Top 10 Free and Open-Source Music Players

Music is part of every culture, heritage. When it comes to discussing the type of people and their culture, music has always come into the discussion. With different clothes, architectures, building styles, government structures of a nation, music has also played a significant role in defining the culture of any place. People tend to get their mind off from their hectic daily routines and schedules by listening to music which makes them forget all their worries for at least a bit and change their drowning moods to energy-filled high spirits.

Here at LinuxAPT, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to perform related Linux system tasks and queries.

In this context, we shall look into the best music players for Linux users.

1. RhythmBox

Developed by the experts at the GNOME project, RhythmBox was released in the year 2001. RhythmBox is a free and open-source audio player software that comes equipped with a number of fancy and modern features. The paradigm functions seamlessly on Linux and its distributions.

RhythmBox provides its users a seamlessly working music playback that plays sounds from almost any source, gapless playback that enables playing different songs with the cross-fading effect, the ability to create different playlists and organize music, etc. The platform also provides a “smart playlist” feature that automatically updates music in the playlist from the library in the smart playlist that is generated against some distinct parameters. The cross-fading effect that plays the next song from the playlist after fading out the currently played song, is a feature that has to be manually activated and is not enabled by default. Other features of the platform include its ability to import music, CD burning, displaying album’s cover, browse through SoundCloud, display song lyrics, audio scrobbling, etc.

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To Install Rhythmbox on Ubuntu, run the following command:

$ sudo apt install rhythmbox

2. Clementine

Clementine is a free, open-source, and cross-platform compatible audio player software. The software allows users across the Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms to seamlessly play their music or customized libraries in the efficient audio playing software.

With Clementine, users are able to listen and seamlessly stream music from different radio channels such as Grooveshark, Spotify, Jamendo,, RadioTunes, Magnatune, SomaFM, SoundCloud, Icecast, and Google Drive. The platform also allows users to display song lyrics using the sidebar information panes, show different music statistics, see pictures and biographies of artists, etc. The platform also provides a tag editor, album cover and queue manager feature, ability to download music from the, get missing tags from MusicBrainz, enable audio visualization, search and download different podcasts, create smart, i.e., automatic and also dynamic playlists, ability to tab different playlists, import and export music in XSPF, M3U, ASX, Cue sheets and PLS formats, ability to share and transfer of music to some iPods or iPhone, and the list goes on.

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To Install Clementine in Ubuntu, run the command below:

$ sudo apt-get install clementine

3. Banshee

Banshee is another free, open-source, and cross-platform compatible audio player software. The audio player is acclaimed by Windows, macOS, and Linux users. Furthermore, recently, the platform has also released its versions for Android and iOS, therefore the Banshee app is now available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Initially released in 2005 by the experts at Novell Inc., the platform comes equipped with a number of highly required features and capabilities.

Banshee allows its users to get access to and integrate with the platform a list of advanced plugins that enables users to add the following features in the platform: audio scrobbler, DAAP music sharing, an iPod manager, metadata searcher via utilizing MusicBrainz, music recommendations using, mini-mode plugin, multimedia keys support in gnome, notification area icon, podcasting, a radio that is able to stream different channels across the globe, etc.

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4. Audacious

Released in 2005, Audacious is a free and open-source audio player that is packed with many advanced features and functionalities. Audacious is available across Windows XP and newer versions of Windows and Linux platforms.

Audacious provides many features such as MP3 using libmpg123, Advanced Audio Coding (AAC and AAC+), Vorbis, FLAC, Wavpack, Shorten (SHN), Musepack, TTA (codec), Windows Media Audio (WMA), Apple Lossless (ALAC), 150 different module formats, Several chiptune formats: GBS, AY, GYM, KSS, NSF, HES, NSFE, SAP, SPC, VGM, VGZ, VTX, PlayStation Audio: Portable Sound Format (PSF and PSF2), Nintendo DS Sound Format: 2SF, Ad-lib chiptunes via AdPlug library, WAV formats provided by libsndfile plug-in, MIDI via native OS synthesizer control or FluidSynth, CD Audio, etc. Other than that, the platform also allows users to integrate a list of plugins such as Decoder plug-ins, Transport plug-ins, General plug-ins, Output plug-ins, Visualization plug-ins, Effect plug-ins, Container plug-ins, Low-level plug-ins, so on and so forth.

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5. DeaDBeeF

DeadBeeF, released in 2009, is another audio player that offers seamless music playback and comes under the free and open-source software license. The audio player is also cross-platform compatible and works efficiently on Linux and its distributions, macOS, and Android platforms.

DeaDBeef allows users to play music file of MP3, APE, TTA, FLAC, Vorbis, Musepack, WavPack, AAC, ALAC, WMA, WAV, DTS formats and from any audio CD, provides cuesheet support for any built-in or external files, Character encodings, zero dependencies on GNOME, KDE or GStreamer, gapless playback, enhanced plugin support, Customizable System Notifications (OSD), customizable global keyboard shortcuts, read-and-write tag support, mass, and flexible tagging, high-quality resampling, Bit-perfect output under certain configurations, Sound output via ALSA, PulseAudio and OSS, Scrobbling to,, or any GNU FM server, en masse transcoder, ReplayGain support, ability to support multi-channel playback, 18-band equalizer, simple command-line user interface, graphical user interface, etc.

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6. Amarok

Developed by the KDE – the free and open-source software giants, Amarok music player was launched in the year 2003. Amarok is compatible with Linux and its distributions, Windows, and macOS platforms. The music comes equipped with many features and is acclaimed across the globe by many users of the software.

The features of the platform include music support for FLAC, Opus, MP3, Ogg, AAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, WavPack, Windows Media Audio, TTA, Musepack, etc., capability to tag digital music, tag cover art with particular music in the library, ability to create and modify simple music playlists or smart or dynamic playlist, ability to play, get, upload or synchronize music to iPod, Creative NOMAD, Creative ZEN, iriver iFP MTP, Rio Karma or any USB device, audio scrobbling, music filtering functionality, support integration with Jamendo, Magnatune, MP3tunes, Shoutcast, etc., file tracking capability and the list of more enhanced and commendable features goes on.

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7. qmmp

The Qt-based multimedia player (qmmp) was released in 2007 by the Qmmp development team under a free and open-source software license. The platform is compatible with Linux and its distributions and Windows.

Qmmp offers many features and capabilities such as Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and MP3 music playback support, support for Winamp (Classic) skin files, Support for multiple artists and performer tags for each song, notifications area, enhanced and vast plugin support, multilingual support, advanced equalizer, etc. On top of all the advanced features, the platform supports a most simple, easy, user-friendly, and intuitive platform that enhances user experience and attracts users at first sight.

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To Install Qmmp on Ubuntu, run the command:

$ sudo apt install qmmp

8. Cmus

Cmus is a Linux music player that runs in a terminal. If you're addicted to your terminal and keyboard, Cmus is meant for people like you. No matter how big is your music library, Cmus loads with a lighting speed and uses about 20MB RAM.

This open source software can also run on older computers whose operating systems don't have GUI. Its keyboard shortcuts give you tons of power over your music playback and how it's played. It goes without saying that Cmus plays all major audio formats. You can also use different open source extensions to change color themes, get lyrics, etc.

To Install Cmus on Ubuntu, run the below command:

$ sudo apt-get install cmus

9. GNOME Music

If simplicity is what you desire the most in a music player, and if you want to play your favorite tracks with no fancy features, GNOME Music is the way to go.

There isn't much to talk about this music player since all it does is it searches for music in the Music directory and lets you play them. It also comes with a lot of keyboard shortcuts for navigation and playback. You get four tabs on the above – Albums, Artists, Songs, and Playlist, to sort music and play what you like.

To Install GNOME Music, run the command:

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-music

10. VLC

VLC is one of the oldest media players in existence and we all grew up with it. Apart from video files, it can also play audio tracks. The sheer number of customization options, plugins, codecs, and other features make it one of the best media players out there.

And let’s not forget the different visualization options, which will give you a satisfying slap of nostalgia. Overall, it's still one of the best audio and video players out there.

To Install VLC on Ubuntu, run the command:

$ sudo apt install vlc

[Need help in Installing Open Source Software on Debian Linux System? We can help you. ]

This article covers the best music players for Linux.

RhythmBox, Clementine, Banshee, Audacious, DeaDBeeF, Amarok, and qmmp occupy our list of the best music players for Linux and its distributions and Windows platforms. Some players also support macOS, iOS, and Android, however, are mostly used and appreciated by Linux and Windows users.

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