Best Music Player for Linux

Linux systems offer a wide range of choice, and music players are no exception. For quite a while, there have been fantastic options when choosing the perfect music player for your Linux computer. All of these players are just as good, if not better, than their proprietary counterparts on other operating systems. They range from the minimal, light weight, and targeted to feature-rich multipurpose players capable of nearly anything. There’s a great choice for every music fan on Linux.

Determining the best music player on Linux mostly boils down to user preference and depends on what the user wants to get out of their music player. In this tutorial, we have compiled a list of our favorite music players for Linux. This will help you decide which one is the best for you and your situation.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • Best Music Player for Linux
Best Music Player for Linux
Best Music Player for Linux
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Any Linux distro
Software Rhythmbox, Strawberry, DeaDBeeF, Amarok, qmmp, CMUS, VLC, foobar2000, Audacious
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Best Music Player for Linux

Here are some of our top picks for music players on Linux. Which music player is right for you? Almost all of the below music players are available in most distribution repositories. Give them a try. You might be surprised.


Rhythmbox is the default music player for the GNOME desktop environment, so it comes pre installed on a good portion of Linux distro downloads. It is a rather robust option for music playing, making it an all in one solution. You can create and export playlists, stream internet radio, and edit tags of your music files.

It is free and open source, and many users consider it the best player for Linux. You can even play FM radio from it or podcasts. Rhythmbox can also be further customized by downloading and installing plugins for it.

What we like about it:

  • Single handedly manages your music library
  • Can stream music from other sources
  • Comes pre-installed on Ubuntu and others that use GNOME


Strawberry is the successor of Clementine, which was an all time favorite but has been abandoned for several years. Luckily, the project lived on in the form of Strawberry. Strawberry allows you to import music from several sources into your library, all of which it automatically updates. If that’s not quite enough music for you, Strawberry offers the option of support for multiple online services, including Spotify.

With Strawberry, you also get a lot of nice extras and quality of life features. You can create and save multiple playlists, all of which you can control, shuffle, and play how you like. Strawberry makes an attempt to automatically fetch cover art, but you can manually do that too. If you’re looking for a complete music player that can do it all, Strawberry is a great bet, and that’s probably not changing anytime soon.

What we like about it:

  • Can stream from music sources like Spotify
  • Intelligently handles cover art and other metadata
  • Playlists let you keep music separated into categories


DeaDBeeF is the kind of program that you’ll either love or hate. It’s fairly minimal in appearance, and it feels like something from the early 00’s. That said, it’s also super effective and stays out of your way, allowing you to focus on your music, and not much else.

DeaDBeeF is a little shy on extra features and frills. It does have a great equalizer, and you can control the order of play, shuffle, and other basic playback functions, but there really isn’t much else. Again, some people will love this. Others are going to be immediately put off by not having the range of options offered by other programs.

What we like about it:

  • Minimal and simple interface
  • Modular design so you get exactly what you want
  • Widespread support; first release in 2009


Amarok is another music player with a minimal and somewhat dated looking interface, but it packs a lot of features inside. It is very easy to use, so you can get up and running by importing your music library in no time. It can also player music from internet sources in case you do not have all of your music library on your computer.

Like some of the other music players on our list, Amarok’s functionality and design can be extended by plugins that are coded and published by community developers.

What we like about it:

  • Easy to use for any level of user
  • Can play local files or music from streaming services
  • Extended functionality with plugins


Anyone remember Winamp? qmmp is a simple music player which was meant to resemble the old Winamp user interface. It is written in C++ and takes advantage of the Qt toolkit to generate the interface.

If you are not looking for a robust music player, and just want something to play your local files, then qmmp would be a good candidate. It was released in 2007 and is still actively developed for a variety of platforms, including Linux. It can play back all of the most common and popular formats, and really looks almost identical to Winamp.

What we like about it:

  • Winamp style interface
  • Minimal resource impact
  • Intuitive and retro aesthetic


There is always the type of user that likes everything to be in a terminal, and the CMUS music player is for them. Cmus is a fantastic ncurses-based music player written in C. You can interact with it through keyboard shortcuts, in order to import your music library and control the playback.

Once you get the shortcuts down, it proves very easy to use. However, it does not have a lot of features, since it is totally based inside of the terminal. So, users looking for a robust or all in one multimedia solution should steer clear.

What we like about it:

  • Runs in command line terminal
  • Easy keyboard shortcut controls
  • Simple; no bloated features or extras


You may know VLC as being one of the best video players for Linux. But it can also recognize many types of music, so it may suffice for some people as a music player. You are able to import a directory of music and shuffle through it like a typical music player.

VLC probably won’t work for die-hard music fans that want more features of a dedicated music player, but it certainly works well in a pinch when you just need to open some audio files.

What we like about it:

  • Can play music and videos
  • Often installed by default anyway
  • All in one solution unless you need advanced music features


Foobar is probably the most popular music player for Windows systems, but it can also be installed on Linux if using Wine. There is also a Snap package available that will install Foobar and the necessary Wine components all in one go.

Foobar is loved for its endless customizability. Depending on your settings and plugins, it can be completely unrecognizable to another user’s configuration. You won’t even know it is the same player. It’s also a very simple music player, with an intuitive interface. It is a good choice if you want a lot of customization and do not mind installing the Snap package.

What we like about it:

  • Endless customization options
  • Simple and intuitive
  • Fast and responsive, even with huge libaries


Audacious is another more minimal option, but it does come with more modern features and plugins. Once again, the greater focus is on getting you into your music collection as quickly and directly as possible. Select a directory to import, and wait for Audacious to sort through it.

With Audacious, you can create multiple playlists in their own independent tabs. Like with most other players, you can also control most aspects of playback and choose to shuffle the playlist. Audacious also includes an equalizer with the ability to import presets. It is a great middle ground option for people who don’t want minimalism but also don’t want a huge player like Strawberry.

What we like about it:

  • Minimal and simple
  • Good balance between features and simplicity
  • Easy to sort through music

Closing Thoughts

In this tutorial, we learned about some top picks for music players on a Linux system. Of course, many other music players exist, but this list should steer you in the right direction for picking a music player that suits you best.

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