Pianobar command-line Pandora client

I’m a full-time [Pandora](http://www.pandora.com) listener. Spend the time and make yourself a good station. There really isn’t any going back.

Surprisingly enough, no enterprising Mac dev has made a good native Pandora player. There are a fair number out there that embed the Flash player into a thin [WebKit](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebKit) shell. That works well enough but it’s no improvement over a background browser tab or [Pandora’s Desktop client](http://www.pandora.com/desktop_app) based on [Adobe Air](http://www.adobe.com/products/air/). Although [Flash 10.1](http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer10/) should bring improvements, the continuing holy-war between Apple and Flash remains testament to sub-par performance and stability of Flash on the Mac. Having the Adobe AIR runtime[Flash] loaded with Pandora chews a minimum 7%-10% CPU and can be much worse. ArsTechnica reported [40-50% usage](http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2008/06/pandoras-desktop-client-convenient-to-use-faces-challenges.ars).

Check out the [Pianobar client](http://github.com/PromyLOPh/pianobar), which is arguably more full-featured than any other solution and uses minimal resources. You’ll need to have [MacPorts](http://www.macports.org/) or [Homebrew](http://github.com/mxcl/homebrew) correctly installed in order to install Pianobar, but you probably do if you’ve made it this far into my post.

To install with MacPorts:

1. sudo port install libao faad2 libmad cmake git-core
2. git clone git://github.com/PromyLOPh/pianobar.git
3. cd pianobar
4. cmake . && make && sudo make install

Then you run it with the pianobar command:

Welcome to pianobar! Press ? for a list of commands.
[?] Username: [email protected]
[?] Password:
(i) Login… Ok.
(i) Get stations… Ok.
0) Classical Music Medley Radio
1) q Hemancuso Radio
2) Ray LaMontagne Radio
3) Stevie Wonder Radio

[?] Select station: 1

And you’re up and running. While playing you can get a list of available commands by pressing ?

+ love current song
– ban current song
a add music to current station
c create new station
d delete current station
e explain why this song is played
g add genre station
h song history
i print information about current song/station
j add shared station
m move song to different station
n next song
p pause/continue
q quit
r rename current station
s change station
t tired (ban song for 1 month)
u upcoming songs
x select quickmix stations
b bookmark song/artist

As you can see, it’s full featured and then some.

  • http://elmak.org/ Elmak

    Using Homebrew is much easier.

    One command: brew install pianobar


  • http://turadg.aleahmad.net/ Turadg

    Pianobar is almost exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thanks for sharing it.

    One tip to readers: Homebrew has some nice improvements over MacPorts and using it instead is as simple as:

    sudo brew install libao faad2 libmad cmake git

  • Spencer Lawley

    Anyone have any ideas for being able to capture the stream and record it like some pandora clients allow? I’ve been using PandoraJam for this in the past, but it’s definitely capable of pegging the CPU at 40% continuously.

  • tony

    Nice work. I love pandora.

    Now I am wondering if it would work for linux (ubuntu) … I am going to have to test it.

  • Joe

    Pandora is great (and I love the command-line interface of Pianobar!) but Grooveshark has stolen my time when it comes to music. They just offer a superior service for free.

  • aaron

    @tony Works great on Linux (ubuntu). Pandora is one thing that is blocked at work but I’ve been able to get around it by using pianobar and using my home pc as a proxy.

    Awesome app.

  • Kyle

    Try the following for debian/ubuntu:

    sudo apt-get install libao-dev libfaad-dev libmad0-dev cmake git-core
    git clone git://github.com/PromyLOPh/pianobar.git
    cd pianobar && make

  • Kyle

    Try the following for debian/ubuntu:

    sudo apt-get install libao-dev libfaad-dev libmad0-dev cmake git-core

    git clone git://github.com/PromyLOPh/pianobar.git

    cd pianobar && make

  • http://www.alfajango.com/blog Steve Schwartz

    FYI, pianobar no longer uses cmake to build and install. Now on mac, you can just run:

    sudo port install pianobar

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