobar2000 under Windows, and you what I mean. Btw, “nothing can beat it” 🙂 Nothing offensive, but I do miss such features under Linux players.

  21. > group tracks by folders
    Add column called Directory and sort using it.

    > control track order (random, etc.) using a button
    Possible – there is a button in the status bar.

    I’m talking about Amarok 1.4 – not sure if these features are enabled in Amarok 2.

  22. I have to agree with Ilya, i tried every player in linux, cue support is missing in the vast majority, only audacious supports but i hate winamp, i still use foobar under wine, sadly it doesn’t support drag and drop.

    The most annoying thing is sorting by albums, i want folders, songbird is close to my needs but doesn’t synchronize with my mp3.

    Thinking in returning to windows only to use foobar2000, errr, i was only kidding 😉

  23. The fuzzy-search feature of ‘Yammi’, and the speed at which it can handle 30,000+ song libraries (both initial scan, and in use) makes it irreplaceable on my system. Even as it still uses KDE3.5 & hasn’t been supported for years.

  24. Hi,

    I enjoyed this site getting something new. The SuSE standards like the Amarok, Banshee, Juk all do badly SegFaults on my machine, the XMMS crashes for “Doublesize” and Audacious goes down when playing an 128 MP3 and trying to change the volume. Also the audio output plugins from audacious are heck.

    RhythmBox and Exaile do the job for my modern times.

    I currently run a SuSE 11.2 with some Packman updates (Gstreamer and so on) on an older K6 machine which has been trusted to be OK for many years.

    A Player I like very much and is not yet meantioned here ist the good old Alsaplayer. It is lean & mean and does the job and has went better with every version.

    If we come to the mpg123 player, we should also note the mp3blaster Player, which is about monolithic and really extremely rugged & stable. If no other plays, mp3blaster will still do. About the same, and a thing for the “vi” Fan is the cmus Player.

    keep it goin’

  25. Old amarok rocked, new is eh… more of gnu/unix idea – he doesnt support that many opts as former has, cause there are different apps for that (autotagging for example).

    I missed equalizer at first, but right now i don’t miss it – it wasnt such a big deal (xcept boosting basses at parties)

  26. I really like gmusicbrowser (in Ubuntu software center) for managing my library…tons of features though have to play around with it and can organize it however I like .. my favorite since the old Musicmatch (wish I could get Wine to run it!)

  27. Amarok # 1 ? No equilizer, cluttered interface, hopeless with podcasts and this is #1 ?

    Sorri I’m still looking for a stable, basic mp3 player for suse 11.2 KDE that actually works.

  28. I tried xmms and stopped immediately because they are bugging me with this ever annoying daemon-thing. How crazy a man must be to invent a daemon for a simple mp3-player – well that’s linux….

  29. mpg123 is the best. It is fast, its sound quality is best.

    $find -name “*.mp3” -exec mpg123 -C {} \;

    does the job for me. press ‘s’ / ‘space’ to pause, ‘f’ for next song, press ‘h’ for full list of control keys.

    mpg123 is the best and best and best.


  30. @dbbolton: Damn right! QuodLibet is the one! It lets me organize my music the way I want, that is, the way it’s organized in my music folders, and it plays it! That’s all I ask of a music player and it does it superbly!

  31. Just installed Audacious after trying (and failing) to get both Amarok and Rythmbox to recognise my (huge) collection of music in windows. Audacious plays it all….. nough said!

  32. Rhythm Box doesn’t seem to handle podcast subscriptions?

    SongBird has worked best all around for podcasts and playing music on my computer but can’t deal with Sansa Clip.

    I would love one piece of software that does all three tasks.

  33. I have to take it all back. SongBird for Linux has been dropped.

    Rhythm Box now doing podcasts just fine. Don’t know what changed….

  34. Thanks for the hints! Totem did it for me as long as I required no library management. To have it, I switched to Rythmbox, as it comes default with Linux Debian.

    Now I would like one to feed my iPod: any suggestion? (besides gtkPod)

  35. For me, foobar2000 is the best on windows. I couldn’t use itunes or windows media player because my library was far to large and neither would just play my music because anything they played they tried to add to their library and would eventually choke. And around the time my old laptop died, foobar eventually started having some stuttering when I would sort artists or other higher up tags, but that was easily fixed by telling it not to queue songs without a double click, which stopped the lag of it trying to queue several hundred songs at once. Also Itunes thought I didn’t know the names of the artists and decided to change some things. One band would have all of it’s tags under artist changed to someone else simply because one of the songs was named the same as the band it was changed into. A couple thousand tags were changed and when I would correct it it would change it back, it was a disaster so I uninstalled itunes immediately.

    Now when I started using ubuntu, I tried the default banshee, but it couldn’t handle my library and I encountered a similar problem to itunes with it attempting to keep track of the songs I listened to which would eventually mean trouble. So then I tried Clementine and it was okay, but it seemed to want to eat all memory, which was strange because I had heard it was lightweight when it came to resources, could be my system was weak, but I doubt anybody would consider 2 GB of ram usage to be lightweight. Foobar was what I would consider lightweight and I had a very large library then and a very strict id3 tagging philosophy with many custom tags even. I eventually decided to use a player that would play my music when I wanted to, without the hassle of it managing a large library. My library was scattered across five folders, each around 10 GB in size, and none of them were in any kind of order, other than music in music 2 I got before music in music 3 and so on. Foobar managed my library with tags, but the tags were pretty much irrelevant now. So I organized my music. It took long enough, but it was worth it. It’s so much easier to manage it yourself once it’s all organized. It just takes a couple minutes to add folder structure and keep the music organized. And much less time worrying about if a program will sabotage your hardwork. And because it’s already organized, I don’t need a program to keep a library. I like Audacious. It CAN play all 11705 of my songs if I were to get it to. It doesn’t have a tree view or anything. I just select a folder I want to play. I can select an individual album to play or I can right click/menu an artist’s folder to play the whole thing and right click and play. Or drag and drop queue. And sound quality is superb.

  36. Also I wanted to mention that Audacious has a gtk interface. It’s simple, looks like foobar’s starting interface, but cleaner. So if you don’t like winamp, or winamp like interfaces, you can use the gtk interface.

  37. You must try aTunes : to be discovered.
    Very nice (especially the full scrren mode )
    Manage large collections.

    I agree with you: Audacious is lighweight, very fast, and gets mosts of the really necessary features.

  38. Thanks, but this is useless to me, as I am not admin on my linux machine. I can’t install packages, and I can’t use makefiles because they inevitably try to install the software into system directories that I can’t write to. The only one I was able to install was the java-only version of mpg123, and that plays every file with so many clicks and pops that I can’t listen to it.

    Is there any linux MP3 player I can compile that provides config options to install and run EVERYTHING in a local directory?

  39. one to add to the list is Sox (sound eXchange here: )

    you can play, record, convert between many different audio types,introduce effects and even lay tracks backwards not to mention play icecast streams if libshoutcast is installed – all from the konsole/terminal/tty

  40. Great list. I just became a full time Linux user and I really missed winamp. Your review of the xmms player was just what the doctor ordered. I now feel completely at home with my Linux box. Thanks !

  41. I my humble opinion best all around ? cross platform audio player and metadata editor is exaile… It is written python, for those who like linux so you can have it your way, exaile can be alternator in many was…

  42. Also one can’t forget MC (Midnight Commander).

    Its among the best console type players using the ncurses library, in my opinion, so good in fact, I think it rivals the X11 GUI players out there! Fast as using mpg123 and supports a collection and a host of other options!

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