Rhythmbox Music Player

You can open Rhythmbox by selecting it from the Applications —• Sound & Video menu. It may not immediately open a window, though; instead, a new icon (looking like a loudspeaker cabinet with one large and either one or two small speakers depending on the version) will be placed on the top status bar, as shown in Figure 14-5.

Figure 14-5. Rhythmbox is the icon that looks like a speaker cabinet

To open the program, click the icon, and a window like the one in Figure 14-6 will appear, although if you haven't imported any music yet, there will be nothing displayed in the various panes.

Figure 14-6. The Rhythmbox music player

Rhythmbox Music Player | 387

Importing Tracks

To import music into Rhythmbox, select Music ^ Import Folder from its menus and locate the root folder of your music collection. You can also drag and drop files and folders from the File Manager into Rhythmbox.

Imported tracks will then appear in the three righthand panes, sorted by artist, album, and track names. In Figure 14-6, Radio, the fourth track of the album Motivation Radio, is currently playing. You can also see that, where available, album covers are also shown.

Playing Music

To play a track, double-click it, or double-click an album to play all the tracks in the album. When a track is playing, the speaker cabinet icon in the top status bar will either display a circle around it, or simply become darker and bolder, depending on the version.

You can control playing and pausing as well as track skipping, looping, randomizing, and the master volume from the top toolbar. The Library pane lets you create a play queue and play podcasts and live radio. It also informs you of any errors encountered while importing your music collection.

Using the Search field, you can quickly find any track. Or you can browse your collection by artist, album, or title by clicking the relevant button above the Album pane. The bottom pane lists the tracks matching your selection, which you can further sort by clicking any heading

Unlike some other Linux audio players, Rhythmbox plays a wide variety of formats, including .wma (Windows Media Audio) and .m4a (Apple's iTunes format), so you shouldn't need to convert your music collection.

When you click the Rhythmbox player's close icon, the program doesn't actually close; it just makes the window go away so that you can play your music without cluttering the desktop. You can click the Rhythmbox icon in the top status bar at any time to bring back or hide the display of the main program window.


If you are a member of the popular online music streaming service Last.fm, you can access it from Rhythmbox by clicking Last.fm in the lefthand pane and then clicking the Account Settings button to enter your username and password.

What's New in 10.04

At the time of this writing, a music store called the Ubuntu One Music Store was slated for inclusion within the Rhythmbox program in Ubuntu 10.04. So, if you have upgraded Rhythmbox to the latest version, and if everything has gone as planned, by now you may be able to access this store from the Stores section, in a similar manner to the free and listen-before-you-buy stores Jamendo and Magnatune. Presumably, you will have to create an account with a designated credit card in order to purchase tracks, and hopefully they will be free of Digital Rights Management (DRM).

There was also talk of adding an audio equalizer to Ubuntu in order to make your music sound as good as possible by tailoring it to the acoustics of the room your computer is in. If it has made it into the final release, you will most likely be able to access the graphic equalizer by clicking (or right-clicking) the sound icon in the desktop's top panel.

Another major new feature in 10.04 is the ability of Rhythmbox to access your iPhone or iPod media. Simply connect it to your computer by USB and it should be immediately recognized and mounted on the desktop, and also listed as a device in Rhythmbox. You can then play media directly from the device, or copy it back and forth between your player and computer. I have confirmed this using a 32 Gb unjailbroken iPhone 3GS with version 1.3.1 firmware. However, it is always possible that future firmware upgrades from Apple could change this, requiring an update to Rhythmbox to restore interoperability.

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