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MPRIS (Media Player Remote Interfacing Specification) is a standard D-Bus interface which aims to provide a common programmatic API for controlling media players.

It provides a mechanism for discovery, querying and basic playback control of compliant media players, as well as a track list interface which is used to add context to the active media item.

Supported clients

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Control utilities

Tip: Create a key binding for common control commands and multimedia keys such as XF86AudioPlay, XF86AudioStop, XF86AudioPrev and XF86AudioNext.


The playerctl utility provides a command line tool to send commands to MPRIS clients. The most common commands are play-pause, next and previous:

$ playerctl play-pause
$ playerctl next
$ playerctl previous

playerctl will send the command to the first player it finds. To select a player manually, use the --player option, e.g. --player=vlc.


The mpris_player_control is a shell script which integrates dbus-send and pactl to control MPRIS clients. It supports the Play, Pause, PlayPause and Stop actions and sink volume control (mute/unmute/up/down) for Spotify.

Run mpris_player_control -h to show basic script usage.


An alternative to the above is to manually use D-Bus, which should be available by default as it is a dependency of systemd.

For example, the following commands can be used to control Spotify:

$ dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.PlayPause
$ dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Next
$ dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Previous
$ dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Stop


Media control from bluetooth headsets and similar devices may be forwarded to MPRIS.

Note: Some headphones such as Sony WH-1000XM3 provide an AVRCP interface. For these types mpris-proxy is not required. Just make sure you have key bindings set up for media keys.

Install the bluez-utils package and run mpris-proxy. In order to start up mpris-proxy in the background and/or when your system starts, you may create a systemd/User service:

Description=Forward bluetooth media controls to MPRIS



Then start/enable the service with the --user flag.