Developer(s)The GNOME Project
Initial releaseAugust 18, 2001; 22 years ago (2001-08-18)
Stable release
3.4.7 Edit this on Wikidata / 16 April 2023
Preview releasenone [±]
Written inC (GTK)
Operating systemLinux, Unix-like
Available inMultilingual
TypeAudio player

Rhythmbox is a free and open-source audio player software, tag editor and music organizer for digital audio files on Linux and Unix-like systems.

Rhythmbox is designed to work well under GNOME, but can function on other desktop environments. It is very scalable, able to handle libraries with tens of thousands of songs with ease. It provides a full feature set including full support for Unicode, fast but powerful tag editing, and a variety of plug-ins.

Rhythmbox is the default audio player on many Linux distributions including Fedora, Ubuntu since v12.04 LTS, and Linux Mint as of version 18.1.


Rhythmbox offers a significant number of features, including:

Music playback

Playback from a variety of digital music sources is supported. The most common playback is music stored locally as files on the computer (the 'Library'). Rhythmbox supports playing streamed Internet radio and podcasts as well. The ReplayGain standard is also supported. Rhythmbox also supports searching of music in the library.

Playlists may be created to group and order music. Users may also create 'smart playlists,' ones that are automatically updated (like a database query) based on a customized rule of selection criteria rather than an arbitrary list of tracks. Music may be played back in shuffle (random) mode or repeat mode.

Track ratings are supported and used by the shuffle mode algorithm to play higher-rated tracks more often.

Gapless playback

Enabling the crossfading backend option with a duration of 0.0 switches Rhythmbox into gapless playback mode for music formats that support it. Gapless playback is not enabled by default.

Music importing

Audio CD burning

Since the 0.9 release, Rhythmbox can create audio CDs from playlists.

Album cover display

Since the 0.9.5 release, Rhythmbox can display cover art of the currently playing album. The plugin can search the internet to find corresponding artwork, and as of 0.12.6, can read artwork from ID3 tags. If an image file is saved in the same directory as the audio track this is used instead.


Rhythmbox can browse and play sounds from SoundCloud, via built-in SoundCloud plugin.

Song lyrics display

Since the 0.9.5 release, Rhythmbox can provide song lyrics of the currently playing song by pressing [ctrl + L], as long as the lyrics are stored in a lyrics database.

Audio scrobbling

Rhythmbox can submit played songs info to a remote scrobbling service. This information is used by the remote service to provide user specific music recommendations. Rhythmbox currently supports three scrobbling services:

Music can be scrobbled to all services at the same time.

Control remote rhythmbox via GNOME web browser

DAAP music sharing

Rhythmbox supports sharing music and playing shared music on local network via DAAP sharing plugin. The plugin uses libdmapsharing to provide this feature.


Rhythmbox uses the Linux udev subsystem to detect player devices.


Rhythmbox can subscribe to podcasts from the iTunes Store, Miroguide or by manually providing a podcast feed URL. Subsequently, new podcasts are automatically downloaded and available from the Library under the section Podcasts.

Web remote control

Rhythmbox can be controlled remotely with a Web browser, via inbuilt Web remote control plugin.


Rhythmbox has a plug-in API for C, Python, or Vala.

There are nearly 50 third party plug-ins for Rhythmbox. including a 10 Band audio Equalizer, and many official plug-ins including:

  • Cover art search
  • Audio CD Player
  • Last.fm / Libre.fm / Listenbrainz
  • DAAP Music Sharing
  • FM Radio
  • Grilo media browser
  • IM Status
  • Internet Radio Streaming
  • Song Lyrics
  • Magnatune Store
  • Media Player Keys
  • Portable Players (generic, iPod)
  • Android devices (via MTP)
  • Notification
  • Power Manager
  • Python Console (for debugging)
  • LIRC
  • Send tracks
  • Replay Gain
  • MediaServer2 D-Bus interface
  • MPRIS D-Bus interface
  • Browser to integrate Rhythmbox with iTunes
  • CD/DVD burning based on Brasero


Rhythmbox displaying a pop-up notification from the GNOME notification area

Rhythmbox has been extensively integrated with a number of external programs, services and devices including:

  • Built-in support for Multimedia Keys on keyboard
  • Nautilus file manager context-menu integration, "hover mode" playback in Nautilus
  • HexChat, via a HexChat plugin.
  • Pidgin-Rhythmbox automatically updates the Pidgin user profile with details of the currently playing track
  • Gajim and Pidgin include options for automatically updating the user status with details of currently playing track
  • aMSN and emesene can change the user's personal message to current track via the "music" plugin (aMSN) and the "CurrentSong" plugin (emsene), similar to Messenger Plus! Live
  • Music Applet (previously known as the Rhythmbox Applet), a GNOME panel applet that provides Rhythmbox playback controls from within the panel. Music Applet has since been superseded by Panflute
  • Rhythmlet, another gDesklet that retrieves album art locally or from Amazon.com, has configurable display strings, playback controls, editable ratings and a seek bar
  • SideCandyRhythmbox, a gDesklet-based Rhythmbox control and SideCandy display
  • Rhythmbox XSLT allows the music library to be viewed as a web page
  • Drivel inserts the name of the track Rhythmbox is currently playing into a LiveJournal blog entry
  • Rhythmbox Tune Publisher publishes the currently playing Rhythmbox track to XMPP via the User Tune protocol (used by the Jabber World Map)
  • FoxyTunes, a Mozilla Firefox extension that provides Rhythmbox playback controls from within the web browser
  • Plugins for browsing and listening to Creative Commons licensed albums from Jamendo (via grilo plugin) and Magnatune.
  • Rhythmbox Remote helps to remotely control Rhythmbox through an Android powered device.
  • Rhythmbox WebMenu is a fully personalizable plugin that integrates Rhythmbox with several music websites.

Version history

Version Release date Comments
Current stable version: 3.4.7 16 April 2023 Bug fix release for 3.4.
Older version, yet still maintained: 3.4.6 22 June 2022 Bug fix release for 3.4.
Older version, yet still maintained: 3.4.5 02 May 2022 Bug fix release for 3.4. Switched to Meson build system. Rewritten podcast downloader with better resume and retry. Uses podcast episode GUIDs to handle episode URL changes
Older version, yet still maintained: 3.4.4 05 Jan 2020 Bug fix release for 3.4. Support for fetching cover art from coverartarchive.org. Uses HTTPS for external requests where possible. New Listenbrainz plugin. Sendto plugin removed
Older version, yet still maintained: 3.4.3 20 Dec 2018 Bug fix release for 3.4. Android plugin works better with Samsung and Android 9 devices. Status bar replaced with floating bar as used by Nautilus
Older version, yet still maintained: 3.4.2 08 Oct 2017 Bug fix release for 3.4. Visualization plugin removed. Responsiveness improvements during media player sync. Better network buffering when crossfading is enabled
Older version, yet still maintained: 3.4.1 04 Sep 2016 Bug fix release for 3.4
Older version, yet still maintained: 3.4 14 Aug 2016 New web remote control plugin. Grilo plugin now uses Grilo 0.3. SoundCloud plugin fetches more search results and allows pausing. No longer uses webkit (partly due to OpenBSD W^X enforcement). Slightly better handling of keyboard shortcuts for playback. Core and some plugin data files compiled into binaries using GResources.
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.3.1 03 Apr 2016 Bug fix release for 3.3
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.3 24 Jan 2016 New plugin supporting Android devices via gvfs-mtp. Encoding settings are now configurable per device type. Encoding settings can force lossless files to be transcoded.
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.2.1 19 Apr 2015 Bug fix release for 3.2
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.2 29 Mar 2015 Support for disc and track total tags. SoundCloud plugin. Ability to clear, re-fetch and manually set cover art using the song info window. Build fixes for Mac OS X. Many style and layout fixes.
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.1 27 Sep 2014 Bug fix release. GTK+ 3.14 compatible. Now includes an AppData file.
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.0.3 25 May 2014 Bug fix release. Embedded cover art no longer applied to following tracks.
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.0.2 23 Mar 2014 Bug fix release
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.0.1 13 Oct 2013 Bug fix release
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.0 04 Sep 2013 Plugins now use Python 3. New task progress display below the track list. Support for composer tags. Restyled playback controls. Restyled source list using symbolic icons. Better introspection of everything. Separate CBR and VBR encoding styles with different sets of exposed properties. Playlist settings saved in playlists.xml. Better use of RTL icons where appropriate.
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.99.1 13 Apr 2013 Several missing accelerator keys (re-)added. XI_BadDevice crashes fixed.
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.99 02 Apr 2013 Menu bar replaced with app menu or menu button. GStreamer 1.0. Uses libsecret instead of gnome-keyring. Supports GNOME notification filtering. Small improvements to podcast browsing and updating. Play button now turns into a pause or stop button while playing. Buffering progress now appears in the song position slider rather than an unlabeled progress indicator in the status bar. Media player sync works better with transcoded files.
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.98 30 Sep 2012 New dialog for importing music into the library. New audio CD metadata lookup library, replacing libmusicbrainz. Improved transitions between album art images. Nautilus cluebar buttons now result in the right source being selected. Update notification buttons when playback state changes. Grilo plugin ported to grilo 0.2 API. Search musicbrainz for album art by album and artist name. Love/ban buttons visible in Last.fm/Libre.fm sources.
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.97 03 Jun 2012 Uses libmusicbrainz4 for audio CD metadata. New more compact header layout, including album art. Deprecated artdisplay plugin. Fixed buffering for network streams. Configurable encoding settings for the library, using GStreamer presets or simple quality settings. Does not preserve mtime on metadata updates. Fixed audio CD extraction speed. New podcast subscription interface, including iTunes and Miroguide searching and auditioning before subscription.
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.96 06 Mar 2012 Revived Magnatune plugin. Removed Jamendo support due to technical issues. Better handling of non-media files. dbus media server plugin improved again.
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.95 15 Jan 2012 GTK+ 3, GObject introspection, GNOME 3 compatible. New album art database. Grilo plugin for UPNP and Jamendo. Rewritten visualization plugin using clutter. First steps in redesigning some parts of the UI that sorely need it. New encoding profile system. Plugins now based on libpeas. Much improved dbus media server plugin.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.13.3 16 Jan 2011 Reimplemented source list, allowing for things that are not sources. Updated notifications, mostly for GNOME Shell. Expose playlists in MPRIS and MediaServer2 DBus interfaces. New context pane tab showing links to various websites.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.13.2 24 Oct 2010 Much improved Last.fm (and Libre.fm) plugin. Support for DACP (iTunes remote). Zeitgeist plugin. New podcast sub-sources showing newly posted and recently downloaded episodes. Slightly improved integration with the GNOME Shell message tray. Various fixes for iPod support.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.13.1 30 Aug 2010 Support for MPRIS version 2. Improved handling of files on unmounted devices and network shares. rhythmbox-client now waits long enough to control a newly started instance. More reliably imports and plays files specified on the command line. Use the current sorting column for typeahead searching. Extended (static) vala bindings. Initial implementation of the Rygel MediaServer2 D-Bus specification.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.13.0 02 Jul 2010 Improved GStreamer codec installation. New metadata fields: comment, BPM, Album artist. MMS and RTSP streams should work properly now. Always visible on startup when started manually. New implementation of the MPRIS D-Bus interface spec. Creates nested folders on MTP devices. DAAP plugin now uses libdmapsharing. Library, playlist and podcast syncing for media players. New application icon. Displays HTML podcast episode descriptions using WebKit. Updates for Magnatune's new purchase process.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.12.8 28 Mar 2010 Last.fm cover art search. Automatically unmount MTP devices mounted by gvfs. More improvements to mixed-direction text display.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.12.7 01 Mar 2010 New ReplayGain plugin. Nautilus-sendto plugin. Support for Magnatune streaming and download accounts. Support for pidgin in the IM status plugin. Support for artist and album sort names. Now depends on GTK+ 2.16, GLib 2.18, and pygobject 2.16. Compatible with the new totem-plparser save API. Improvements to display of mixed-direction text. Simplified selection of audio CD tracks to extract. Playlist creation should work on more generic player devices now.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.12.6 15 Nov 2009 Context pane plugin. Power management plugin reworked to use new D-Bus API. MTP plugin reworked to do everything asynchronously. Volume slider levels match what PulseAudio displays. Playback pipeline filter interfaces actually work properly now. Much improved visualization performance when crossfading is enabled.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.12.5 18 Sep 2009 New cover art search code using discogs.com and MusicBrainz, replacing the Amazon cover art search that no longer works. Updated Coherence UPnP plugin. Clicking on the status icon summons the main window to the current workspace.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.12.4 23 Aug 2009 New HAL-free media player detection code; improved MTP device detection allowing multiple devices and devices not explicitly supported by libmtp. Audio CD improvements: allow metadata retrieval to be retried, link to the musicbrainz submission page when data is missing. Configurable action for mouse-wheel events on the status icon (volume control or next/previous track). Rearranged to link properly. Variety of crashes fixed. Occasional transfer problems with MTP devices fixed.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.12.3 05 Jul 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.12.2 31 May 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.12.1 28 Apr 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.12.0 19 Mar 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.11.6 07 Jul 2008
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.8.5 24 Jun 2004
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.8.4 04 Jun 2004
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.8.3 5 May 2004
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.8.1 20 Apr 2004
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.8.0 17 Apr 2004
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.7.2 02 Apr 2004
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.7.1 19 Mar 2004
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.7.0 07 Feb 2004
Old version, no longer maintained: 10 Nov 2003
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.5.2 27 Aug 2003
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.5.0 17 Aug 2003
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.4.1 13 Dec 2002 New graphics. Genre browsing. Context menu on songs view. Prelight stars in the rating columns. Bug fixes.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.4 3 Sep 2002 UI improvements. Improved song information dialog. "Restart song" feature. Preferences window and visibility options. Library rewrite. Misc bug fixes.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.3 2002 Code rewrite
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.2.1 2002 MonkeyMedia 0.5 compatibility. Build fixes.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.2 2001 Bug fixes. LCD widget. UI improvements. Playlist columns configurable. Speed improvements. Searching. Smart sorting of playlists. Shuffle/repeat. Splash screen. Icons registered with the Gtk stock system. Status bar. Proper support for "Various Artist" albums. Threaded song addition. CORBA interface.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.1 2001 Initial release
Old version
Older version, still maintained
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release

See also

This page was last updated at 2023-12-10 16:20 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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