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How to set up a music library in Rhythmbox on Linux

New to Linux and looking to add your music to Rhythmbox but unsure of how to do it? We can help! Follow along in this guide as we go over how to set up your music library in Rhythmbox.

Installing Rhythmbox on Linux

Rhythmbox is the default music player on a lot of mainstream Linux operating systems that use the Gnome Shell desktop environment. The reason? It’s a reliable player that has been around for a very long time, and it has dozens of useful features that users will love, and it’s an excellent app if you’d like to listen to the radio. That said, you may need to install it by hand if you are using an alternative desktop environment, such as XFCE4, Mate, or others.

In this section of the guide, we will demonstrate how to install the Rhythmbox music player on the Linux platform. Open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow the command-line instructions outlined below that correspond with your Linux operating system.


On Ubuntu Linux, users can quickly install the Rhythmbox music player by entering the following Apt command in a terminal window.

sudo apt install rhythmbox


If you’re using Debian Linux, you will be able to install the Rhythmbox music player with the Apt-get command below. However, be warned that if you are using Debian, the Rhythmbox music player may be seriously out of date and lacking essential features. Install the Flatpak version instead if you need a newer Rhythmbox.

sudo apt-get install rhythmbox

Arch Linux

On Arch Linux, the Rhythmbox music player is easily installed with the Pacman package manager.

sudo pacman -S rhythmbox


Those using the Gnome Shell release of Fedora, you will likely already have the Rhythmbox music player installed. However, it does not come in other Fedora Spins. To install it, use the Dnf package manager command below.

sudo dnf install rhythmbox


In OpenSUSE Linux, you will be able to install the Rhythmbox music player with the Zypper package manager command in the terminal.

sudo zypper install rhythmbox


The Rhythmbox music player is a part of the Gnome project and has been for a very long time. As a result, it is available for installation as a Flatpak. This app being available in this way is excellent, as it means that any Linux distribution can run it so long as it supports Flatpak.

To install the Rhythmbox music player as a Flatpak, ensure that you have the Flatpak runtime set up on your computer. Then, once that’s working, use the commands below to set up the app.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo flatpak install flathub org.gnome.Rhythmbox3

Set up music library in Rhythmbox

Now that the Rhythmbox music player is installed on your Linux PC, we can move on to demonstrate how to add music to the app. Keep in mind that Rhythmbox, like most music apps on Linux expects music files to be in ~/Music.

So, the first step in adding music to the Rhythmbox is to place any MP3, FLAC, OGG, and other audio file types in that directory using the Linux file manager.

When putting music files in the ~/Music directory on your Linux PC, structure everything according to the formula listed below. The more organized your files are, the easier time Rhythmbox will have at detecting your music.

~/Music > ARTIST (folder) > ALBUM (folder) > FILES

After organizing your music files in the ~/Music folder, close the Linux file manager. Then, once the Linux file manager is closed, find Rhythmbox in your app menu and launch it on the desktop.

As the Rhythmbox music player opens for the first time, it will not have any of your music files in the library. The reason? Rhythmbox does not have automatic detection enabled by default.

Instead, to add the music files to your Rhythmbox library that you’ve previously placed in ~/Music, you must do the following.

Step 1: Find the “Gear” icon on the right in the Rhythmbox app and click on it with the mouse.

Step 2: By clicking on the “Gear” icon, you will reveal a menu. In this menu, locate the “Add Music” option, and select it with the mouse to go to Rhythmbox’s importing page.

Step 3: Allow the Rhythmbox app to automatically detect music files inside the ~/Music directory. Detection may take a bit, depending on how many files you have, so be patient!

Step 4: Click the import tracks button to import discovered files into your Rhythmbox library.

When your music is imported into the Rhythmbox library, click “Music” to access your songs!

Enable auto-detection

The Rhythmbox app has a feature that can automatically add in new music files (as long as they are placed in ~/Music). To enable this feature, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Click on the “Gear” icon on the right in Rhythmbox.

Step 2: Inside of the “Gear” menu, find “Preferences,” and click it with the mouse.

Step 3: In “Preferences,” check the box labeled “Watch my library for new files.”

After selecting “Watch my library for new files,” Rhythmbox will be able to add new music files to your library automatically.

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