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Pianobar is a console client for the personalized web radio Pandora. It features the following abilities:

  • Play and manage (create, add more music, delete, rename, etc.) your stations
  • Rate played songs and let Pandora explain why they have been selected
  • Show upcoming songs and song history
  • Configure keybindings
  • scrobbling support (with the help of an external application)
  • Proxy support for listeners outside of the USA [Homepage]


To install Pianobar, emerge it:

root # emerge pianobar

Keyboard shortcuts

Pianobar has many shortcuts that allow you to increase or decrease the volume, change station, favorite a song, and many others. The table below includes some of the more commonly used shortcuts.

Shortcut Description
+ Love the song you are currently listening to. This is equivalent to the "thumbs up" button on Pandora.'
- Give a "thumbs down" to the current song.
p Pause or resume the music.
s Change the station.
) Increase the volume of pianobar.
( Decrease the volume of pianobar.

All of Pianobar's shortcuts can be listed by typing ? when running pianobar.

Pianobar configuration

Easy login

After you have emerged Pianobar, you can run it with pianobar. If you dislike typing your username and password every time that you run pianobar, create the file ~/.config/pianobar/config and add the following lines to it:

user =

Easy login (with encryption)

If leaving a plaintext password for your Pandora account somewhere on your filesystem makes you nervous, you can use gpg to decrypt a file that contains your password. Change your configuration to reflect the one below if you would like to encrypt your password:

password_command = gpg --decrypt ~/.passwords/pianobar
user =


To configure keybindings, check out man pianobar. All keybindings can be added to ~/.config/pianobar/config. All the keybindings in the man page will begin with the line act_.

Other configuration options

Option Description
audio_quality The quality of the audio. Can be set to: high, medium, or low.
autostart_station Select a station ID that you would like to play when Pianobar starts.
proxy Use an http proxy to connect to Pandora.


ao_alsa WARNING message

The ao_alsa WARNING: Unable to open surround playback. Trying default device message is often associated with the use of Pulseaudio. To resolve this warning message, edit /etc/libao.conf (you may have to create the file if it does not exist on your system):


After a restart of Pianobar, the warning messages should not be displayed anymore.

Not compiled with threads support

If you recieve the following warning message ([aac @ 0x7faccc003cd0] Warning: not compiled with thread support, using thread emulation) while running Pianobar, add threads support to ffmpeg, then rebuild it:

root # echo "media-video/ffmpeg threads" > /etc/portage/package.use/ffmpeg
root # emerge ffmpeg

As of FL-1437, threads support should be enabled on ffmpeg by default.