Music Player Daemon

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GMPC is one of many front-ends for controlling MPD

The Music Player Daemon is a really good music player which runs in the background as a system service. It can and must be controlled by a front-end program and there are many choices for both the console and X and desktops environments like Xfce, KDE and Gnome. There's also web-based software for controlling MPD.

The MPD service

MPD will scan your music collection and make it searchable. You can use a front-end like Cantata, GMPC and a ton of others to manage playlists, adjust volume, start and stop music and so on. MPD will happily keep on playing when the program used to control it is closed (unless you press stop first, obviously).

MPD does not need to be controlled by the same machine. You can have a PI or something with MPD running connected to a surround receiver and control music playback from a phone or laptop or computer. MPD itself requires close to no resources beyond storage. You will probably need a lot of attached storage.


It's features include:

  • A music database
  • Playlist
  • Optional logging
  • Optional password protection
  • Multiple audio outputs
    • Network streaming (icecast/shoutcast)
    • ALSA
    • OSS
  • On the fly volume normalization
  • Proxy and buffering when playing remote streams
  • Zeroconf which, if enabled, allows client programs to automatically find players on the local network

Drawbacks and Limitations

MPD will only allow you to configure one "music directory" in your mpd.conf[1]. You can not have two. The obvious magic trick used by many to overcome this glaring limitation is to create the one "music folder" with symbolic links[2] to all kinds of other folders.


There are numerous good front-end programs which allow you to control MPD. Cantata and GMPC are the best graphical programs. There are several programs for controlling MPD from a terminal too.


  1. mpd.conf manual
  2. Symbolic links are made with the ln command. Click here to read the fine ln manual


The Music Player Daemon's website is at

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Stand-alone music players:

Program rating framework music collection database
Audacious Yeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpg Qt5 or GTK2 Dialog-cancel.svg
DeaDBeeF Hyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpg GTK Dialog-cancel.svg
Elisa Hyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpg Qt/KDE Dialog-ok.svg
Exaile Sad hyemi2.jpgSad hyemi2.jpg GTK Dialog-ok.svg
GNOME Music Frustrated stallman cropped.jpg GTK/GNOME Dialog-ok.svg
Strawberry Yeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpg Qt Dialog-ok.svg
qmmp Yeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpg Qt Dialog-cancel.svg

discontinued / abandoned / bankrupt & finished: Clementine | Amarok

Music Player Daemon clients:
mpd is a database-oriented music player daemon which can be controlled by numerous front-end programs.

Program rating framework type
Cantata Yeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpg Qt X11
GMPC Hyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpg GTK X11
mpc Frustrated stallman cropped.jpg Command-line terminal
ncmpc Kim.Se-jeong.confused.jpgKim.Se-jeong.confused.jpgKim.Se-jeong.confused.jpg ncurses terminal
xfmpc Sad hyemi2.jpgSad hyemi2.jpg GTK/Xfce X11

discontinued / abandoned / bankrupt & finished: Sonata | KMP | Glurp