I like to download my playlist majorly because most of the streaming services don’t offer lossless audio quality. I have a huge chunk of FLAC and WAV audio files that I carry along to different systems. Lately, when I made the move to Ubuntu, it was hard to find a good music player unlike Windows 10. The most popular ones like Clementine, Audacious, etc. weren’t aesthetically appealing and too cluttered with features. I wanted a music player that could play lossless audio formats and be visually soothing. So, here’s my list of the best free music player apps for Ubuntu in 2020.
Best Free Music Player Apps for Ubuntu
Before, you head on to download a third-party music player, you can check out Rhythmbox that comes pre-installed in Ubuntu. It not only supports a wide number of audio formats like WAV, FLAC, MP3, Ogg, etc. but can even pull and search songs from SoundCloud. Useful if you are someone who likes to listen to indie artists.
My favorite feature of Rhythmbox is support for RSS feeds in podcasts. For instance, I listen to The Vergecast and it’s easy to feed in the RSS and listen or download from within Rhythmbox. Apart from this, you get the usual features like FM Radio from Last.FM, and Libre.FM. You will find this in most music players on this list.
With all that said, Rhythmbox does have its fair share of problems. For instance, the biggest drawback is the lack of YouTube support. YouTube is where most of the music lies. Additionally, it doesn’t have an equalizer built-in (you can get it with plugins).
- Supports a wide range of audio formats
- Automatically detects and categorizes music from folders
- Option to search and stream music on SoundCloud
- Support for Last.FM, Libre.FM, and SoundCloud
- Supports RSS Feeds to download or stream podcasts
- No built-in equalizer
- Doesn’t support YouTube
Download Rhythmbox for Ubuntu
Lollypop is the most visually soothing music player for Ubuntu on the list. It really goes with the GNOME desktop theme. Unlike Rhythmbox, it does have a functional equalizer built-in that has enough amount of presets. If you want a more customized experience, it has a 10-band equalizer too.
Additionally, Lollypop can fetch songs from Spotify and YouTube. It also scrobbles around Brainwavz after you sign-in. In case you don’t know, scrobbling basically picks up the track you were listening to in Brainwavz and puts it in your tracks in Lollypop. But, if you find it creepy, this feature is turned off by default and you don’t need to enable it. My most favorite option was the ability to shuffle and play most listened tracks from the local files. It felt like Spotify but for local files.
If you just want a music player to listen to local songs, Lollypop’s the best option out there. Apart from that, it does miss out on the RSS Feeds and you would need to manually download podcasts with Rhythmbox to listen within Lollypop.
- Soothing and minimal interface
- Auto-detects songs, lyrics, and artwork from Wiki, Google, Genius, DDG, etc.
- Automatically creates a compilation of your most listened songs
- Inbuilt equalizer with lots of built-in presets
- Ability to search and stream for songs on Spotify and YouTube
- Doesn’t support RSS feeds for podcast listening
Download Lollypop for Ubuntu
Nuclear is another open-source modern music player for Ubuntu. Similar to Rhythmbox and Lollypop, it can stream music from free sources like YouTube and SoundCloud. Additionally, it supports Bandcamp as well which is nice because I follow a bunch of artists on Bandcamp and I can stream right within Nuclear. The best thing about Nuclear is the equalizer which is quite intuitive. It doesn’t have a lot of built-in presets like Lollypop but it’s sure intuitive to customize.
Apart from this, it also supports Last.fm scrobbling and can pull your tracks from GitHub or an HTTP server. Nuclear is a good music player to stream from multiple music services but the UI options feel a bit confusing. The top bar contains a back and forward button but there are even menu controls that more or less do the same thing.
- Supports streaming from YouTube, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud
- Option to scrobble on Last.fm
- Ability to stream songs from GitHub or a remote HTTP server
- Intuitive graphic EQ
- No podcast support
- UI options are a bit confusing
Download Nuclear for Ubuntu
Well, Spotify is better known for its music streaming but the app also supports local songs. You just have to add the directory in Spotify settings under Local Files. For a detailed picture, we have a dedicated article on importing and syncing local files in Spotify. The only caveat with local files is that it supports a limited set of codecs like MP3, MP4, M4P, etc. But, Spotify provides a huge online streaming portfolio with podcasts. Recently, Spotify grabbed a lot of exclusive podcast deals. So, inevitably, if you listen to these podcasts, you would have to move to Spotify.
Spotify does have a beautiful UI but it suffers the same problem as Netflix. Spotify wants you to listen to the songs it recommends rather than you searching for them. Plus, Spotify podcasts have ads (even if you are a premium user).
- Huge range of songs and podcasts for free
- Works well within apps on multiple devices
- Best song recommendation in this list
- Does not support lossless codecs like FLAC, WAV, etc
Out of all the popular command-line players, CMUS is my favorite. It works on the old-school VI editor shortcuts. For instance, to add a music source, you have to type “:add ~/Music”. To exit the player, you have to type “:q” and hit Enter. Additionally, you can pause/play, skip, and seek music using hotkeys. If you use a DAC, CMUS also supports both sound servers ALSA and PulseAudio.
- n – play/pause music
- right/left arrow key – skip songs for 10 seconds
- z – previous track
- b – next track
- Simple lightweight command-line tool
- Supports a wide range of audio codecs
- Works on vim shortcuts and keyboard hotkeys
- Good number of themes and music-player views
sudo apt install cmus
6. Nuvola Music Player
Nuvola supports a wide range of streaming services (30 to be precise). In case you have a YouTube Music account or Plex Media server hosted, Nuvola is the best option to have on your Ubuntu machine. The only caveat is you would have to install separate plugins for every streaming service. For instance, if you want YouTube music, you will have to install the YouTube music plugin for Nuvola and for Plex Music, a separate Plex Music plugin. All these apps stand separately on the launcher. It would have been great if everything was bundled in a single app.
- Handy app for streaming music from Plex Media server
- One of the few applications that support YouTube music and Amazon music.
- Separate plugin install for every streaming service
Download Nuvola for Ubuntu
7. VLC Media Player
VLC Media player is the swiss knife of media. For everything related to video, movies, and songs, you need to have VLC on your device. If any music player or video player cannot play a particular file, you will have VLC at your disposal. It supports a wide range of codecs and has the capability to play any media file.
To open a music directory, open VLC media player and hit Ctrl+F. Select the music directory and hit Enter. Next, VLC will play all the audio files within the directory in a linear order.
- Supports a wide range of codecs
- Offers a built-in visualizer
sudo apt install vlc
Closing Words: Music Player Apps for Ubuntu
If you want both podcasts and a local music player, Rhythmbox is a good option. For minimal use, I would recommend the Tauon Music box or Lollypop.