The Music Player Daemon - User’s Manual

Chapter 1. Introduction

Music Player Daemon (MPD) is a flexible, powerful, server-side application for playing music. Through plugins and libraries it can play a variety of sound files while being controlled by its network protocol.

This document is work in progress. Most of it may be incomplete yet. Please help!

Chapter 2. Installation

Installing on Debian/Ubuntu

Install the package MPD via APT:

apt-get install mpd

When installed this way, MPD by default looks for music in /var/lib/mpd/music/; this may not be correct. Look at your /etc/mpd.conf file…

Installing on Android

An experimental Android build is available on Google Play. After installing and launching it, MPD will scan the music in your Music directory and you can control it as usual with a MPD client.

If you need to tweak the configuration, you can create a file called mpd.conf on the data partition (the directory which is returned by Android’s getExternalStorageDirectory() API function).

Compiling from source

Download the source tarball from the MPD home page and unpack it:

tar xf mpd-version.tar.xz
cd mpd-version

In any case, you need:

  • a C++14 compiler (e.g. gcc 6.0 or clang 3.9)
  • Boost 1.58
  • pkg-config

Each plugin usually needs a codec library, which you also need to install. Check the plugin reference for details about required libraries Chapter 9. Plugin reference.

For example, the following installs a fairly complete list of build dependencies on Debian Jessie:

apt-get install g++ \
  libmad0-dev libmpg123-dev libid3tag0-dev \
  libflac-dev libvorbis-dev libopus-dev \
  libadplug-dev libaudiofile-dev libsndfile1-dev libfaad-dev \
  libfluidsynth-dev libgme-dev libmikmod2-dev libmodplug-dev \
  libmpcdec-dev libwavpack-dev libwildmidi-dev \
  libsidplay2-dev libsidutils-dev libresid-builder-dev \
  libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev \
  libmp3lame-dev libtwolame-dev libshine-dev \
  libsamplerate0-dev libsoxr-dev \
  libbz2-dev libcdio-paranoia-dev libiso9660-dev libmms-dev \
  libzzip-dev \
  libcurl4-gnutls-dev libyajl-dev libexpat-dev \
  libasound2-dev libao-dev libjack-jackd2-dev libopenal-dev \
  libpulse-dev libroar-dev libshout3-dev \
  libsndio-dev \
  libmpdclient-dev \
  libnfs-dev libsmbclient-dev \
  libupnp-dev \
  libavahi-client-dev \
  libsqlite3-dev \
  libsystemd-dev libwrap0-dev \
  libcppunit-dev xmlto \
  libboost-dev \

Now configure the source tree:


The --help argument shows a list of compile-time options. When everything is ready and configured, compile:


And install:

make install

Compiling for Windows

Even though it does not “feel” like a Windows application, MPD works well under Windows. Its build process follows the “Linux style” and may seem awkward for Windows people (who are not used to compiling their software, anyway).

Basically, there are three ways to compile MPD for Windows:

  • Build on Windows for Windows. All you need to do is described above already: configure and make.

    For Windows users, this is kind of unusual, because few Windows users have a GNU toolchain and a UNIX shell installed.

  • Build on Linux for Windows. This is described above already: configure and make. You need the mingw-w64 cross compiler. Pass --host=i686-w64-mingw32 (32 bit) or --host=x86_64-w64-mingw32 (64 bit) to configure.

    This is somewhat natural for Linux users. Many distributions have mingw-w64 packages. The remaining difficulty here is installing all the external libraries. And MPD usually needs many, making this method cumbersome for the casual user.

  • Build on Linux for Windows using MPD’s library build script.

This section is about the latter.

Just like with the native build, unpack the MPD source tarball and change into the directory. Then, instead of ./configure, type:

./win32/ --64

This downloads various library sources, and then configures and builds MPD (for x64; to build a 32 bit binary, pass --32). The resulting EXE files is linked statically, i.e. it contains all the libraries already and you do not need carry DLLs around. It is large, but easy to use. If you wish to have a small mpd.exe with DLLs, you need to compile manually, without the script.

Compiling for Android

MPD can be compiled as an Android app. It can be installed easily with Google Play, but if you want to build it from source, follow this section.

You need:

  • Android SDK
  • Android NDK

Just like with the native build, unpack the MPD source tarball and change into the directory. Then, instead of ./configure, type:

make android/build/mpd-debug.apk

SDK_PATH is the absolute path where you installed the Android SDK; NDK_PATH is the Android NDK installation path; ABI is the Android ABI to be built, e.g. “armeabi-v7a”.

This downloads various library sources, and then configures and builds MPD.

systemd socket activation

Using systemd, you can launch MPD on demand when the first client attempts to connect.

MPD comes with two systemd unit files: a “service” unit and a “socket” unit. These will only be installed when MPD was configured with --with-systemdsystemunitdir=/lib/systemd/system.

To enable socket activation, type:

systemctl enable mpd.socket
systemctl start mpd.socket

In this configuration, MPD will ignore the bind_to_address and port settings.

systemd user unit

You can launch MPD as a systemd user unit. The service file will only be installed when MPD was configured with --with-systemduserunitdir=/usr/lib/systemd/user or --with-systemduserunitdir=$HOME/.local/share/systemd/user.

Once the user unit is installed, you can start and stop MPD like any other service:

systemctl --user start mpd

To auto-start MPD upon login, type:

systemctl --user enable mpd

Chapter 3. Configuration

The Configuration File

MPD reads its configuration from a text file. Usually, that is /etc/mpd.conf, unless a different path is specified on the command line. If you run MPD as a user daemon (and not as a system daemon), the configuration is read from $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/mpd/mpd.conf (usually ~/.config/mpd/mpd.conf). On Android, mpd.conf will be loaded from the top-level directory of the data partition.

Each line in the configuration file contains a setting name and its value, e.g.:

connection_timeout "5"

For settings which specify a filesystem path, the tilde is expanded:

music_directory "~/Music"

Some of the settings are grouped in blocks with curly braces, e.g. per-plugin settings:

audio_output {
    type "alsa"
    name "My ALSA output"
    device "iec958:CARD=Intel,DEV=0"
    mixer_control "PCM"

The include directive can be used to include settings from another file; the given file name is relative to the current file:

include "other.conf"

Configuring the music directory

When you play local files, you should organize them within a directory called the “music directory”. This is configured in MPD with the music_directory setting.

By default, MPD follows symbolic links in the music directory. This behavior can be switched off: follow_outside_symlinks controls whether MPD follows links pointing to files outside of the music directory, and follow_inside_symlinks lets you disable symlinks to files inside the music directory.

Instead of using local files, you can use storage plugins to access files on a remote file server. For example, to use music from the SMB/CIFS server “myfileserver” on the share called “Music”, configure the music directory “smb://myfileserver/Music”. For a recipe, read the Satellite MPD section Satellite setup.

You can also use multiple storage plugins to assemble a virtual music directory consisting of multiple storages.

Configuring database plugins

If a music directory is configured, one database plugin is used. To configure this plugin, add a database block to mpd.conf:

database {
    plugin "simple"
    path "/var/lib/mpd/db"

More information can be found in the database plugin reference :ref`database_plugins`.

Configuring neighbor plugins

All neighbor plugins are disabled by default to avoid unwanted overhead. To enable (and configure) a plugin, add a neighbor block to mpd.conf:

neighbors {
    plugin "smbclient"

More information can be found in the neighbor plugin reference Neighbor plugins.

Configuring input plugins

To configure an input plugin, add a input block to mpd.conf:

input {
    plugin "curl"
    proxy "proxy.local"

The following table lists the input options valid for all plugins:

Name Description
plugin The name of the plugin
enabled yes|no Allows you to disable a input plugin without recompiling. By default, all plugins are enabled.

More information can be found in the input plugin reference Input plugins.

Configuring decoder plugins

Most decoder plugins do not need any special configuration. To configure a decoder, add a decoder block to mpd.conf:

decoder {
    plugin "wildmidi"
    config_file "/etc/timidity/timidity.cfg"

The following table lists the decoder options valid for all plugins:

Name Description
plugin The name of the plugin
enabled yes|no Allows you to disable a decoder plugin without recompiling. By default, all plugins are enabled.

More information can be found in the decoder plugin reference Decoder plugins.

Configuring encoder plugins

Encoders are used by some of the output plugins (such as shout). The encoder settings are included in the audio_output section.

More information can be found in the encoder plugin reference Encoder plugins.

Configuring audio outputs

Audio outputs are devices which actually play the audio chunks produced by MPD. You can configure any number of audio output devices, but there must be at least one. If none is configured, MPD attempts to auto-detect. Usually, this works quite well with ALSA, OSS and on Mac OS X.

To configure an audio output manually, add one or more audio_output blocks to mpd.conf:

audio_output {
    type "alsa"
    name "my ALSA device"
    device "hw:0"

The following table lists the audio_output options valid for all plugins:

Name Description
type The name of the plugin
name The name of the audio output. It is visible to the client. Some plugins also use it internally, e.g. as a name registered in the PULSE server.

Always open the audio output with the specified audio format samplerate:bits:channels), regardless of the format of the input file. This is optional for most plugins.

Any of the three attributes may be an asterisk to specify that this attribute should not be enforced, example: 48000:16:. *::* is equal to not having a format specification.

The following values are valid for bits: 8 (signed 8 bit integer samples), 16, 24 (signed 24 bit integer samples padded to 32 bit), 32 (signed 32 bit integer samples), f (32 bit floating point, -1.0 to 1.0), “dsd” means DSD (Direct Stream Digital). For DSD, there are special cases such as “dsd64”, which allows you to omit the sample rate (e.g. dsd512:2 for stereo DSD512, i.e. 22.5792 MHz).

The sample rate is special for DSD: MPD counts the number of bytes, not bits. Thus, a DSD “bit” rate of 22.5792 MHz (DSD512) is 2822400 from MPD’s point of view (44100*512/8).

enabed yes|no Specifies whether this audio output is enabled when MPD is started. By default, all audio outputs are enabled. This is just the default setting when there is no state file; with a state file, the previous state is restored.
tags yes|no If set to no, then MPD will not send tags to this output. This is only useful for output plugins that can receive tags, for example the httpd output plugin.
always_on yes|no If set to yes, then MPD attempts to keep this audio output always open. This may be useful for streaming servers, when you don’t want to disconnect all listeners even when playback is accidentally stopped.
mixer_type hardware|software|null|none Specifies which mixer should be used for this audio output: the hardware mixer (available for ALSA alsa, OSS oss and PulseAudio pulse), the software mixer, the “null” mixer (null; allows setting the volume, but with no effect; this can be used as a trick to implement an external mixer External Mixer) or no mixer (none). By default, the hardware mixer is used for devices which support it, and none for the others.

Configuring filters

Filters are plugins which modify an audio stream.

To configure a filter, add a filter block to mpd.conf:

filter {
    plugin "volume"
    name "software volume"

The following table lists the filter options valid for all plugins:

Name Description
plugin The name of the plugin
name The name of the filter

Configuring playlist plugins

Playlist plugins are used to load remote playlists (protocol commands load, listplaylist and listplaylistinfo). This is not related to MPD’s playlist directory.

To configure a playlist plugin, add a playlist_plugin block to mpd.conf:

playlist_plugin {
    name "m3u"
    enabled "true"

The following table lists the playlist_plugin options valid for all plugins:

Name Description
plugin The name of the plugin
enabled yes|no Allows you to disable a playlist plugin without recompiling. By default, all plugins are enabled.

More information can be found in the playlist plugin reference Playlist plugins.

Audio Format Settings

Global Audio Format

The setting audio_output_format forces MPD to use one audio format for all outputs. Doing that is usually not a good idea. The values are the same as in format in the audio_output section.


Sometimes, music needs to be resampled before it can be played; for example, CDs use a sample rate of 44,100 Hz while many cheap audio chips can only handle 48,000 Hz. Resampling reduces the quality and consumes a lot of CPU. There are different options, some of them optimized for high quality and others for low CPU usage, but you can’t have both at the same time. Often, the resampler is the component that is responsible for most of MPD’s CPU usage. Since MPD comes with high quality defaults, it may appear that MPD consumes more CPU than other software.

Check the resampler plugin reference for a list of resamplers and how to configure them Resampler plugins.

Client Connections


The setting bind_to_address specifies which addresses MPD listens on for connections from clients. The default is “any”, which binds to all available addresses.

You can set a port that is different from the global port setting, e.g. “localhost:6602”. IPv6 addresses must be enclosed in square brackets if you want to configure a port, e.g. “[::1]:6602”.

To bind to a local socket (UNIX domain socket), specify an absolute path or a path starting with a tilde (~). Some clients default to connecting to /var/run/mpd/socket so this may be a good choice.

If no port is specified, the default port is 6600. This default can be changed with the port setting.

Permissions and Passwords

By default, all clients are unauthenticated and have a full set of permissions. This can be restricted with the settings default_permissions and password.

default_permissions controls the permissions of a new client. Its value is a comma-separated list of permissions:

Name Description
read Allows reading of the database, displaying the current playlist, and current status of MPD.
add Allows adding songs and loading playlists.
control Allows all other player and playlist manipulations.
admin Allows database updates and allows shutting down MPD.

local_permissions may be used to assign other permissions to clients connecting on a local socket.

password allows the client to send a password to gain other permissions. This option may be specified multiple times with different passwords.

Note that the password option is not secure: passwords are sent in clear-text over the connection, and the client cannot verify the server’s identity.


default_permissions "read"
password "the_password@read,add,control"
password "the_admin_password@read,add,control,admin"

Other Settings

Setting Description
metadata_to_use TAG1,TAG2,… Use only the specified tags, and ignore the others. This setting can reduce the database size and MPD’s memory usage by omitting unused tags. By default, all tags but comment are enabled. The special value “none” disables all tags.

The State File

The state file is a file where MPD saves and restores its state (play queue, playback position etc.) to keep it persistent across restarts and reboots. It is an optional setting.

MPD will attempt to load the state file during startup, and will save it when shutting down the daemon. Additionally, the state file is refreshed every two minutes (after each state change).

Setting Description
state_file PATH Specify the state file location. The parent directory must be writable by the MPD user (+wx).
state_file_internal SECONDS Auto-save the state file this number of seconds after each state change. Defaults to 120 (2 minutes).

The Sticker Database

“Stickers” are pieces of information attached to songs. Some clients use them to store ratings and other volatile data. This feature requires SQLite, compile-time configure option --enable-sqlite.

Setting Description
sticker_file PATH The location of the sticker database.

Resource Limitations

These settings are various limitations to prevent MPD from using too many resources (denial of service).

Setting Description
connection_timeout SECONDS If a client does not send any new data in this time period, the connection is closed. Clients waiting in “idle” mode are excluded from this. Default is 60.
max_connections NUMBER This specifies the maximum number of clients that can be connected to MPD at the same time. Default is 5.
max_playlist_length NUMBER The maximum number of songs that can be in the playlist. Default is 16384.
max_command_list_size KBYTES The maximum size a command list. Default is 2048 (2 MiB).
max_output_buffer_size KBYTES The maximum size of the output buffer to a client (maximum response size). Default is 8192 (8 MiB).

Buffer Settings

Do not change these unless you know what you are doing.

Setting Description
audio_buffer_size KBYTES Adjust the size of the internal audio buffer. Default is 4096 (4 MiB).
buffer_before_play PERCENT Control the percentage of the buffer which is filled before beginning to play. Increasing this reduces the chance of audio file skipping, at the cost of increased time prior to audio playback. Default is 10%.


If Zeroconf support (Avahi or Apple’s Bonjour) was enabled at compile time with --with-zeroconf=..., MPD can announce its presence on the network. The following settings control this feature:

Setting Description
zeroconf_enabled yes|no Enables or disables this feature. Default is yes.
zeroconf_name NAME The service name to publish via Zeroconf. The default is “Music Player”.

Chapter 4. Advanced configuration

Satellite setup

MPD runs well on weak machines such as the Raspberry Pi. However, such hardware tends to not have storage big enough to hold a music collection. Mounting music from a file server can be very slow, especially when updating the database.

One approach for optimization is running MPD on the file server, which not only exports raw files, but also provides access to a readily scanned database. Example configuration:

music_directory "nfs://fileserver.local/srv/mp3"
#music_directory "smb://fileserver.local/mp3"

database {
    plugin "proxy"
    host "fileserver.local"

The music_directory setting tells MPD to read files from the given NFS server. It does this by connecting to the server from userspace. This does not actually mount the file server into the kernel’s virtual file system, and thus requires no kernel cooperation and no special privileges. It does not even require a kernel with NFS support, only the nfs storage plugin (using the libnfs userspace library). The same can be done with SMB/CIFS using the smbclient storage plugin (using libsmbclient).

The database setting tells MPD to pass all database queries on to the MPD instance running on the file server (using the proxy plugin).

Real-Time Scheduling

On Linux, MPD attempts to configure real-time scheduling for some threads that benefit from it.

This is only possible you allow MPD to do it. This privilege is controlled by RLIMIT_RTPRIO RLIMIT_RTTIME. You can configure this privilege with ulimit before launching MPD:

ulimit -HS -r 50; mpd

Or you can use the prlimit program from the util-linux package:

prlimit --rtprio=50 --rttime=unlimited mpd

The systemd service file shipped with MPD comes with this setting.

This works only if the Linux kernel was compiled with CONFIG_RT_GROUP_SCHED disabled. Use the following command to check this option for your current kernel:

zgrep ^CONFIG_RT_GROUP_SCHED /proc/config.gz

You can verify whether the real-time scheduler is active with the ps command:

# ps H -q `pidof -s mpd` -o 'pid,tid,cls,rtprio,comm'
16257 16257  TS      - mpd
16257 16258  TS      - io
16257 16259  FF     50 rtio
16257 16260  TS      - player
16257 16261  TS      - decoder
16257 16262  FF     50 output:ALSA
16257 16263 IDL      0 update

The CLS column shows the CPU scheduler; TS is the normal scheduler; FF and RR are real-time schedulers. In this example, two threads use the real-time scheduler: the output thread and the rtio (real-time I/O) thread; these two are the important ones. The database update thread uses the idle scheduler (“IDL in ps), which only gets CPU when no other process needs it.


There is a rumor that real-time scheduling improves audio quality. That is not true. All it does is reduce the probability of skipping (audio buffer xruns) when the computer is under heavy load.

Chapter 5. Using MPD

The client

After you have installed, configured and started MPD, you choose a client to control the playback.

The most basic client is mpc, which provides a command line interface. It is useful in shell scripts. Many people bind specific mpc commands to hotkeys.

The MPD Wiki contains an extensive list of clients to choose from.

The music directory and the database

The “music directory” is where you store your music files. MPD stores all relevant meta information about all songs in its “database”. Whenever you add, modify or remove songs in the music directory, you have to update the database, for example with mpc:

mpc update

Depending on the size of your music collection and the speed of the storage, this can take a while.

To exclude a file from the update, create a file called .mpdignore in its parent directory. Each line of that file may contain a list of shell wildcards. Matching files in the current directory and all subdirectories are excluded.

Mounting other storages into the music directory

MPD has various storage plugins of which multiple instances can be “mounted” into the music directory. This way, you can use local music, file servers and USB sticks at the same time. Example:

mpc mount foo nfs://
mpc mount usbstick udisks://by-uuid-2F2B-D136
mpc unmount usbstick

MPD’s neighbor plugins can be helpful with finding mountable storages:

mpc listneighbors

Mounting is only possible with the simple database plugin and a cache_directory, e.g.:

database {
  plugin "simple"
  path "~/.mpd/db"
  cache_directory "~/.mpd/cache"

This requires migrating from the old db_file setting to a database section. The cache directory must exist, and MPD will put one file per mount there, which will be reused when the same storage is used again later.


When scanning or playing a song, MPD parses its metadata. The following tags are supported:

  • artist: the artist name. Its meaning is not well-defined; see “composer” and “performer” for more specific tags.
  • artistsort: same as artist, but for sorting. This usually omits prefixes such as “The”.
  • album: the album name.
  • albumsort: same as album, but for sorting.
  • albumartist: on multi-artist albums, this is the artist name which shall be used for the whole album. The exact meaning of this tag is not well-defined.
  • albumartistsort: same as albumartist, but for sorting.
  • title: the song title.
  • track: the decimal track number within the album.
  • name: a name for this song. This is not the song title. The exact meaning of this tag is not well-defined. It is often used by badly configured internet radio stations with broken tags to squeeze both the artist name and the song title in one tag.
  • genre: the music genre.
  • date: the song’s release date. This is usually a 4-digit year.
  • composer: the artist who composed the song.
  • performer: the artist who performed the song.
  • comment: a human-readable comment about this song. The exact meaning of this tag is not well-defined.
  • disc: the decimal disc number in a multi-disc album.
  • musicbrainz_artistid: the artist id in the MusicBrainz database.
  • musicbrainz_albumid: the album id in the MusicBrainz database.
  • musicbrainz_albumartistid: the album artist id in the MusicBrainz database.
  • musicbrainz_trackid: the track id in the MusicBrainz database.
  • musicbrainz_releasetrackid: the release track id in the MusicBrainz database.
  • musicbrainz_workid: the work id in the MusicBrainz database.

The queue

The queue (sometimes called “current playlist”) is a list of songs to be played by MPD. To play a song, add it to the queue and start playback. Most clients offer an interface to edit the queue.

Stored Playlists

Stored playlists are some kind of secondary playlists which can be created, saved, edited and deleted by the client. They are addressed by their names. Its contents can be loaded into the queue, to be played back. The playlist_directory setting specifies where those playlists are stored.

Chapter 6. Advanced usage

Bit-perfect playback

“Bit-perfect playback” is a phrase used by audiophiles to describe a setup that plays back digital music as-is, without applying any modifications such as resampling, format conversion or software volume. Naturally, this implies a lossless codec.

By default, MPD attempts to do bit-perfect playback, unless you tell it not to. Precondition is a sound chip that supports the audio format of your music files. If the audio format is not supported, MPD attempts to fall back to the nearest supported audio format, trying to lose as little quality as possible.

To verify if MPD converts the audio format, enable verbose logging, and watch for these lines:

decoder: audio_format=44100:24:2, seekable=true
output: opened plugin=alsa name="An ALSA output"audio_format=44100:16:2
output: converting from 44100:24:2

This example shows that a 24 bit file is being played, but the sound chip cannot play 24 bit. It falls back to 16 bit, discarding 8 bit.

However, this does not yet prove bit-perfect playback; ALSA may be fooling MPD that the audio format is supported. To verify the format really being sent to the physical sound chip, try:

cat /proc/asound/card*/pcm*p/sub*/hw_params
format: S16_LE
subformat: STD
channels: 2
rate: 44100 (44100/1)
period_size: 4096
buffer_size: 16384

Obey the “format” row, which indicates that the current playback format is 16 bit (signed 16 bit integer, little endian).

Check list for bit-perfect playback:

  • Use the ALSA output plugin.
  • Disable sound processing inside ALSA by configuring a “hardware” device (hw:0,0 or similar).
  • Don’t use software volume (setting mixer_type).
  • Don’t force MPD to use a specific audio format (settings format, audio_output_format).
  • Verify that you are really doing bit-perfect playback using MPD’s verbose log and /proc/asound/card*/pcm*p/sub*/hw_params. Some DACs can also indicate the audio format.

Direct Stream Digital (DSD)

DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is a digital format that stores audio as a sequence of single-bit values at a very high sampling rate.

MPD understands the file formats dff and dsf. There are three ways to play back DSD:

  • Native DSD playback. Requires ALSA or later, a sound driver/chip that supports DSD and of course a DAC that supports DSD.
  • DoP (DSD over PCM) playback. This wraps DSD inside fake 24 bit PCM according to the DoP standard. Requires a DAC that supports DSD. No support from ALSA and the sound chip required (except for bit-perfect 24 bit PCM support).
  • Convert DSD to PCM on-the-fly.

Native DSD playback is used automatically if available. DoP is only used if enabled explicitly using the dop option, because there is no way for MPD to find out whether the DAC supports it. DSD to PCM conversion is the fallback if DSD cannot be used directly.

Chapter 7. Client Hacks

External Mixer

The setting mixer_type "null" asks MPD to pretend that there is a mixer, but not actually do something. This allows you to implement a MPD client which listens for mixer events, queries the current (fake) volume, and uses it to program an external mixer. For example, your client can forward this setting to your amplifier.

Chapter 8. Troubleshooting

Where to start

Make sure you have the latest MPD version (via mpd --version, not mpc version). All the time, bugs are found and fixed, and your problem might be a bug that is fixed already. Do not ask for help unless you have the latest MPD version. The most common excuse is when your distribution ships an old MPD version - in that case, please ask your distribution for help, and not the MPD project.

Check the log file. Configure log_level "verbose" or pass --verbose to mpd.

Sometimes, it is helpful to run MPD in a terminal and follow what happens. This is how to do it:

mpd --stdout --no-daemon --verbose


Getting Help

The MPD project runs a forum and an IRC channel (#mpd on Freenode) for requesting help. Visit the MPD help page for details on how to get help.

Common Problems

1. Database
Question: I can’t see my music in the MPD database!
  • Check your music_directory setting.
  • Does the MPD user have read permission on all music files, and read+execute permission on all music directories (and all of their parent directories)?
  • Did you update the database? (mpc update)
  • Did you enable all relevant decoder plugins at compile time? mpd --version will tell you.
Question: MPD doesn’t read ID3 tags!
  • You probably compiled MPD without libid3tag. mpd --version will tell you.
2. Playback
Question: I can’t hear music on my client!
  • That problem usually follows a misunderstanding of the nature of MPD. MPD is a remote-controlled music player, not a music distribution system. Usually, the speakers are connected to the box where MPD runs, and the MPD client only sends control commands, but the client does not actually play your music.

    MPD has output plugins which allow hearing music on a remote host (such as httpd), but that is not MPD’s primary design goal.

Question: “Device or resource busy”
  • This ALSA error means that another program uses your sound hardware exclusively. You can stop that program to allow MPD to use it.
Sometimes, this other program is PulseAudio, which can multiplex sound from several applications, to allow them to share your sound chip. In this case, it might be a good idea for MPD to use PulseAudio as well, instead of using ALSA directly.

Reporting Bugs

If you believe you found a bug in MPD, report it on the bug tracker.

Your bug report should contain:

  • the output of mpd –version
  • your configuration file (mpd.conf)
  • relevant portions of the log file (–verbose)
  • be clear about what you expect MPD to do, and what is actually happening

MPD crashes

All MPD crashes are bugs which must be fixed by a developer, and you should write a bug report. (Many crash bugs are caused by codec libraries used by MPD, and then that library must be fixed; but in any case, the MPD bug tracker is a good place to report it first if you don’t know.)

A crash bug report needs to contain a “backtrace”.

First of all, your MPD executable must not be “stripped” (i.e. debug information deleted). The executables shipped with Linux distributions are usually stripped, but some have so-called “debug” packages (package mpd-dbg or mpd-dbgsym on Debian, mpd-debug on other distributions). Make sure this package is installed.

You can extract the backtrace from a core dump, or by running MPD in a debugger, e.g.:

gdb --args mpd --stdout --no-daemon --verbose

As soon as you have reproduced the crash, type “bt” on the gdb command prompt. Copy the output to your bug report.

Chapter 9. Plugin reference

Database plugins


The default plugin. Stores a copy of the database in memory. A file is used for permanent storage.

Setting Description
path The path of the database file.
cache_directory The path of the cache directory for additional storages mounted at runtime. This setting is necessary for the mount protocol command.
compress yes|no Compress the database file using gzip? Enabled by default (if built with zlib).


Provides access to the database of another MPD instance using libmpdclient. This is useful when you run mount the music directory via NFS/SMB, and the file server already runs a MPD instance. Only the file server needs to update the database.

Setting Description
host The host name of the “master” MPD instance.
port The port number of the “master” MPD instance.
password The password used to log in to the “master” MPD instance.
keepalive yes|no Send TCP keepalive packets to the “master” MPD instance? This option can help avoid certain firewalls dropping inactive connections, at the expensive of a very small amount of additional network traffic. Disabled by default.


Provides access to UPnP media servers.

Storage plugins


The default plugin which gives MPD access to local files. It is used when music_directory refers to a local directory.


A WebDAV client using libcurl. It is used when music_directory contains a http:// or https:// URI, for example https://the.server/dav/.


Load music files from a SMB/CIFS server. It is used when music_directory contains a smb:// URI, for example smb://myfileserver/Music.


Load music files from a NFS server. It is used when music_directory contains a nfs:// URI according to RFC2224, for example nfs://servername/path.

This plugin uses libnfs, which supports only NFS version 3. Since MPD is not allowed to bind to “privileged ports”, the NFS server needs to enable the “insecure” setting; example /etc/exports:


Don’t fear: “insecure” does not mean that your NFS server is insecure. A few decades ago, people thought the concept of “privileged ports” would make network services “secure”, which was a fallacy. The absence of this obsolete “security” measure means little.


Mount file systems (e.g. USB sticks or other removable media) using the udisks2 daemon via D-Bus. To obtain a valid udisks2 URI, consult the according neighbor plugin Neighbor plugins.

Neighbor plugins


Provides a list of SMB/CIFS servers on the local network.


Queries the udisks2 daemon via D-Bus and obtain a list of file systems (e.g. USB sticks or other removable media).


Provides a list of UPnP servers on the local network.

Input plugins


Allows MPD on Linux to play audio directly from a soundcard using the scheme alsa://. Audio is formatted as 44.1 kHz 16-bit stereo (CD format). Examples:

mpc add alsa:// plays audio from device hw:0,0
mpc add alsa://hw:1,0 plays audio from device hw:1,0 cdio_paranoia


Plays audio CDs using libcdio. The URI has the form: “cdda://[DEVICE][/TRACK]”. The simplest form cdda:// plays the whole disc in the default drive.

Setting Description
default_byte_order little_endian|big_endian If the CD drive does not specify a byte order, MPD assumes it is the CPU’s native byte order. This setting allows overriding this.


Opens remote files or streams over HTTP using libcurl.

Note that unless overridden by the below settings (e.g. by setting them to a blank value), general curl configuration from environment variables such as http_proxy or specified in ~/.curlrc will be in effect.

Setting Description
proxy Sets the address of the HTTP proxy server.
proxy_user, proxy_password Configures proxy authentication.
verify_peer yes|no Verify the peer’s SSL certificate? More information.
verify_host yes|no Verify the certificate’s name against host? More information.


Access to various network protocols implemented by the FFmpeg library: gopher://, rtp://, rtsp://, rtmp://, rtmpt://, rtmps://


Opens local files


Plays streams with the MMS protocol using libmms.


Allows MPD to access files on NFSv3 servers without actually mounting them (i.e. in userspace, without help from the kernel’s VFS layer). All URIs with the nfs:// scheme are used according to RFC2224. Example:

mpc add nfs://servername/path/filename.ogg

Note that this usually requires enabling the “insecure” flag in the server’s /etc/exports file, because MPD cannot bind to so-called “privileged” ports. Don’t fear: this will not make your file server insecure; the flag was named in a time long ago when privileged ports were thought to be meaningful for security. By today’s standards, NFSv3 is not secure at all, and if you believe it is, you’re already doomed.


Allows MPD to access files on SMB/CIFS servers (e.g. Samba or Microsoft Windows). All URIs with the smb:// scheme are used. Example:

mpc add smb://servername/sharename/filename.ogg


Play songs from the commercial streaming service Qobuz. It plays URLs in the form qobuz://track/ID, e.g.:

mpc add qobuz://track/23601296
Setting Description
app_id ID The Qobuz application id.
app_secret SECRET The Qobuz application secret.
username USERNAME The Qobuz user name.
password PASSWORD The Qobuz password.
format_id N The Qobuz format identifier, i.e. a number which chooses the format and quality to be requested from Qobuz. The default is “5” (320 kbit/s MP3).


Play songs from the commercial streaming service Tidal. It plays URLs in the form tidal://track/ID, e.g.:

mpc add tidal://track/59727857
Setting Description
token TOKEN The Tidal application token. Since Tidal is unwilling to assign a token to MPD, this needs to be reverse-engineered from another (approved) Tidal client.
username USERNAME The Tidal user name.
password PASSWORD The Tidal password.
audioquality Q The Tidal “audioquality” parameter. Possible values: HI_RES, LOSSLESS, HIGH, LOW. Default is HIGH.

Decoder plugins


Decodes AdLib files using libadplug.

Setting Description
sample_rate The sample rate that shall be synthesized by the plugin. Defaults to 48000.


Decodes WAV and AIFF files using libaudiofile.


Decodes AAC files using libfaad.


Decodes various codecs using FFmpeg.

Setting Description
analyzeduration VALUE Sets the FFmpeg muxer option analyzeduration, which specifies how many microseconds are analyzed to probe the input. The FFmpeg formats documentation has more information.
probesize VALUE Sets the FFmpeg muxer option probesize, which specifies probing size in bytes, i.e. the size of the data to analyze to get stream information. The FFmpeg formats documentation has more information.


Decodes FLAC files using libFLAC.


Decodes DFF files containing DSDIFF data (e.g. SACD rips).

Setting Description
lsbitfirst yes|no Decode the least significant bit first. Default is no.


Decodes DSF files containing DSDIFF data (e.g. SACD rips).


MIDI decoder based on FluidSynth.

Setting Description
sample_rate The sample rate that shall be synthesized by the plugin. Defaults to 48000.
soundfont The absolute path of the soundfont file. Defaults to /usr/share/sounds/sf2/FluidR3_GM.sf2.


Video game music file emulator based on game-music-emu.

Setting Description
accuracy yes|no Enable more accurate sound emulation.


Hybrid-DSD is a MP4 container file (*.m4a) which contains both ALAC and DSD data. It is disabled by default, and works only if you explicitly enable it. Without this plugin, the ALAC parts gets handled by the FFmpeg decoder plugin. This plugin should be enabled only if you have a bit-perfect playback path to a DSD-capable DAC; for everybody else, playing back the ALAC copy of the file is better.

Setting Description
gapless yes|no This specifies whether to support gapless playback of MP3s which have the necessary headers. Useful if your MP3s have headers with incorrect information. If you have such MP3s, it is highly recommended that you fix them using vbrfix instead of disabling gapless MP3 playback. The default is to support gapless MP3 playback.


Decodes MP3 files using libmad.


Module player based on MikMod.

Setting Description
loop yes|no Allow backward loops in modules. Default is no.
sample_rate Sets the sample rate generated by libmikmod. Default is 44100.


Module player based on MODPlug.

Setting Description
loop_count Number of times to loop the module if it uses backward loops. Default is 0 which prevents looping. -1 loops forever.


Decodes Musepack files using libmpcdec.


Decodes MP3 files using libmpg123.


Decodes Opus files using libopus.


Read raw PCM samples. It understands the “audio/L16” MIME type with parameters “rate” and “channels” according to RFC 2586. It also understands the MPD-specific MIME type “audio/x-mpd-float”.


C64 SID decoder based on libsidplayfp or libsidplay2.

Setting Description
songlength_database PATH Location of your songlengths file, as distributed with the HVSC. The sidplay plugin checks this for matching MD5 fingerprints. See
default_songlength SECONDS This is the default playing time in seconds for songs not in the songlength database, or in case you’re not using a database. A value of 0 means play indefinitely.
filter yes|no Turns the SID filter emulation on or off.


Decodes WAV and AIFF files using libsndfile.


Decodes Ogg-Vorbis files using libvorbis.


Decodes WavPack files using libwavpack.


MIDI decoder based on libwildmidi.

Setting Description
config_file The absolute path of the timidity config file. Defaults to /etc/timidity/timidity.cfg.

Encoder plugins


Encodes into FLAC (lossless).

Setting Description
compression Sets the libFLAC compression level. The levels range from 0 (fastest, least compression) to 8 (slowest, most compression).


Encodes into MP3 using the LAME library.

Setting Description
quality Sets the quality for VBR. 0 is the highest quality, 9 is the lowest quality. Cannot be used with bitrate.
bitrate Sets the bit rate in kilobit per second. Cannot be used with quality.


Does not encode anything, passes the input PCM data as-is.


Encodes into MP3 using the Shine library.

Setting Description
bitrate Sets the bit rate in kilobit per second.


Encodes into MP2 using the TwoLAME library.

Setting Description
quality Sets the quality for VBR. 0 is the highest quality, 9 is the lowest quality. Cannot be used with bitrate.
bitrate Sets the bit rate in kilobit per second. Cannot be used with quality.


Encodes into Ogg Opus.

Setting Description
bitrate Sets the data rate in bit per second. The special value “auto” lets libopus choose a rate (which is the default), and “max” uses the maximum possible data rate.
complexity Sets the Opus complexity.
signal Sets the Opus signal type. Valid values are “auto” (the default), “voice” and “music”.
opustags yes|no Configures how metadata is interleaved into the stream. If set to yes, then metadata is inserted using ogg stream chaining, as specified in RFC 7845. If set to no (the default), then ogg stream chaining is avoided and other output-dependent method is used, if available.


Encodes into Ogg Vorbis.

Setting Description
quality Sets the quality for VBR. -1 is the lowest quality, 10 is the highest quality. Defaults to 3. Cannot be used with bitrate.
bitrate Sets the bit rate in kilobit per second. Cannot be used with quality.


Encodes into WAV (lossless).

Resampler plugins

The resampler can be configured in a block named resampler, for example:

resampler {
  plugin "soxr"
  quality "very high"

The following table lists the resampler options valid for all plugins:

Name Description
plugin The name of the plugin.


A resampler built into MPD. Its quality is very poor, but its CPU usage is low. This is the fallback if MPD was compiled without an external resampler.


A resampler using libsamplerate a.k.a. Secret Rabbit Code (SRC).

Name Description
type The interpolator type. See below for a list of known types.

The following converter types are provided by libsamplerate:

Type Description
“Best Sinc Interpolator” or “0” Band limited sinc interpolation, best quality, 97dB SNR, 96% BW.
“Medium Sinc Interpolator” or “1” Band limited sinc interpolation, medium quality, 97dB SNR, 90% BW.
“Fastest Sinc Interpolator” or “2” Band limited sinc interpolation, fastest, 97dB SNR, 80% BW.
“ZOH Sinc Interpolator” or “3” Zero order hold interpolator, very fast, very poor quality with audible distortions.
“Linear Interpolator” or “4” Linear interpolator, very fast, poor quality.


A resampler using libsoxr, the SoX Resampler library

Name Description
quality The libsoxr quality setting. Valid values see below.
threads The number of libsoxr threads. “0” means “automatic”. The default is “1” which disables multi-threading.

Valid quality values for libsoxr:

  • “very high”
  • “high” (the default)
  • “medium”
  • “low”
  • “quick”

Output plugins


The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) plugin uses libasound. It is recommended if you are using Linux.

Setting Description
device NAME Sets the device which should be used. This can be any valid ALSA device name. The default value is “default”, which makes libasound choose a device. It is recommended to use a “hw” or “plughw” device, because otherwise, libasound automatically enables “dmix”, which has major disadvantages (fixed sample rate, poor resampler, …).
buffer_time US Sets the device’s buffer time in microseconds. Don’t change unless you know what you’re doing.
period_time US Sets the device’s period time in microseconds. Don’t change unless you really know what you’re doing.
auto_resample yes|no If set to no, then libasound will not attempt to resample, handing the responsibility over to MPD. It is recommended to let MPD resample (with libsamplerate), because ALSA is quite poor at doing so.
auto_channels yes|no If set to no, then libasound will not attempt to convert between different channel numbers.
auto_format yes|no If set to no, then libasound will not attempt to convert between different sample formats (16 bit, 24 bit, floating point, …).
dop yes|no If set to yes, then DSD over PCM according to the DoP standard is enabled. This wraps DSD samples in fake 24 bit PCM, and is understood by some DSD capable products, but may be harmful to other hardware. Therefore, the default is no and you can enable the option at your own risk.
allowed_formats F1 F2 …

Specifies a list of allowed audio formats, separated by a space. All items may contain asterisks as a wild card, and may be followed by “=dop” to enable DoP (DSD over PCM) for this particular format. The first matching format is used, and if none matches, MPD chooses the best fallback of this list.

Example: “96000:16:* 192000:24:* dsd64:=dop *:dsd:”.

The according hardware mixer plugin understands the following settings:

Setting Description
mixer_device DEVICE Sets the ALSA mixer device name, defaulting to default which lets ALSA pick a value.
mixer_control NAME Choose a mixer control, defaulting to PCM. Type amixer scontrols to get a list of available mixer controls.
mixer_index NUMBER Choose a mixer control index. This is necessary if there is more than one control with the same name. Defaults to 0 (the first one).

The following attributes can be configured at runtime using the outputset command:

Setting Description
dop 1|0 Allows changing the dop configuration setting at runtime. This takes effect the next time the output is opened.
allowed_formats F1 F2 … Allows changing the allowed_formats configuration setting at runtime. This takes effect the next time the output is opened.


The ao plugin uses the portable libao library. Use only if there is no native plugin for your operating system.

Setting Description
driver D The libao driver to use for audio output. Possible values depend on what libao drivers are available. See for information on some commonly used drivers. Typical values for Linux include “oss” and “alsa09”. The default is “default”, which causes libao to select an appropriate plugin.
options O Options to pass to the selected libao driver.
write_size O This specifies how many bytes to write to the audio device at once. This parameter is to work around a bug in older versions of libao on sound cards with very small buffers. The default is 1024.


The sndio plugin uses the sndio library. It should normally be used on OpenBSD.

Setting Description
device NAME The audio output device libsndio will attempt to use. The default is “default” which causes libsndio to select the first output device.
buffer_time MS Set the application buffer time in milliseconds.


The fifo plugin writes raw PCM data to a FIFO (First In, First Out) file. The data can be read by another program.

Setting Description
path P This specifies the path of the FIFO to write to. Must be an absolute path. If the path does not exist, it will be created when MPD is started, and removed when MPD is stopped. The FIFO will be created with the same user and group as MPD is running as. Default permissions can be modified by using the builtin shell command umask. If a FIFO already exists at the specified path it will be reused, and will not be removed when MPD is stopped. You can use the “mkfifo” command to create this, and then you may modify the permissions to your liking.


The jack plugin connects to a JACK server.

Setting Description
client_name NAME The name of the JACK client. Defaults to “Music Player Daemon”.
server_name NAME Optional name of the JACK server.
autostart yes|no If set to yes, then libjack will automatically launch the JACK daemon. Disabled by default.
source_ports A,B The names of the JACK source ports to be created. By default, the ports “left” and “right” are created. To use more ports, you have to tweak this option.
destination_ports A,B The names of the JACK destination ports to connect to.
ringbuffer_size NBYTES Sets the size of the ring buffer for each channel. Do not configure this value unless you know what you’re doing.


The httpd plugin creates a HTTP server, similar to ShoutCast / IceCast. HTTP streaming clients like mplayer, VLC, and mpv can connect to it.

It is highly recommended to configure a fixed format, because a stream cannot switch its audio format on-the-fly when the song changes.

Setting Description
port P Binds the HTTP server to the specified port.
bind_to_address ADDR Binds the HTTP server to the specified address (IPv4, IPv6 or UNIX socket). Multiple addresses in parallel are not supported.
encoder NAME Chooses an encoder plugin. A list of encoder plugins can be found in the encoder plugin reference Encoder plugins.
max_clients MC Sets a limit, number of concurrent clients. When set to 0 no limit will apply.


The null plugin does nothing. It discards everything sent to it.

Setting Description
sync yes|no If set to no, then the timer is disabled - the device will accept PCM chunks at arbitrary rate (useful for benchmarking). The default behaviour is to play in real time.


The “Open Sound System” plugin is supported on most Unix platforms.

On Linux, OSS has been superseded by ALSA. Use the ALSA output plugin alsa instead of this one on Linux.

Setting Description
device PATH Sets the path of the PCM device. If not specified, then MPD will attempt to open /dev/sound/dsp and /dev/dsp.

The according hardware mixer plugin understands the following settings:

Setting Description
mixer_device DEVICE Sets the OSS mixer device path, defaulting to /dev/mixer.
mixer_control NAME Choose a mixer control, defaulting to PCM.


The “OpenAL” plugin uses libopenal. It is supported on many platforms. Use only if there is no native plugin for your operating system.

Setting Description
device NAME Sets the device which should be used. This can be any valid OpenAL device name. If not specified, then libopenal will choose a default device.


The “Mac OS X” plugin uses Apple’s CoreAudio API.

Setting Description
device NAME Sets the device which should be used. Uses device names as listed in the “Audio Devices” window of “Audio MIDI Setup”.
hog_device yes|no Hog the device. This means that it takes exclusive control of the audio output device it is playing through, and no other program can access it.
dop yes|no If set to yes, then DSD over PCM according to the DoP standard is enabled. This wraps DSD samples in fake 24 bit PCM, and is understood by some DSD capable products, but may be harmful to other hardware. Therefore, the default is no and you can enable the option at your own risk. Under macOS you must make sure to select a physical mode on the output device which supports at least 24 bits per channel as the Mac OS X plugin only changes the sample rate.
channel_map SOURCE,SOURCE,…

Specifies a channel map. If your audio device has more than two outputs this allows you to route audio to auxillary outputs. For predictable results you should also specify a “format” with a fixed number of channels, e.g. “::2”. The number of items in the channel map must match the number of output channels of your output device. Each list entry specifies the source for that output channel; use “-1” to silence an output. For example, if you have a four-channel output device and you wish to send stereo sound (format “::2”) to outputs 3 and 4 while leaving outputs 1 and 2 silent then set the channel map to “-1,-1,0,1”. In this example ‘0’ and ‘1’ denote the left and right channel respectively.

The channel map may not refer to outputs that do not exist according to the format. If the format is “::1” (mono) and you have a four-channel sound card then “-1,-1,0,0” (dual mono output on the second pair of sound card outputs) is a valid channel map but “-1,-1,0,1” is not because the second channel (‘1’) does not exist when the output is mono.


The pipe plugin starts a program and writes raw PCM data into its standard input.

Setting Description
command CMD This command is invoked with the shell.


The pulse plugin connects to a PulseAudio server. Requires libpulse.

Setting Description
server HOSTNAME Sets the host name of the PulseAudio server. By default, MPD connects to the local PulseAudio server.
sink NAME Specifies the name of the PulseAudio sink MPD should play on.


The roar plugin connects to a RoarAudio server.

Setting Description
server HOSTNAME The host name of the RoarAudio server. If not specified, then MPD will connect to the default locations.
role ROLE The “role” that MPD registers itself as in the RoarAudio server. The default is “music”.


The recorder plugin writes the audio played by MPD to a file. This may be useful for recording radio streams.

Setting Description
path P Write to this file.
format_path P An alternative to path which provides a format string referring to tag values. The special tag iso8601 emits the current date and time in ISO8601 format (UTC). Every time a new song starts or a new tag gets received from a radio station, a new file is opened. If the format does not render a file name, nothing is recorded. A tag name enclosed in percent signs (‘%’) is replaced with the tag value. Example: ~/.mpd/recorder/%artist% - %title%.ogg. Square brackets can be used to group a substring. If none of the tags referred in the group can be found, the whole group is omitted. Example: [~/.mpd/recorder/[%artist% - ]%title%.ogg] (this omits the dash when no artist tag exists; if title also doesn’t exist, no file is written). The operators “|” (logical “or”) and “&” (logical “and”) can be used to select portions of the format string depending on the existing tag values. Example: ~/.mpd/recorder/[%title%|%name%].ogg (use the “name” tag if no title exists)
encoder NAME Chooses an encoder plugin. A list of encoder plugins can be found in the encoder plugin reference Encoder plugins.


The shout plugin connects to a ShoutCast or IceCast server using libshout. It forwards tags to this server.

You must set a format.

Setting Description
host HOSTNAME Sets the host name of the ShoutCast / IceCast server.
port PORTNUMBER Connect to this port number on the specified host.
timeout SECONDS Set the timeout for the shout connection in seconds. Defaults to 2 seconds.
protocol icecast2|icecast1|shoutcast Specifies the protocol that wil be used to connect to the server. The default is “icecast2”.
mount URI Mounts the MPD stream in the specified URI.
user USERNAME Sets the user name for submitting the stream to the server. Default is “source”.
password PWD Sets the password for submitting the stream to the server.
name NAME Sets the name of the stream.
genre GENRE Sets the genre of the stream (optional).
description DESCRIPTION Sets a short description of the stream (optional).
url URL Sets a URL associated with the stream (optional).
public yes|no Specifies whether the stream should be “public”. Default is no.
encoder PLUGIN Chooses an encoder plugin. Default is vorbis vorbis. A list of encoder plugins can be found in the encoder plugin reference Encoder plugins.


The “Solaris” plugin runs only on SUN Solaris, and plays via /dev/audio.

Setting Description
device PATH Sets the path of the audio device, defaults to /dev/audio.

Playlist plugins


Reads .asx playlist files.


Reads .cue files.


Reads CUE sheets from the “CUESHEET” tag of song files.


Reads .m3u playlist files.


Reads extended .m3u playlist files.


Reads the cuesheet metablock from a FLAC file.


Reads .pls playlist files.


Reads music links from .rss files.


Download playlist from SoundCloud. It accepts URIs starting with soundcloud://.

Setting Description
apikey KEY An API key to access the SoundCloud servers.


Reads XSPF playlist files.