MPD (Music Player Daemon) is a player that leverages a client/server architecture, which allows the user to control it remotely using the various clients available for it. It is a great choice for those users that are looking for a minimalist yet powerful tool to listen to and control their audio files.


On installation, the package creates an init service to launch it at startup. The configuration is done in the /etc/mpd.conf file.

Launch as user

The service is started by root. It is best to start MPD as a user. To start it as user "foo", add to mpdconf:

user "foo"

You can also deactivate the service, either by editing /etc/default/mpd:

START_MPD = false

either by deactivating the service:

# update-rc.d -f mpd remove

In this case, the configuration is done in the file ~ / .mpdconf.


You have to define different paths to be able to use mpd:

For example :

music_directory "~ / Music"
playlist_directory "~ / .mpd / playlists"
db_file "~ / .mpd / mpd.db"
log_file "~ / .mpd / mpd.log"
error_file "~ / .mpd / mpd.error"
pid_file "~ / .mpd /"

Remember to create the folders if necessary.

Audio output

Alsa simple

To be able to play the sound via alsa, you must add a section in mpdconf:

audio_output {
type "alsa"
name "my ALSA device"

You also have to define the mixer. For example, to use PCM:

 mixer_type "alsa"
 mixer_device "default"
 mixer_control "PCM"

Alsa with separate mixer

You can also define a “virtual” mixer to control the volume of MPD separately. To do this, you must create a /etc/asound.conf file:

# the sound card
pcm.real {
  hw type
  card 0
  device 0

# the ipc stuff is needed for permissions, etc.
pcm.dmixer {
  dmix type
  ipc_key 1024
  ipc_perm 0666
  slave.pcm "real"
  slave {
    period_time 0
    period_size 1024
    buffer_size 8192
    spleen 44100
  bindings {
    0 0
    1 1

ctl.dmixer {
  hw type
  card 0

# software volume
pcm.softvol {
  softvol type
  slave.pcm "dmixer"
  control {
    name "Software"
    card 0
# mpd volume control
pcm.mpdvol {
  softvol type
  slave.pcm "dmixer"
  control {
    name "MPD"
    card 0
# ctrl for mpd volume
ctl.mpdvol {
  hw type
  card 0

# input
pcm.input {
        dsnoop type
        ipc_key 3129398
        ipc_key_add_uid false
        ipc_perm 0660
        slave.pcm "810"

# duplex device
pcm.duplex {
        asym type
        playback.pcm "softvol"
        capture.pcm "input"

# default devices
pcm.! default {
  plug type
  slave.pcm "duplex"

# for oss devices
pcm.dsp0 {
  plug type
  slave.pcm "duplex"

Then, in mpdconf, we define the Alsa output, as well as the mixer

# Alsa output:
audio_output {
        type "alsa"
        name "Alsa Software Volume"
        device "mpdvol"
        "44100: 16: 2" format # optional

# Mixer:
mixer_type "alsa"
mixer_device "mpdvol"
mixer_control "MPD"

You can also use other audio devices (OSS, ESD, Jack, PulseAudio). The configuration is detailed in the mpd wiki:

Other options

You can set a password for certain functions:

password "XXXX @ read, add, control, admin"

If you have problems with accents in filenames, add:

filesystem_charset "UTF-8"

Other options exist, you will find a detailed configuration file in /usr/share/doc/mpd/mpdconf.example.


You must first launch the server. If you are using the init service:

/etc/init.d/mpd restart

Otherwise, as a user:


A separate client is needed to control MPD. A few of them are listed below:

There are many others:

Internet radio usage

MPD can be controlled remotely. But it can also source service for a ?ShoutCast or Icecast server. To install an Icecast server:

Then just define an additional audio output for the Icecast server:

audio_output {
        type "shout"
        name ""
        host "localhost"
        port "8000"
        mount "/mpd.ogg"
        password "XXXXXX"
        quality "5.0"
# bitrate "128"
        "44100: 16: 1" format
        user "source"
# description "My Stream Description" # optional
# genre "jazz" # optional
# public "no" # optional


Warning: If you do not configure any other output (alsa, for example), you will probably have an "cannot open mixer" error message. You just need to create a "null" output to remedy the problem:

audio_output {
        type "ao"
        "null" driver
        name "Dummy output"

If you have a web server with php support, you can use clients like phpMp +: So you can control MPD remotely using a simple browser.