cmus: The Ultimate Music Player For Linux Terminal Lovers

Brief: Listening to music in Linux terminal? Why not? Nothing is impossible when it comes to Linux terminal.

There is no shortage of music players on Linux. Almost all of them comes with a GUI or Graphical User Interface. Some of them looks really nice and some not so much. Just a while back we published an article about lesser known music players. If you are interested you can take a look at that:

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But all of them are graphical. What about, us, terminal lovers? Do we not deserve a treat?

Well, today I am going to introduce cmus. If you are a music enthusiast and love the terminal too, you will have to look no further!

cmus

Listen to music in Linux terminal with cmus

The official site for cmus describes it perfectly:

cmus is a small, fast and powerful console music player for Unix-like operating systems.

It is written in C programming language. So the performance is outstanding and it’s not resource-hungry at all. It is also extensible via external scripts. Check out the cmus Wiki on GitHub for more information.

cmus User Interface
cmus User Interface

Let’s take a look at the features.

cmus Features

Every essential feature a music player needs is present in cmus. Some of the basic ones are:

  • Supported Formats: Almost every audio formats are supported on cmus, including the most popular ones – mp3, flac, wav, aac etc.
  • Music Library: cmus is capable of presenting your music collection in a well-organized library. And it is totally intuitive and easy to navigate through. You can search and filter through the tracks seamlessly. It supports Playlists and Play Queue. There is also an integrated file browser if you want to play tracks from outside your library. 
  • Gapless Playback: Keep on listening without any break. It can cycle through the whole music library.
  • Keybindings: cmus comes with sensible keyboard shortcuts for performing various actions. And the great thing is — all of those are completely customizable.
  • Themes & Customizability: You can select from pre-defined themes that come with cmus. Or you can create your own! Every little details are customizable in cmus.
  • Speed: Even you have thousands of tracks in your library, it doesn’t affect the startup-time of cmus.

In short, if you love to use the terminal, there’s no way that you will be disappointed by cmus. That’s how cool cmus is.

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Installation on Ubuntu

cmus is available via the official Ubuntu repository. So, installing is as easy as typing a single command:

sudo apt install cmus

That’s all! However, if you want to compile it from source you can take a look at the README file.

Getting started with cmus

Being a console application, it takes a little while to get used to cmus. But once you do, it’s totally worth it. The first thing you will want to do after installation is run this command:

man cmus-tutorial

This will show you a basic tutorial for using cmus. For further details, try:

man cmus

And don’t forget to check the cmus Wiki:

cmus Wiki

You will find a lots of ways to extend you experience with cmus there.

Music scrobbling with cmus

If you are used to scrobble musics, it’s totally possible in cmus. As I’ve said before, cmus is extensible. The are multiple scripts for this purpose. You will find some of them listed here in cmus Wiki. I’ve tried many of them. And I will suggest you to use cmusfm without any doubt. It supports scrobbing to both Last.fm and Libre.fm.

cmusfm

If you don’t know what scrobbling is — it is a way of logging the musics you play, so that you can visit your history later.


Did you know about cmus or using it already? What do you think about it?

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Mateus Furquim

Well. I do use a terminal-based music player, but it is the _mpd_ (Music Player Daemon), which then I can use the _mpc_ (Music Player Client) or _ncmpcpp_ (NCurse Music Player C Plus Plus).

Thanks for sharing this informative article! I will definitely give it a go, when I got home. Love this site ^_^

I've been using cmus for a few weeks. I have a small desktop connected to my sound system, but with cmus, I can ssh from my laptop and run cmus on the desktop remotely.

Some hot key hints at the bottom would be nice...like pico. I couldn't find a way to display the disk file pathname from the song lists (views 1 and 2).

Highlight the track > I (Shift + i)

Thanks. I never would have guessed that "echo {}" was the command to show the file path!