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iPod and iTunes Hacks by Hadley Stern

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Hack #93. Play MP3 and AAC Files from the Command Line

With qtplay, you can play your music files from the Terminal, without opening iTunes.

There are times when you might want to listen to music without launching iTunes. If you prefer the minimal and fast interface of the Terminal, or if your system resources are being stretched too thin, you might want to consider qtplay. If you are a Unix power user, qtplay's command-line interface will appeal to your geeky side. qtplay is a Unix executable (sometimes referred to as a binary): a small program accessed via the Terminal. With qtplay, you can listen to any music file you can play via QuickTime, and that set includes every type of file iTunes can play.

To use qtplay you'll need to take a few steps away from the OS X interface (and a few strides into the land of the Terminal). Once the short journey is complete, you'll be listening to your CDs or music libraries via the resource-light Terminal. You'll also get some familiar functionality: you can play audio CDs, randomize tracks, control the volume, and listen to a playlist. Except for fast-forward and rewind (you have to listen to whole songs, even the boring parts), you'll get all the functionality you expect of any decent music player.

Here's what you'll need for this hack:

  • Some music files (anything QuickTime can handle is fine, including the protected AAC file format)

  • A willingness ...

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