You Can Use Spotify Entirely From the Command Line

You Can Use Spotify Entirely From the Command Line

Spotify might be the least keyboard-friendly music player ever made. I spend so much time clicking around in this application when I’m trying to find something to listen to and it all just feels so…slow. That’s why I love spotify-player, which goes to the extreme the other way. It’s a complete interface for Spotify that you control entirely from the command line.

Yes, I realize this is ridiculous. I’ve been trying it out for a couple of days hoping to write a joke article but I’ve found myself actually using it. And I was going to list all the things you can do in Spotify’s desktop app that you can’t do in spotify-player, but after using it for a few days the only thing I’ve noticed is that podcasts and audiobooks aren’t offered (which is, to me, a plus) and I can’t get the AI DJ to launch. Everything else—creating and managing playlists, radio stations, browsing or searching for playlists—works, if you put the time in to figure it out. If something else is missing I haven’t found it.

This application requires a Spotify Premium account and works on Mac, Windows, and Linux. To install and use it, you’re going to need to be at least a little bit comfortable with the command line. The simplest thing to do is to grab a binary—on Windows you can just launch it directly and it will open, which is an easy way to try it out. On Mac I recommend installing it using Homebrew, which is a tool any Mac user who is interested in this app should probably have set up anyway. (Linux users know more than I do about how to install this on their operating system so I won’t attempt a clumsy summary—you’ve got this.)

After getting the application installed and running, you will be asked for your Spotify username and password. Provide that and you will be brought to your Spotify library.

Credit: Justin Pot

You can use the arrow keys to go up and down inside a list and the tab key to switch between lists. Hit enter to open a playlist, album, or artist, then hit enter to play a specific song. It’s all extremely speedy, which I love.

Are you looking for the searoch? You can press G then S. From here you can search—the results will be spread across four lists—tracks, albums, artists, and playlists. Again, you can use tab to switch between these lists.

Credit: Justin Pot

Open an artist and you’ll see their top tracks, albums, and related artists. The more you use this the more you realize that it gives you access to everything Spotify does in just a few keystrokes.

There are a lot more keyboard shortcuts—way more than I could break down here. You can type a question mark from anywhere in the user interface to see a complete list; you’ll get a handle on it faster than you think.

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