Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Nuvola Player is a cloud music player supports various services such as Google Play Music, This is My Jam, Rdio, Deezer, Bandcamp, Spotify, Jango, Mixcloud and KEXP Live Stream.

Its purpose is to integrate these music services with the desktop, providing MPRIS v2 support (integration with the Ubuntu Sound Menu, GNOME Shell MediaPlayer extension, Cinnamon Sound applet, etc.), desktop notifications, multimedia keys support, Unity quicklists as well as an optional tray icon.

Nuvola Player 3

The app also provides various extra features such as integration with audio scrobbling services like last.fm and libre.fm, proxy support as well as an option to prefer dark theme.

I've been wanting to write an article about Nuvola Player 3 (currently in beta) for quite some time, hoping it would become stable (the stable release was scheduled for December 2014), but unfortunately it was postponed because of low funding.

However, I decided to publish an article about it anyway, since it comes with some important improvements and it will probably take a while until the stable version is released. Furthermore, the Nuvola Player Launchpad PPAs have a note saying that they are obsolete and Nuvola Player 3 should be used instead.

If you want to help speed up its development, you can make a donation or contribute to its development @ GitHub.

Nuvola Player 3 is a complete rewrite from scratch, containing some important under the hood differences compared to Nuvola Player 2.

Nuvola Player 2 uses GTK3 while Adobe Flash (required by most of the cloud music services supported by Nuvola Player) uses GTK2 and the two cannot live in the same process - "the first generation WebKitGtk+ web rendering engine used in Nuvola Player 2 runs plugins in the same process as the rest of the user interface, so GTK+ 2 based Flash plugins cannot be loaded without conflicts with GTK+ 3", notes the Nuvola Player documentation.

Because of this, Nuvola Player 2 required some ugly hacks to get it to support Flash, which had various disadvantages, like only supporting the 32bit Flash plugin, high memory usage, crashes, etc.

With Nuvola Player 3, these hacks are no longer needed because it uses WebKit2Gtk+, which allows running plugins in a separate GTK2 process, without the need to install 32bit Flash on 64bit systems. Furthermore, if Flash crashes, it doesn't crash the whole Nuvola Player 3 app.

Also, Nuvola Player 3 has an updated UI with client-side decorations and AppMenu in GNOME (however, classic window borders are used in desktop environments that don't fully support CSD, such as Unity).

Other new features available in Nuvola Player 3 include:
  • the ability to run multiple cloud music services in the same time;
  • separate launchers for each service so you can pin it to the Unity Launcher or whatever dock / app launcher you're using;
  • added a keyboard shortcuts configuration manager;
  • added support for global keyboard shortcuts;
  • reworked command line interface (see "nuvolaplayer3ctl --help" for all the available options);
  • Unity Quick list integration was enhanced to show state of toggle actions (e.g. thumbs up/down, feature request) and radio actions (e.g. star rating).

Unfortunately, Nuvola Player 3 doesn't yet support some of the services that are available in Nuvola Player 3, such as Hype Machine, Pandora and Logitech Media Server, but they might be added later on, while Amazon Cloud Player, Synology Audio Station and 8tracks are under development and will be added to the repository when ready.

Install Nuvola Player 3 (beta)

Nuvola Player 3 installer

To install Nuvola Player 3, you can use its official installer which adds the Nuvola Player repository and installs the latest Nuvola Player 3 (or Ubuntu 14.04, 14.10 and 15.04, Fedora 20 and 21 - unfortunately, the repository wasn't updated for Fedora 22 yet -, as well as Debian Sid and Jessie). For complete installation instructions, see THIS page.

Note for Linux Mint users: While Linux Mint is not officially supported, you can simply select Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in the installer and it should work. Howerver, Linux Mint doesn't install packages listed under "Recommends" and because of this, Flash Player as well as the Nuvola Player 3 services won't be installed and you'll have to install them manually (install "nuvolaplayer3-all-services" to get all the Nuvola Player 3 services and one of the following packages for Flash Player: adobe-flashplugin, flashplugin-installer or freshplayerplugin).