Frequently Asked Questions

What is Amarok?

Amarok is an audio player. More information can be found in a summary of its features and the screenshot gallery. To get started using Amarok, see the Quick Start Guide. The Amarok Handbook is here.

What are the differences between Amarok 2 and the previous versions?

Amarok 2 is a nearly complete code-rewrite so the codebase has little to do with Amarok 1.4. If you are missing a feature, please file a wish in Bugzilla.

Here you have a short list of some new features:

  • Maybe the biggest new feature is the Service Framework, which integrates networked music sources directly into Amarok. This includes online music stores, media servers, Web music lockers, and more. Thanks to it you'll get easy access to music provided by Magnatune, Jamendo, Last.fm, MP3Tunes Locker, Ampache and many others. Expect more big (and small) names to join during the 2.x lifecycle. See Internet Media Sources for more.

  • Another exciting feature is the Context pane, occupying the central place of the Amarok's window, replacing the old Context Browser from the 1.x series. It displays contextual information about the music you play, like the album cover, track rating, labels, lyrics, artist information, related songs and artists, guitar and bass tabs and others. Thanks to the Plasma technology it uses, the Context pane can provide very rich content, like AJAX, video and animations, all in an eye-catching fashion. More about the Context pane.

  • To accompany the Context pane, we developed a new, space efficient playlist. In order to preserve horizontal space, it groups the track name, artist, album name and cover art together, and allows further grouping by album names. Plus you can rearrange it to your heart's content! If you prefer the old 1.4 playlist, you can have that too. See Changing the Playlist layout for more.

  • Another great gem is the video support. Watching your music videos inside Amarok feels great!

  • We can't forget the Dynamic Playlists, which extend the old Dynamic Playlists. They allow you to define an automatically populated playlist, based on specific probability driven criteria called biases. The Dynamic Playlists is joined by the new Automatic Playlist Generator, used to generate lists for specific purposes and of a specified length. See Dynamic Playlists and Automatic Playlist Generator for more information.

There are many more great features like advanced scripting, dynamic collections, usability improvements, improved media devices handling, a new podcast manager, support for more software platforms, and others.

Installation

Can I use Amarok without KDE?

Amarok requires parts of KDE to be installed to run, but will run fine in Gnome or other desktop environments, including Windows and OS X. For Amarok to run, kdelibs and kdebase-runtime need to be installed.

For some features to work correctly, such as the on-screen display, your window manager must be configured to support the relevant freedesktop.org standards. More about running Amarok on other platforms here.

Why does Amarok use KDElibs?

We are committed to supporting Amarok on all platforms. We use KDElibs and Qt because they provide an excellent development environment. Aside from Linux® and BSD, Amarok works on Windows and MacOS, and there are installers available, but unfortunately we don't have (yet) the resources to offer full support for those operating systems. Almost all of our developers use free operating systems, and those have priority for us. We do however welcome Windows and OS X developers willing to help, and improve Amarok on those platforms.

General usage

How can I control Amarok from the keyboard?

Keyboard shortcuts are available; see our Keybinding Reference page for more information.

To control Amarok from the console, type amarok --help-all for a current complete list of available control commands.

Where can I get support for Amarok?

There are several options. Often times problems you have with the initial install of Amarok are best answered by experts of your particular UNIX® or Linux® distribution. You may seek help from fellow users and developers at the Amarok forum and the Amarok IRC channel at irc.freenode.net channel #amarok.

Note that bugzilla is not a place to seek support. Please do enter a bug if you are serious about helping fix a bug in Amarok itself.

How do I report a bug?

If you find a bug in Amarok, please submit it to the KDE bugzilla instance. To make a complete bug report, please always include the following information:

  • The exact Amarok version (the version can be found in HelpAbout Amarok). You should not report bugs for Amarok versions older than the current stable release as we do not provide backport fixes.

  • The exact KDE and Qt version, even if you do not run Amarok in KDE (HelpAbout KDE)

  • The exact Phonon backend. You can find this information in the Diagnostics (HelpDiagnostics)

  • Whether the bug is reproducible. Please do not report bugs that you can not reproduce as these are almost impossible to fix.

  • Exact steps how to reproduce the bug

If any of these information is missing the bug report is not complete. Please also be prepared to answer questions from the developers or bug triagers and eventually test other settings.

Questions about the Playlist

More about the Playlist here.

When I start Amarok, I see an empty playlist. How do I actually get tracks in there?

Use the Media Sources on the left side to navigate to the desired artist/album/track. Then drag the files into the Playlist part on the right. You can use Dynamic Playlists or the Automatic Playlist Generator to populate your playlist. You can also drag files in from any file manager, such as Dolphin. You may also double-click a track, artist or genre in your Media Sources or file-system, or right-click and Add to Playlist or Replace Playlist.

How do I remove tracks from the Playlist?

Select the track(s) you want to remove, and press the Delete key. Or right-click the selection and choose Remove From Playlist.

How can I load a playlist?

Just drag and drop the playlist file into the Playlist, like you would do with any other file. It's that simple!

How can I save the current playlist?

Click the button in the Playlist toolbar. Slow-click the disc icon to chose to save to your harddisk, or to the database.

Playback Questions

How do I play audio CDs?

Audio CDs are treated differently than data CDs, which are also supported. When you insert an audio CD, it will be shown as a local collection. Drag to the playlist or Pop-Up Dropper, or right-click the selected tracks and choose Add to Playlist or Replace Playlist.

What media types does Amarok support?

Amarok does not play music by itself, but lets Phonon do that job, specifically the VLC or GStreamer backends of Phonon. Therefore, whatever files they can play, Amarok can play. To analyse file tags, Amarok uses Taglib, which supports most file types that contain metadata.

What is Phonon? What are Phonon backends?

Phonon is the multimedia framework of KDE 4. You can find more information here.

We currently recommend both the Gstreamer and VLC backend as both are actively maintained. If you want to play streams you should use the VLC backend only as the Gstreamer backend has some shortcomings in this regard. Make sure you do not use any other backend as those are obsolete.

If you are using the Phonon-backend-gstreamer make sure you only use plugins from one single gstreamer version, else your sound will be compromised.

Amarok won't play mp3s, what can I do?

You probably lack the codecs required by your particular Phonon backend (Gstreamer, or VLC). Please report this to your distribution if you were not prompted to install them automatically when you started Amarok for the first time.

I have the codecs, but Amarok still won't play mp4s and mkas

When using some phonon backend, like the gstreamer one, Amarok might refuse to play mp4 and mka files. This is a known problem, see bug #290168 for more technical information.

A very simple workaround is to change the file extension. Change mp4 extension to m4a and for mka change it to mkv. Of course you must be sure the files contains audio only. You can use the ffprobe command to look at what data streams are present in the file. If the file has a video stream it must be stripped out. There are a lot of tools able to edit these formats and most of them are based on ffmpeg/libav, which you can use if you are familiar with them. If you prefer graphical tools one possible choice is avidemux.

This is a quick example how you can remove a video stream from an mp4 video with ffmpeg. Stripping a video stream from an mkv file is the same. First check if there is a video stream

$ ffprobe example.mp4 2>&1 | grep Video

Stream #0.1(und): Video: h264 (Baseline), yuv420p, 480x360 [PAR 1:1 DAR 4:3], 242 kb/s, 25 fps, 25 tbr, 25k tbn, 50k tbc

If the output of the previous command is null there is no video stream in the file. To create an m4a file with just the audio stream you can use something like

ffmpeg -i example.mp4 -acodec copy -vn example.m4a

You can also use avconv in place of ffmpeg with the same options, where

  • -i example.mp4 option is the input file name

  • -acodec copy is used to not encode again the audio stream but just copy it. This to avoid quality loss, but you can also encode in a different format if you want, and you are not forced to use m4a container in this case

  • -vn strips the video stream

  • example.m4a is the output file name

Another possible workaround is to change the phonon backend. For example the VLC backend doesn't suffer this problem.

I have a second soundcard and I'm using ALSA. How do I make Amarok use it instead of the default?

Configure this in the Phonon system settings module. SettingsConfigure AmarokPlaybackConfigure Phonon

Where's the equalizer?

The equalizer is only available if you are using the phonon-backend-gstreamer. You can find the equalizer in the Tools menu.

How can I control the volume in Amarok only without having to change in KMix?

Most distributions ship the PulseAudio sound-daemon nowadays which handles the sound settings system-wide. If you can't change the volume in Amarok independently of KMix, then your PulseAudio settings have the option

flat-volume=yes

enabled. Depending on your distribution this is located either in the file $HOME/.pulse/daemon.conf or in the system file /etc/pulse/daemon.conf. More information about Pulseudio-specific settings can be found in pulse-daemon.conf man page.

How do I turn on visualizations?

Visualizations come in the form of an applet. For more information please see the applets page. Visualizations are currently under development and may be buggy at this time.

How can I add podcasts?

Go to Podcast section in the Media Sources pane and then select Add Podcast... Add the podcast URL where indicated. More about podcasts here.

We also have some services, such as gpodder and Podcast Directory to help you find great podcasts. Enable services in the Settings menu: Configure AmarokPlugins.

How can I use Amarok to stream to my own radio station?

If you want to stream directly to an icecast or shoutcast server the answer simply is: it is not supported. You could use IDJC for that.

Collection questions

Folder not properly picked up

If you find that most of your music is recognized by Amarok, but some folders are not properly picked up, open a console and type

touch folder

where folder is the path to the folder that has the problem. Then select SettingsConfigure Amarok in Amarok main window menu, open Collection page and click the Full Rescan button. Your folder should be visible again now.

Warning

this will not work on Windows, as the touch command is specific to Linux® and BSD-like systems.

Can I use removable media inside Amarok?

Amarok has a greatly improved support for the media devices based on Solid, the KDE hardware layer, that doesn't need a lot of configuration. You should be able to just plug in your device and access it within Amarok. Also, thanks to the Dynamic Collections, your media devices could become part of your music collection, and be searchable and accessible within the Local Music section of the Media Sources pane when it's connected.

You can transfer your songs, albums and artists from your local collection by right-clicking, selecting Copy to Collection and picking your device; and you can also do it in the other way: right-click and select Copy to CollectionLocal Collection. More about Amarok and devices here.

Can I use the old Amarok's collection in Amarok 2? Will my tags, score are ratings be lost?

A database importer is available. You will be able to keep your ratings and statistics just fine. More here.

General questions

What are scripts?

They are little pieces of software that add some functions to Amarok. There are a lot of scripts, and you can find them in kde-apps.org or you can find and install them inside Amarok using the Script Manager. More details can be found here. You will find the Script Manager from the Settings menu, Configure AmarokScripts.

Can I use Amarok 1.4 scripts in Amarok 2?

No. A new and powerful scripting API has been created, which provides huge improvements but won't let you use your old scripts. The new scripting system is based on QtScript and will significantly reduce Amarok's dependencies, a huge problem for non-technical and cross-platform users, and will greatly reduce the amount of external processes launched at runtime. Another advantage is that the new API will allow much deeper integration with Amarok than the old scripting system. Amarok Scripting API.

What are Moodbars?

Moodbars show the mood of a song in the progress bar. More about Moodbar here.

Can I play video files?

Amarok is mainly a music player so no video file management, collection support, DVD playback, subtitles, or any other sophisticated features are available.

Is it Amarok, AmaroK or amaroK?

It is Amarok! The former spelling was amaroK, but it was changed due to its strange look around 2005.

How are track scores determined?

Amarok assigns a score (a number 0-100) to a song based on how many times you've listened to it and whether you skip the song without it finishing. Every time the song finishes playing, the score is changed.

Here you have an example script that can calculate scores:

if( playcount <= 0 ) # not supposed to be less, but what the hell.
       newscore = ( prevscore + percentage ) / 2
   else
       newscore = ( ( prevscore * playcount ) + percentage ) / ( playcount + 1 )
   end

You can easily create your own script with your own algorithm. Look at the Script-Writing-Howto for further information.

How do I manually change a track's score?

You may change the score manually in the Track Details dialog, available by right-clicking on a track, choosing Edit Track Details and going to the Summary tab.

But I also want that stars system like in other players!

Amarok, of course, supports an user-defined rating system, and you can rate your tracks with a single click using the Current Track applet. You can also do this in the context menu (right-click) Edit Track DetailsSummary tab. If you have the rating stars displayed in your playlist layout, you can also edit there, with the slow double-click.

Can I drag and drop Plasma applets from the main window to the Desktop?

No, but there are several Plasmoids available for your Desktop, which will let you display information provided by Amarok as well as control Amarok.

How can I save a stream?

First of all, load the stream into the playlist. There are several ways to do this: downloading the file and opening it with Amarok; using the menu PlaylistAdd stream; among others.

Once the stream is loaded, you can save it by clicking on in the Playlist pane, and giving it a meaningful name. The Stream will then be added to the Saved Playlists view for later reference.

Where do I find the settings for Amarok?

`kde4-config --localprefix`/share/apps/amarok

`kde4-config --localprefix`/share/config/amarokrc

Troubleshooting

How can I obtain a backtrace?

If Amarok has crashed and you want to report it, visit the Debugging HowTo. The bug report must be made in bugs.kde.org after verifying if it has not already been reported.

Amarok just freezes! How can I help get this fixed?

You can obtain a backtrace of a frozen instance of Amarok using gdb like so:

$ gdb -p `pidof amarok` (gdb) thread apply full bt all

Then just post the backtrace to PasteBin, as described in the Debugging HowTo.

Amarok takes a lot of time to start

If this happens you have to check what scripts you have installed and what internet services are running, because some of them may slow down the startup. Also, if you have streams in the playlist when you open Amarok, the startup can take a little longer. The same happens if you have a great number of tracks in the playlist (over 300 and more).

On the other hand, if you don't use KDE, but a different desktop environment, startup time can be increased very slightly because there are more libraries to be loaded.

Development questions

How do I get a GIT version of Amarok?

See the Amarok Development build instruction page. Check here for a local build: Building from Git Locally: Full Summary

Why isn't Amarok part of KDE Multimedia?

Packages in the KDE Software Compilation proper have a release schedule that doesn't fit with Amarok's development pace, and since none of the other KDE applications depend on Amarok there is no need to follow this release schedule.

I've found a bug / I've got a great idea for Amarok!

Please report it at bugs.kde.org. If you have a list of suggestions or wishes it may be best to send them to our mailing list: amarok@kde.org. Simply posting the idea to our IRC channels or on an obscure wiki page or blog won't help much as the information will get lost.

Do you accept patches?

Happily! Your best course of action is to let us know what you plan to do before you do any work so we can discuss it, but don't fret; we haven't turned down a patch yet! Discussion is mostly to help you patch the correct bits of Amarok. Submit your patches and code contributions to git.reviewboard.kde.org. See also How to Submit Patches to Amarok. If you have a bug fix then just go ahead; this is open source after all.

Why did you choose the name Amarok?

Amarok is an album by British composer Mike Oldfield. Project founder Mark Kretschmann happens to like it a lot, and he thought the name had a nice sound. Plus, of course, it contains the all important K.