I'm looking for a simple music player for MacOS that queues songs
November 27, 2020 2:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm finally upgrading to the last of the Intel MacBook Pro models and the newest MacOS. Unfortunately, this means giving up the music player I wrote back in 2006. I could write a new one, but I'd rather do other things in my spare time.

Here's what I'm looking for.
* I open a file through the command line or the Finder and the music player plays it.
* If I open more files while it's playing that one, it queues them up and plays them later.
* It does not try to manage my music for me.
* Ideally it should have a simple interface - all I need is pause/play, volume, the filename, and a playback bar. So not a sprawling interface designed by a frustrated muralist.
* Ideally, it shouldn't waste my processor, memory, or drive space.
* That's it. I don't need it to manage my library of music, download album covers, display metadata, include a million customizable skins, hook up to streaming music services, or whatever else. In fact, the fewer of those things it does, the happier I'd be and the less drive space it would waste.

I've already tried VLC. It claims to be able to queue, but empirical evidence suggests otherwise.
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I use Cog for one-offs and Swinsian for music. While the latter may seem to be more complicated than your needs, you can easily eliminate aspects of its interface to simplify it down, and it doesn't, in my opinion, try to overreach. I'll be interested in seeing what others respond, too.
posted by metabaroque at 3:02 PM on November 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


I see you mentioned VLC doesn't work, but it works for me so I just wanted to make sure you had the settings correct. My (linux, v3.0.9.2) install of VLC has the three relevant options:
[ ] "Allow only one instance"
[ ] "Enqueue items into playlist in one instance mode"
[ ] "Use only one instance when started from the file manager"

As long as "Enqueue items into playlist in one instance mode" is checked and one of the other two options are checked, it seems to do what you want. ("Enqueue items into playlist in one instance mode" is greyed out/unavailable if the first option to "Allow only one instance" is not checked, but once you check that first option you can check Enqueue and then use either option for once instance mode).

Anyway, you probably tried that already, but just in case.
posted by ropeladder at 3:33 PM on November 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


From what I can tell, those options don't exist in the MacOS builds of VLC. I'm not sure why the devs felt the need to remove those features, but that seems to be what they did. Starting VLC from the command line using --playlist-enqueue doesn't work, either.
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC at 3:48 PM on November 27, 2020


I believe Quod Libet will do what you want. It's also a damn fine, do one thing, do it well mp3 player.
posted by so fucking future at 3:55 PM on November 27, 2020


Tiny Player is 6 MB. If you select Playlist > Always Enqueue in the menubar, then songs selected in Finder and with Open in the prompt will just be added to the list (as long as the song file's extension is associated with Tiny Player via Get Info > Open with: & Change All...).
posted by jabah at 3:59 PM on November 27, 2020


Go for it an just use Music Player Daemon.

It just sits around playing a queue. You talk to it with a wide variety of CLI/GUI apps that speak the protocol. I have a script `qrandom` that just picks 20 random songs and starts playing the list. You can probably find some widget or something that speaks MPD to put on your taskbar/screen.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:01 PM on November 27, 2020


From what I can tell, those options don't exist in the MacOS builds of VLC. I'm not sure why the devs felt the need to remove those features, but that seems to be what they did. Starting VLC from the command line using --playlist-enqueue doesn't work, either.

Click the "Show All" button at the lower lefthand corner of the preferences window.
posted by metabaroque at 4:11 PM on November 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


I came to recommend Tiny Player but jabah beat me to it. Just for reference, you can make the player window much smaller than the one shown on the website (including hiding the queue). It also has an iOS version that simply plays sideloaded audio files, which is great for those things you want kept out of the iTunes/Music ecosystem.
posted by bcwinters at 4:25 PM on November 27, 2020


Click the "Show All" button at the lower lefthand corner of the preferences window.
Already tried. I mean, VLC runs as a single instance on OS X by default, so it makes sense that those options are missing. It's the queue feature that gets me.
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC at 4:31 PM on November 27, 2020


Already tried. I mean, VLC runs as a single instance on OS X by default, so it makes sense that those options are missing. It's the queue feature that gets me.

Does this work? Interface > Main interfaces > macosx > Auto-playback of new items (uncheck)
posted by metabaroque at 4:53 PM on November 27, 2020


Does this work? Interface > Main interfaces > macosx > Auto-playback of new items (uncheck)

Mostly. It does queue, but it also requires me to hit play if it isn't currently playing anything. That's definitely better than the last combination of settings I had, which got VLC to autoplay when it first opened but not after that. At least this way it's consistent.
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC at 5:08 PM on November 27, 2020


Seconding Cog. It has several forks that are still in active devlopment, each with their own minor variations. One version is located here, and another here, as well as Phonix, though the developer for that has gotten a bit feature crazy with it.

Cog is my daily driver for music on the Mac, and believe it suits all of your qualifications. I've used all of the other programs mentioned so far, and it's my favorite of the lot. Music Player Daemon & Tiny Player would be secondary recommendations, but MPD is too fidgety for my tastes, and I don't like the Tiny Player interface. I find VLC filled with too many extraneous options for video formats, and it possesses a hideous interface to boot. I do actually like Quod Libet, but it is a library-based player (à la iTunes/Music or whatever the hell they call it now), and as such would probably be too feature rich for your needs. Swinsian is also library-based, and it is is both proprietary and commercial software, which are always negatives in my book.
posted by talking leaf at 3:16 AM on November 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


I do your use case in VLC -- but I drag items onto the queue, rather than command-line queuing stuff, and save-load the queue to m3u files, and use the play/pause media keys on my keyboard to start and stop playing (after 25-ish years of condescencion against those addons).

If there was a player which would shuffle within an album and made sure I could level up all my music to the same play count ... that would be my minimal feature set.
posted by k3ninho at 11:11 AM on November 28, 2020


If you are good with playing a m3u file like in k3ninho's suggestion, you can create one with a text editor, and then play it in many different players, including VLC.

https://www.lifewire.com/m3u-file-2621955


This is my backup, since my home-made music player is flash, and flash is about to be retired. It works great.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:17 PM on November 30, 2020


Tiny Player looks a whole lot like what I want, but I'm stuck on one simple problem. Say it's finished playing everything I've opened and not playing anything. I open another song, and all it does is add that song to the list of tracks and then carefully doesn't play it. Is there a way to persuade it to play a new song even though it already finished playing other songs?
posted by Fanghorn Dungeon, LLC at 9:07 AM on December 2, 2020


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