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Pianobar is a free/open-source, console-based client for the personalized online radio Pandora.


  • play and manage (create, add more music, delete, rename, ...) stations
  • rate songs and explain why they have been selected
  • upcoming songs/song history
  • customize keybindings and text output
  • remote control and eventcmd interface (send tracks to last.fm, for example)
  • proxy support for listeners outside the USA


Pianobar can be installed from the Official Repositories with the package pianobar.


First, you need to create a configuration file for Pianobar. This should be located at $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pianobar/config or ~/.config/pianobar/config

$ man pianobar
       The  configuration file consists of simple key = value lines, each ter‐
       minated with a newline (\n) character. Note that keys  and  values  are
       both  case  sensitive, and there must be exactly one space on each side
       of the equals sign.

       act_* keys control pianobar's key-bindings.  Every  one-byte  character
       except for \x00 and the special value disabled are allowed here.

Here is an example configuration file. See man pandora for more configuration options.

$ ~/.config/pandora/config
audio_quality = {high, medium, low}
autostart_station = stationid

password = plaintext_password
user = your@user.name


If you are experiencing sound/quality issues when running pianobar, and you are currently using ALSA as your sound driver, the following fix may be useful:

  • Install alsa-oss. See the ALSA page for more information.
  • Change the default libao driver from alsa to oss.
  • Now to run pianobar:
$ aoss pianobar
  • Alternatively, you can use pulseaudio.

Be sure to remove the dev=default option of the alsa driver or adjust it to specify a specific Pulse sink name or number.

Note: The provided fix may affect other applications that use audio since the default driver is being changed. Switch back to the normal configuration at anytime by editing /etc/libao.conf