My media manager: The cloud

Xubuntu 16.04 LTS will be the first Xubuntu release without a default media manager. To help those without a favorite one, we’ve put up this series where some of the Xubuntu team members talk about their favorite media managers. Later in the series we discuss some cloud services and other media manager options in the Ubuntu repositories. Enjoy!

In addition to the more traditional media managers which manage local collections, more and more people use cloud based streaming services. In this article, we talk about the cloud services and players used by the Xubuntu team.

Google Play Music

Google Play Music is available widely in the world, coverage areas including most of the Americas, Europe, Australia and more. You can use Google Play Music for free, but paid subscription options are available. Their song catalogue covers 35 million songs.

David: I mainly listen to music locally, CDs and vinyls. At work I usually use Google Play Music. Apart from their huge catalogue, there’s also the possibility of uploading up to 50000 songs, using the Google Play Music Manager API.

Elizabeth: I also listen to a lot of music locally, typically MP3s I’ve bought or created from CDs. However, I also have a monthly subscription to Google Play Music for the latest music I don’t feel compelled to buy directly. I’m using the web-based player in Google Chrome on Xubuntu, but it also seamlessly integrates with all my Android devices (including my watch!) via the Android apps.


Pandora is available in Australia, New Zealand and the United States only. Their song catalogue is between one and two million songs.

The easiest way to use Pandora on Xubuntu is the web interface at For those seeking tighter or geekier (read: more fun) integration with the desktop, there are unofficial GTK+ and terminal clients available. The GTK+ client, Pithos, includes sound indicator and notification support. The terminal client, pianobar, allows station management and playback, as well as keybinding support. Both clients are available in the Ubuntu repositories.

Sean: I stream all of my music. I have a small music library from when I was younger, but became bored with my own lack of variety. While I occasionally use Spotify, I almost always stream Pandora, switching between the web interface, Android application, and the Pithos GTK+ client. If I’ve got music playing, it’s coming from one of my 50+ Pandora stations.


Spotify is available widely in the world, coverage areas including most of the Americas, Europe and Australia. You can use Spotify for free, but paid subscription options are available. Their song catalogue covers about 30 million songs.

Currently, the easiest way to use Spotify on Xubuntu is the web interface at Playing and browsing works well with the web interface, but if you want desktop integration (sound indicator and notifications), you will have to install the desktop client. The desktop client isn’t available from the Ubuntu repositories directly, but Spotify offers their own repository and instructions on setting the desktop app up at the Spotify website. Please note: The desktop client is unsupported by Spotify. Since it’s closed source, it is also unsupported by the Xubuntu team. That said, our experience says it works well for most of the people and is totally worth trying if you want to use Spotify with desktop integration.

Pasi: While I mostly listen to music locally, I occasionally use Spotify to listen to new music that I want to try before I buy. For this purpose the web interface is more than good enough – the collection is also large enough to find most of the things I’m looking for.