Spotify

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Spotify is a digital music streaming service with a freemium business model. This article is mainly about the semi-official, proprietary Spotify for Linux client, which is developed by Spotify's engineers in their spare time and not actively supported by Spotify.[1] Alternatively, there is an online player and a couple of open source third-party clients.

Installation

Spotify for Linux can be installed with the spotifyAUR or spotify-stableAUR package. If you wish to play local files you will need to additionally install zenity and ffmpeg-compat-54AUR.

Third-party clients

  • Spotifyd — An open source Spotify client running as a UNIX daemon. Spotifyd streams music just like the official client, but is more lightweight and supports more platforms. Spotifyd also supports the Spotify Connect protocol which makes it show up as a device that can be controlled from the official clients.
https://github.com/Spotifyd/spotifyd || spotifydAUR
  • Clementine — Able to stream from Spotify with a premium account after activating (downloading) a plugin in the settings.
https://www.clementine-player.org/ || clementine
  • Mopidy — An alternative plug-in based implementation of Music Player Daemon is able to stream from Spotify with an extension.
https://www.mopidy.com/ || mopidy+ mopidy-spotifyAUR or despotify-svnAUR[broken link: package not found]
  • Librespot — An open source client library for Spotify. It enables applications to use Spotify's service (streaming), without using the official closed-source libspotify.
https://github.com/librespot-org/librespot || librespot-gitAUR
  • Tomahawk — A Music Player App written in C++/Qt
https://www.tomahawk-player.org/ || tomahawkAUR tomahawk-gitAUR tomahawk-qt5AUR

Tips & tricks

Limit storage size

Spotify automatically manage a storage size for caching, however one may want to force the size limit preventing the filesystem from filling up.

Append storage.size (measured in MB) to /home/user/.config/spotifiy/prefs, e.g. a storage size of 3072MB:

~/.config/spotify/prefs
storage.size=3072

Global media hotkeys

Tip: Many desktop environments come with keyboard shortcuts which work with the Spotify client out of the box e.g. under Cinnamon (Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> Sound and Media), several default bindings are set up to control the player, and these can easily be changed by pressing the preferred keys.

For environments in which controlling Spotify via the keyboard doesn't work automatically, the official Linux client has support for media keys like XF86AudioPlay. We can use for example xbindkeys to catch the global media keypresses, and then forward them to Spotify using one of the methods below. If you use xbindkeys, ensure that Spotify is restarted after installation and key configuration otherwise the key events will not be properly caught.

MPRIS

The Spotify client implements the MPRIS2 D-Bus interface which allows external control.

Playerctl

The playerctl utility provides a command line tool to send commands to MPRIS clients. The only commands you will likely need to bind globally are play-pause, next and previous

$ playerctl play-pause
$ playerctl next
$ playerctl previous

Playerctl will send the command to the first player it finds, so this method will also work with others players such as vlc. To ignore other players, pass --player=spotify as an argument.

D-Bus

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

To play or pause the current song in Spotify:

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

In order to bind this and the other commands to the media keys you need to install Xbindkeys and edit your .xbindkeysrc and add the following lines:

# Play/Pause
"dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.PlayPause"
XF86AudioPlay

# Next
"dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Next"
XF86AudioNext

# Previous
"dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Previous"
XF86AudioPrev

# Stop
"dbus-send --print-reply --dest=org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.spotify /org/mpris/MediaPlayer2 org.mpris.MediaPlayer2.Player.Stop"
XF86AudioStop

If the above commands do not work, try setting the dbus address:

 USER=`whoami`
 PROCESS=spotify
 PID=`pgrep -o -u $USER $PROCESS`
 ENVIRON=/proc/$PID/environ
 if [ -e $ENVIRON ]
 then
     export `grep -z DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS $ENVIRON`
 else
     echo "Unable to set DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS."
     exit 1
 fi

pactl (pulseaudio)

As you might have noticed, MPRIS protocol commands don't include volume control. This is broken within spotify itself, which ignores volume change requests. However, there is a possibility to control volume via pulseaudio's input sink:

$ pactl set-sink-input-volume "$current_sink_num" +1% #volume up by 1%
$ pactl set-sink-input-volume "$current_sink_num" -1% #volume down by 1%
$ pactl set-sink-input-mute "$current_sink_num" toggle #mute toggler

The sink number for "$current_sink_num" can be found in the output of command:

$ pactl list sink-inputs
Sink Input #3 << here
Driver: protocol-native.c
[...]
application.name = "Spotify"

You can create a script for changing volume and bind it for example to keyboard shortcut via desktop environments configuration or xdotool described in next section. Here are some examples:

Bash:

#!/bin/bash
LANGUAGE="en_US"
app_name="Spotify"
current_sink_num=
sink_num_check=
app_name_check=
pactl list sink-inputs |while read line; do \
    sink_num_check=$(echo "$line" |sed -rn 's/^Sink Input #(.*)/\1/p')
    if [ "$sink_num_check" != "" ]; then
        current_sink_num="$sink_num_check"
    else
        app_name_check=$(echo "$line" \
            |sed -rn 's/application.name = "([^"]*)"/\1/p')
            if [ "$app_name_check" = "$app_name" ]; then
                pactl set-sink-input-volume "$current_sink_num" +1%
            fi
    fi
done

This script is based on work done by user Mikołak in this post.

Unfortunately this script is not the fastest solution and if you execute it multiple times via keyboard hotkey, it might become laggy.

Faster (like 10 times) Python code (requires at least Python 3.7 to be installed):

#!/usr/bin/env python3
#Author: Marcin Kocur, attribution license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
import subprocess
import os
x=0
y=0
env = os.environ
env['LANG'] = 'en_US'
app = '"Spotify"'
pactl = subprocess.check_output(['pactl', 'list', 'sink-inputs'], env=env).decode().strip().split()
if app in pactl:
    for e in pactl:
        x += 1
        if e == app:
            break
    for i in pactl[0 : x -1 ]:
        y += 1
        if i == 'Sink' and pactl[y] == 'Input' and '#' in pactl[y + 1]:
            sink_id = pactl[y+1]
        if i == 'Volume:' and '%' in pactl[y + 3]:
            volume = pactl[y + 3]
    sink_id = sink_id[1: ]
    volume = volume[ : -1 ]
    if int(volume) < 100:
        subprocess.run(['pactl', 'set-sink-input-volume', sink_id, '+1%'])

You can save it to a .py file. The last line does the actual job, so you can adjust the command to lower the volume or toggle mute.

xdotool

With the help of xdotool it is possible to send your hotkeys to the application. The following script is an example of how to control Spotify from the outside:

#!/bin/sh

case $1 in
   "play")
       key="XF86AudioPlay"
       ;;
   "next")
       key="XF86AudioNext"
       ;;
   "prev")
       key="XF86AudioPrev"
       ;;
   *)
       echo "Usage: $0 play|next|prev"
       exit 1
        ;;
esac
xdotool key --window $(xdotool search --name "Spotify (Premium |Unlimited |Free )?- Linux Preview"|head -n1) $key
exit 0

Let us call it musickeys.sh. Make the script executable:

$ chmod +x musickeys.sh

By executing ./musickeys.sh play you can now toggle playing a song. Now you can bind this script to any tool that catches keypresses, such as xbindkeys.

Disable track notifications

Note: It is worth noting that if you have a SpotCommanderAUR Server running alongside Spotify, and you disable track notifications by following the instructions below, the SpotCommander Client running on your mobile device will display that “No Music is Playing” and will fail to display track info such as title, artist, album art, etc. Apart from that, the mobile client still works fine though, and is still able to skip, play, pause, control volume, etc.

After version 0.9.10, track change notifications were enabled by default. They can be quite intrusive. To disable them, add the following line to ~/.config/spotify/Users/<spotifylogin>-user/prefs

 ui.track_notifications_enabled=false

It is also possible to launch spotify with the --ui.track_notifications_enabled=false option.

Show track notifications

playerctl provides a library you can use with python-gobject and a notification daemon such as dunst to show the artist and title in a notification when the track changes.

#!/usr/bin/env python3

from gi.repository import Playerctl, GLib
from subprocess import Popen

player = Playerctl.Player()

def on_track_change(player, e):
    track_info = '{artist} - {title}'.format(artist=player.get_artist(), title=player.get_title())
    Popen(['notify-send', track_info])

player.on('metadata', on_track_change)

GLib.MainLoop().run()

Skip overplayed radio tracks

Another use of the playerctl library is to skip tracks that are played too much on radio when you do not necessarily want to downvote these tracks because you may want to hear them again later on that station.

#!/usr/bin/env python3

from gi.repository import Playerctl, GLib

player = Playerctl.Player()

played_out = ['Zu Fuss', 'Walk And Talk', 'Neuland']

def on_track_change(player, e):
    if player.get_title() in played_out:
        player.next()

player.on('metadata', on_track_change)

GLib.MainLoop().run()

Mute commercials

Warning: Muting commercials is not supported by Spotfiy and may result in a temporary ban [2]

blockify

With blockify you can mute commercials. It is available in the AUR as blockifyAUR.

To have this start and run in the background every time Spotify starts you will need to automate this yourself:

#!/bin/sh

spotify=/usr/bin/spotify

if [[ -x $spotify && -x /usr/bin/blockify ]];
then
  blockify &
  block_pid=$!
  $spotify
  trap "kill -9 $block_pid" SIGINT SIGTERM EXIT
fi

By placing this script at /usr/local/bin/spotify, it gets preferred to /usr/bin/spotify everytime you start Spotify, so there's nothing else to change and updates won't break it.

spotblock

spotblock (spotblock-gitAUR) is a resource-efficient ad blocker that runs as a systemd daemon.

Spotify-AdKiller

Spotify-AdKiller (spotify-adkiller-gitAUR) is another alternative to block Spotify ads.

Hosts file

You may also add the following lines to your hosts file to block ads in Spotify :

/etc/hosts
# Block spotify ads
127.0.0.1 media-match.com
127.0.0.1 adclick.g.doublecklick.net
127.0.0.1 www.googleadservices.com
127.0.0.1 open.spotify.com
127.0.0.1 pagead2.googlesyndication.com
127.0.0.1 desktop.spotify.com
127.0.0.1 googleads.g.doubleclick.net
127.0.0.1 pubads.g.doubleclick.net
127.0.0.1 audio2.spotify.com
127.0.0.1 www.omaze.com
127.0.0.1 omaze.com
127.0.0.1 bounceexchange.com
#127.0.0.1 spclient.wg.spotify.com
127.0.0.1 securepubads.g.doubleclick.net

spclient.wg.spotify.com now appears to block radio and daily mixes, as well as recently played songs.

Remote Control

Send commands via SSH

If you set up ssh on the server, you can send controls from a client to a remote Spotify instance with

$ ssh user@host yourcommand

where yourcommand can be spotifycmd that you installed on the server, or a dbus script for the linux version, as described above.

Grab the Spotify window via SSH

Aside from grabbing the whole desktop with TeamViewer or VNC to remotely control your server, you can also only grab the Spotify Window from the server to your client.

To do that, you need to configure sshd on your server and install x11vnc on both server and client as well as tigervnc on the client. Then you can use these scripts to grab either the complete dektop or only the Spotify window, which essentially gets you GUI client-like behavior as with MPD.

#!/bin/bash
# vncget.sh

if [[ $1 == all ]];then
  ssh -f -t -L 5900:localhost:5900 user@host "x11vnc -q -display :0 -auth .Xauthority"
else
  ssh -f -t -L 5900:localhost:5900 user@host ".bin/vncgetspotify.sh"
fi
 
for i in {1..4}; do
  sleep 2
  if vncviewer localhost:0; then break; fi
done
#!/bin/bash
# vncgetspotify.sh

export DISPLAY=:0

id=$(wmctrl -lx | awk '/spotify.exe.Wine/ {print $1}')
[[ -z $id ]] && id=$(wmctrl -lx | awk '/spotify.Spotify/ {print $1}')

x11vnc -sid $id -display :0 -auth .Xauthority

You will need to copy the second script to ~/.bin/vncgetspotify.sh on the server and the first script to any place on your client.

Finally, to grab the spotify window, run on the client:

$ sh vncget.sh

or, for the whole desktop:

$ sh vncget.sh all

HiDPI Mode

As the current Spotify build is not DPI aware, the amount to scale the interface by can be specified using the terminal command:

$ spotify --force-device-scale-factor=X

where X is the amount to scale the interface by, e.g 2.

This change can be added to the spotify.desktop file in order to apply the scaling when launching from the desktop.

To make sure the file does not get overwritten when the package is updated, copy it to you local applications folder:

$ cp /usr/share/applications/spotify.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/

Now edit ~/.local/share/applications/spotify.desktop and add the --force-device-scale-factor option:

spotify.desktop
[Desktop Entry]
Name=Spotify
GenericName=Music Player
Comment=Spotify streaming music client
Icon=spotify-client
Exec=spotify --force-device-scale-factor=2 %U
TryExec=spotify
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Categories=Audio;Music;Player;AudioVideo
MimeType=x-scheme-handler/spotify

You might need to relaunch your Desktop Manager, before these override changes will be effective.

Troubleshooting

Desktop Environment alerts (beeps) mutes Spotify

Comment out "module-role-cork" in pulse audio configuration file.

Open /etc/pulse/default.pa with your text editor and comment out:

load-module module-role-cork 

Or simply unload it with:

pactl unload-module module-role-cork

Using search causes the whole interface to blink and then crash

Spotify is using an old version of Chromium Embedded Framework and hits a bug causing it to crash repeatedly when trying to use the search. This can be worked around by using the following command line option:

 --force-device-scale-factor=1.0000001

Blinking images and improper rendering while using Spotify Linux with DWM

Start spotify as a floating window.

You can add this rule to the rules array in your config.h:

 { "Spotify",     NULL,       NULL,        2,         True,     -1 },

This will tell dwm to start spotify as a floating window associated with the tag "2" no matter what window mode you are in. Recompile and install dwm to apply your new settings.

Broken search, browsing or radio

Spotify bug report concerning non-english locales

If various tabs like browsing only show a blank screen, the search field doesn't seem to do anything or the radio page is broken (stuck when starting and unsresponsive to input) you might be using a custom locale.

Try setting the environment variable LC_NUMERIC to en_US.utf8 before starting Spotify.

Deadlock GUI Thread

Can occur under tiling window managers, such as Awesome, when double-clicking new song or playlist. Edit the file ~/.config/spotify/Users/[1-9]*-user/prefs to add or change the following:

ui.track_notifications_enabled=false

Restart Spotify. Note that several causes appear to exist for this problem, and this particular fix only applies to select versions of Spotify client, i3 and Awesome, and it may be that additional root causes exist for the Debian and Ubuntu users reporting this issue. Observed with Spotify 0.9.17.1.g9b85d436 and Awesome 3.4.15 and i3-gaps 4.13-2 and Spotify 1.0.64.407.g9bd02c2d.

Note: As of Spotify 1.0.17.75-2, ui.track_notifications_enabled=false seems to be ignored. On the other hand, some users report not experiencing the deadlock anymore as of Awesome 3.5.6. Deadlocks could be caused by scripts called by Awesome, which rely on buggy spotify dbus properties. See [3].

Note: This issue has multiple causes, so keep track of what you change while researching this. Update this section with additional scenarios and fixes.

Album art and images are missing, show up as squares

Quit spotify, then open spotify preferences ~/.config/spotify/prefs

Change @https to @http:

 network.proxy.addr="your-proxy.com:80@http"
 network.proxy.mode=2

See original form post here.

Note: As of 1.0.17 it looks like replacing https with http as suggested above can result in no connectivity at all. If this happens an alternative solution is to set 'no proxy' in the GUI use proxychains-ng to force all TCP connection coming from the app through a proxy. Even with HTTP proxies that reject connections on port 80 (and only work for port 443) this works reliably.

Spotify does not detect other devices on local network

If a firewall is in place, open ports 57621 for UDP and TCP. If you use a variant of the iptables Simple stateful firewall, the following should do it:

iptables -A TCP -p tcp --dport 57621 -j ACCEPT -m comment --comment spotify
iptables -A UDP -p udp --dport 57621 -j ACCEPT -m comment --comment spotify

It is also possible to restrict the source and destination to the local network.

If you are using Spotify Connect to play music on a wireless speaker or AVR, your firewall needs to be configured for Spotify's mDNS lookup of those. Sadly, it uses a random unprivileged port [4] which makes these firewall rules rather nasty. Fortunately, you can restrict the rules to source port 1900 or 5353.

iptables -A UDP -p udp --sport 1900 --dport 1025:65535 -j ACCEPT -m comment --comment spotify
iptables -A UDP -p udp --sport 5353 --dport 1025:65535 -j ACCEPT -m comment --comment spotify

Search Bar text is invisible when using a dark theme

The text in the search bar appears to be hardcoded to be white, making it invisible when using a dark Qt theme. To fix this, you'll need to make an override.

First create a css file somewhere your account has permission to read/write from (such as your home folder). Call it whatever you like (eg. spotify-override.css).

Open the newly created css file and add the following:

QLineEdit { color: #000 }

Save the file and exit. Next, you need to add the following to the end of your Spotify launcher (substitute the path with the actual path of your css file):

-stylesheet=/home/user/spotify-overide.css

So your full launch path should look something like this:

/usr/share/spotify/spotify-client/spotify -stylesheet=/home/user/spotify-override.css

Can't play local files

If you get a segmentation fault or error message when trying to play local files e.g.

   This song is not available. If you have the file on your computer you can import it.

- it's caused by a missing libavcodec dependency. For PulseAudio users, installing ffmpeg-compat-54AUR should fix it. If you get PGP verification errors when you install it you might have to import the correct PGP key.

   $ gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys FCF986EA15E6E293A5644F10B4322F04D67658D8

Not respecting window manager rules

Window manager that try to apply specific rules like starting it on a determined workspace or maximizing it on startup, has no effect, as Spotify doesn't set the WM_CLASS property before creating the window, violating the ICCCM specifications. One solution is to use spotifywm.

GUI hangs while the music plays

Also the previous and next track buttons act with a delay of 10-40 seconds. Spotify by default tries to send notification about next track, if you don't have a notification-daemon installed, Spotify's GUI hangs.

The solution is to either disable notifications in the settings or to install a notification daemon from Desktop notifications.

Can't open settings in Wayland

When using Wayland, clicking on the 'Settings' button does nothing. Using the keyboard instead will work (arrows and enter). See [5]

See also

  • playerctl — A command-line utility and library for controlling media players
  • SpotCommander — A web based remote control for Spotify
  • Spotify for Linux — Spotify's homepage for the Linux client