Frequently Asked Questions

Basic information

What audio file formats does Rhythmbox support ?

Rhythmbox uses the GStreamer media framework for actual playback and a lot of other functionality, so in general Rhythmbox plays exactly those formats that are supported by GStreamer. GStreamer, on the other hand, uses a plugin system where each format is supported by a plugin. Thus, the formats supported by GStreamer ( and Rhythmbox ) depends on which plugins you have installed. Different distributions may ship with a different set of plugins by default.

To look for plug-ins, go to

Where does Rhythmbox store its data ?




${HOME}/Music is the default location. It can be changed in preferences.


${HOME}/Music is the default location. It can be changed in preferences.







Where can I download plugins for Rhythmbox ?

Refer Apps/Rhythmbox/Plugins/ThirdParty page for the list of plugins.

I've downloaded a Rhythmbox plugin from ThirdParty page. What should I do to install the plugin and make it work with Rhythmbox ?

Extract the plugin and copy the plugin folder to one of the following locations, based on your needs:



User specific


System wide ( needs root access )


Now restart Rhythmbox. Goto Menu -> Plugins. Your new plugin should be listed there.

My plugin is not loaded even after performing the above steps. What should I do now ?

If the plugin is a Python plugin, please note that Rhythmbox only supports plugins written for python3. You cannot use python2 plugins with the latest rhythmbox. Check the ".plugin" file which comes along with your plugin, for "python3" loader:

user@server:/usr/lib/rhythmbox/plugins/rbzeitgeist$ cat rbzeitgeist.plugin | grep "Loader"

If the loader is not the issue, then try starting Rhythmbox in a terminal to check for any error / warning information related to the plugin.

How do I restore the default list of radio stations ?

Run the following command and restart Rhythmbox

user@server:~$ gsettings set org.gnome.rhythmbox.plugins.iradio initial-stations-loaded false

Note, that this will restore only the default radio stations that got shipped with Rhythmbox.

Where does Rhythmbox fetches artwork from ?

Rhythmbox uses to look up artwork.

If you have local image files, saved in the same directory as the audio file(s) with the filename "cover", "album", "albumart", ".folder", "folder" or "$artist - $album" Rhythmbox will use them instead of looking up a cover on It will also use images extracted from file tags.

How do I set the music dir in an external device ?

Create a .is_audio_player file on the device. You can set a few fields in this file to override the media-player-info device information like this:


But if the media-player-info information for your device is wrong, you should file a bug, either with your distribution or in, to get it fixed.

After importing my MP3 files, why do my tags look all wrong ?

This usually happens, when your files are using a wrong charset. A lot of applications (especially older ones) created those broken ID3v1 tags. Unfortunately it is not possible to automatically detect this. But with a bit of work it can be fixed by retagging those files. You'll need Easytag for this. This works in Easytag 1.99:

  • from the menu, open Settings => Preferences

  • navigate to the ID3 Tag Settings page
  • make sure the "Write ID3V2 Tag" option is enabled
  • set the "Character set for ID3 tags" to "Always save tags to UNICODE character set"
  • below in the experts frame set "Use nonstandard character set when reading ID3 tags" to the charset the files are tagged in.
  • save the preferences
  • select all files that have wrong tags in the Easytag browser.
  • from the menu, select File => Force Saving files.

Now the files should be fixed. When restarting Rhythmbox, it should rescan those files correctly. If it doesn't do this, delete them from the library and import them again.

Can I use MIDI files with Rhythmbox ?

The Wildmidi plugin works fine with rhythmbox.

Development information

/!\ Please, read the Newcomers guide first. /!\

How do I check out a copy of Rhythmbox from the git repository ?

user@server:~/git$ git clone git://

Use 'git pull' to update your checkout.

How do I build Rhythmbox from git ?

You will probably need to install intltool and gtk-doc-tools

user@server:~/git/rhythmbox$ ./
user@server:~/git/rhythmbox$ make
root@server:~/git/rhythmbox$ make install
root@server:~/git/rhythmbox$ sudo ldconfig

This installs rhythmbox into into /usr/local/. In general, it's better to install it under your home directory:

user@server:~/git/rhythmbox$ ./ --prefix=$HOME/gnome-git/rhythmbox --disable-scrollkeeper
user@server:~/git/rhythmbox$ make
user@server:~/git/rhythmbox$ make install

Or you can just run it from the source tree:

user@server:~/git/rhythmbox$ shell/rhythmbox

How do I debug the metadata helper ?

  1. Run the metadata helper (rhythmbox-metadata, usually in /usr/lib, /usr/libexec or /usr/lib64) under whatever debugging tool you want to use (gdb, valgrind, etc.)
  2. Copy the D-Bus address it prints out
  3. Elsewhere, run 'RB_DBUS_METADATA_ADDRESS=<address> rhythmbox'

  4. Do whatever you need to do

Apps/Rhythmbox/FAQ (last edited 2016-04-11 08:53:03 by EmmanueleBassi)