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Frequently Asked Questions


Does Quod Libet require GNOME?

No, but we recommend you install the GNOME libraries and Python bindings when using Quod Libet. If they are installed, Quod Libet will use your default GNOME audio options.

I’m running Gentoo / Arch, and...

We are not the first line of support for Gentoo Linux. If you are running Gentoo and experience problems, file a bug on the Gentoo bug tracking system.

The same goes for Arch... and any other distribution-specific problems.


Why don’t all my songs appear in the song list when searching for them?

Do you have a global filter in use? Check the Browsers tab in MusicPreferences.

Why can’t I double-click a song in GNOME to play in Quod Libet?

You can! File association is more to do with the file manager you’re using. If you’re using GNOME, right-click on the audio file in Nautilus and select ‘Properties’. Go to the ‘Open with’ tab, then select the ‘Add’ button. In the ‘Use custom command’ text field add the following:

quodlibet --play-file %F

and then click ‘add’. Now you can select ‘quodlibet’ from the list of programs to open that file. Double-click the file and Quod Libet will start to play it.

Note this will only work is Quod Libet is currently running, though a workaround is to make a script that starts quodlibet first (only one instance is ever loaded unless in dev mode).

My filenames with special characters (ú, ç, はあ, etc.) don’t appear properly ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~@~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Unless told otherwise Quod Libet assumes your filesystem is using UTF-8 filenames (this is a standard assumption for GTK+ applications). To tell it otherwise, export G_FILENAME_ENCODING="iso-8859-1"` (or whatever value you need) in your ``~/.bashrc or other appropriate place. You can also use the magic value @locale to use the default character encoding for your locale.

Why do my MP3 files have the wrong length?

The ID3 standard defines the TLEN frame. If an MP3 has an ID3 tag which contains a TLEN frame, Quod Libet will use it. You can remove possibly incorrect TLEN frames from your MP3 files using the “Fix MP3 Duration” plugin or the mid3v2 tool:

$ mid3v2 --delete-frames=TLEN filename.mp3

If there are variable bit-rate (VBR) files, there may be errors in the frames themselves leading to an incorrectly computed length separate from any tags. You can fix this problem with various tools, e.g. mp3val:

$ sudo apt-get install mp3val
$ mp3val -f filename.mp3

I want keyboard shortcuts to change browsers (or anything else)

Put gtk-can-change-accels = 1 in ~/.gtkrc-2.0 (and restart Quod Libet). Then hover the mouse over the menu item you want to set an accelerator for, and press that key.

When using GNOME this setting can be toggled in Menus and Toolbars in the GNOME settings.

Whenever I type a space, Quod Libet pauses

Users of some keyboard layouts, including the popular French Alternative, may hit this bug. In these layouts, the spacebar sends a non-breaking space character, which GTK+ interprets as <control>space. This is a known bug in GTK. You can work around it by changing your keyboard layout to send a regular space, or by changing the keybinding for play/pause using the method above.


How do I add custom / unusual tags to the columns in the song list?

  1. Refer to editing tags if you need to add any custom tags.
  2. Right-click the song list header bar and select Customize Headers from the context menu (or click Preferences from the main menu and select Song List)
  3. In the Others field, click Edit, then Add, and enter the custom tag name, remembering that they are case-sensitive.
Lesser-known (but useful) tags here might include ~#playcount, ~#skipcount, ~#bitrate or ~playlists.

How do I use a different soundcard with Quod Libet?

See the chapter on configuring the AudioBackends in the user’s guide.

Why does Quod Libet sort my songs out of order?

Music metadata, like music, comes in many languages, and sorting multi-language text is hard to do. It depends on your language as well as the text being sorted, and often is still not well-defined. Unicode Technical Standard #10 outlines an algorithm to sort multi-language text, but even then it needs ordinal data for each character for each language. We don’t know of any Python implementations of it, and any implementation we use would have to be fast since we compare thousands of strings when sorting.

I have two albums with the same name which are merged in the Album List

Tag them with different labelid tags (it’s best if you use the actual label catalog ID, but if you can’t find it you can also just use any different values). You can also use musicbrainz_albumid tags, which several other taggers can write.

I have two discs of the same album, and they don’t get merged in the Album List

Make sure they have the same name (i.e. without “(disc x)” on the end). If they are still not merged, they have different labelid or musicbrainz_albumid tags. If they have different label ID tags, delete the incorrect one. If they have different MusicBrainz album ID tags, add a labelid tag that is the same for both albums.

Can I show more than 0 to 4 notes when rating songs?

Close Quod Libet; in ~/.quodlibet/config find the ratings = 4 line. Change it to ratings = however many ratings you want. It’s best if the value divides 100 evenly; multiples of 2 and 5 are good. You will need to use the ratings right-click menu to set ratings above 4.

How can I hide incomplete albums from the Album View?

One way is to enter #(tracks > 5) into the search box above the album list - this will only show albums with greater than than 5 tracks.

How can I list my tracks based on their ratings?

Right-click somewhere on the headers bar (below the search bar), select “Track Headers” from the menu and add “Ratings”. Now if you click “Ratings” on the headers bar your tracks will be sorted based on their ratings.

How is album art handled?

There are many ways users like to keep their album art, and Quod Libet supports graphics (primarily .jpg but .gif and .png also) in these ways:

  • Files in the album directory with fixed names eg folder.jpg, cover.jpg, front.png
  • A file containing the labelid (eg COCX-32760 cover.jpg)
  • Files of certain other names linked to a given album in a shared directory: <musicbrainz_albumid>.ext or <artist> - <title>.ext
  • Sub-folders of certain names (covers/ or <labelid>/) with compatible images in them.
  • Embedded cover art in the file itself (incomplete support in some formats).

There are fuzzy-matching algorithms to try to determine the most specific match if multiple of the above exist.

If you’re adding new album art, the Album Art downloader plugin allows you to do so easily and is compatible with the above.

Why do songs disappear from my playlists?

This is due to the way the library works, and that playlists entries are based on filename. One of several things might have happened, before a re-scan of the library (on start-up or otherwise)

  • The songs have been renamed, moved, or their directory moved. Note this includes using Rename Files from the tag editor.
  • A removable (mounted) media device - USB disk, network share, internet folder or whatever is/was no longer available (at the time of refresh).

Note if you’re using the Auto Library Update this will happen immediately (There are ideas to improve this: Issue 961).

Tag Editing

Can QL read my ID3 tags encoded in euc-kr / cp1251 / windows-1252 etc?

You can define a custom list of encodings to check. UTF-8 is always tried first, and Latin-1 is always tried last. To make your own list, close QL, open up ~/.quodlibet/config, and find the id3encoding option. You can enter any valid encodings here, separated by spaces, and they will be tried in order. If you have files already imported into your library with incorrect tags, you’ll need to reload them.

Quod Libet saves ID3 tags in UTF-8 or UTF-16.

Other stuff

What does the name mean?

Quodlibet or Quod libet is Latin for “whatever you please” or “whatever you want”, which is the kind of attitude we want to convey with QL: you control how you fiddle with your music. A quodlibet is also a type of musical composition, an improvisation by several players or vocalists at once, which is a pretty accurate description of QL’s development.

Ex falso quodlibet, or “from a falsehood, whatever you please” is one of the properties of material implication (if/then) in classical logics; in standard notation it can be written as ∀A (⊥ A).

Finally, the initial directory imported into Subversion was named ql, because I was experimenting with a syntax for a _q_uery _l_anguage.

Where do the release names come from?

Daily Dinosaur Comics at the time of the release.

I like <my favorite player>, so I won’t use Quod Libet!

Okay. We think Quod Libet beats other players in the areas where it counts (where exactly it does count is undecided; ‘tag editing’, ‘massive libraries’, and ‘regexp searching’ have all been cited); we didn’t like the other players. If you do, continue using them. You still might want to check out Ex Falso, since while there’s an awful lot of media players out there, there are far fewer choices for tag editors. You could also help us make Quod Libet better.