Amarok (software)

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Amarok 2.4.0
Basic data

Maintainer The Amarok team
developer KDE
Publishing year June 23, 2003
Current  version 2.9.0
( March 7, 2018 )
operating system Unix-like : BSD , Linux ; macOS , Windows
programming language C ++
category Audio player
License GPL ( Free Software )
German speaking Yes

Amarok is a free media player for Unix-like operating systems and Windows for playing audio files and for arranging, sorting and grouping them as desired. Even podcasts and audio streams such as Internet radio stations can be managed and played.

The current stable version 2.8 from 2013 and the beta version 2.9 released in 2015 are the last ones to be based on Qt 4 ; porting to Qt 5 and Plasma 5 is planned for future versions .


Amarok was named (2006 to June Amarok written) after the album Amarok by Mike Oldfield . If you play this with Amarok, a small popup appears that thanks you for the use. It is the name of a giant wolf from the mythology of the Eskimos , which is why the Amarok icon representing a wolf.

Since Amarok is based on the KDE libraries , it can run on many Unix-like operating systems and Windows .

Amarok differs from other playback programs mainly in the concept of context information. An attempt is made to display information appropriate to a track currently playing. This includes, for example, other albums by the artist, samplers on which he is featured, recommended artists and pieces, the listener's personal favorite pieces, song texts and information from Wikipedia.

To organize the audio files, it uses a specially managed music library to store music files in a wide variety of formats with meta information (for MP3, for example, ID3 tags ). These can be flexibly sorted and filtered. Another feature in this context are the so-called intelligent playlists (“ smart playlists ”). A smart playlist is created by defining criteria similar to a database query. In addition, Amarok offers a real-time search, the search results of which appear as you enter them.

Amarok Live was specially developed for computers without Linux / Unix installed , a live CD to demonstrate the capabilities of Amarok.


Amarok has a wide range of functions; in addition to a few distinct features, some are similar to those of other media players . For example, like Winamp , Amarok has global shortcuts, i.e. key combinations with which it can be controlled, even if you are currently working with another program or are even on a different virtual desktop.

Context view

The context view in the middle part of the Amarok window shows information about the currently playing song. With the help of the database, other albums and samplers with pieces by the artist are identified. Amarok gets music recommendations and information on upcoming dates such as concerts via the service .

There are also statistics on the entire music collection, such as the user's favorite tracks, and the latest and most recently played tracks. Information on the artist, album and the current track from Wikipedia , song lyrics and guitar chords are also displayed within the context browser.

Wikipedia integration

Amarok 1.4.5 with Wikipedia article open

Information about the artist of the song currently being played, the album and the song itself can be called up from Wikipedia directly from Amarok. You can freely choose which language Wikipedia is used for.

Text search

Similar to the Wikipedia integration, the search and display of the text of the current song is integrated directly into Amarok. For this purpose, Amarok queries external websites for the texts and displays them within the program. From version 1.4, interchangeable scripts are used for this, which means that one is not dependent on the availability of a single page and also has the option of querying text archives with less popular pieces.

Integration of CD covers

Amarok has an integrated cover management system and displays it during playback in the context browser and in the on-screen menu. It is possible to download missing covers directly from various sources or to include image files on the hard drive as covers.

Music collection

CD cover for easier navigation in the music collection

The music collection can be searched for keywords, making it possible to find specific pieces or artists.

There is also a slightly more complex search. For example, “year:> 1990” finds all pieces whose year of publication is after 1990, “Lyrics: love” finds all pieces whose lyrics contain the word “love”; with “day OR night” you can find all pieces whose meta information contains at least one of the two words “day” or “night”.

Only pieces that are currently available are displayed within the collection. For example, if part of the music is on a removable storage medium that is currently unavailable, these pieces are hidden and only visible again when the storage medium is connected. No information is lost from the database. It is also possible to move or rename tracks without losing the information gathered about the track. The same applies to changes to the metadata by external programs. Renaming and changing the metadata together is not recognized.

Database functionality

Amarok has an internal database in which information about all pieces in the music collection (such as title, artist, album, year of publication, but also playback statistics and a derived evaluation of the pieces) is stored. This information is the basis for many of the advanced functions.

From a technical point of view, you have the choice between two different database solutions: the embedded MySQLe, which does not require any configuration by the user, or the configuration of an external MySQL server, which can then also be shared by several Amarok instances.

Playlists, internet radios and podcasts

Within Amarok it is possible to manage playlists, internet radios and podcasts. Internet radios can be stored and you can search the SHOUTcast directory by genre for other radio stations. Podcast support allows podcasts to be downloaded and automatically transferred to mobile devices.

Smart playlists

Intelligent playlists are playlists that contain pieces from the collection according to fixed criteria (specific artist, specific music genre, latest pieces, etc.). For example, such a list could contain all of the pieces by an artist that were released before a certain date.

Dynamic playlists

Dynamic playlists are never-ending playlists that fill themselves based on predefined intelligent playlists. Tracks that have been played are automatically removed from the list.

So you start with a list of just a few tracks, specify from which (intelligent) playlists new tracks are to be added, and Amarok does this automatically if necessary. This means that the playlist always remains small and saves resources without sacrificing functionality.

Integrated internet services

Even before version 2, Amarok had integrated the Magnatune online shop . With version 2, the embedding of internet services has been further expanded. In the meantime, Amarok can also be used to search the archives of the free music portal Jamendo and the free audio book collection LibriVox and download pieces from them. Commercial services such as the Amazon MP3 shop are also available directly from Amarok. Many other services can be integrated through additional scripts from third-party providers, including the archives of the BBC , the NPR and the Free Music Charts .

In addition, there is the integration of gPodder , a directory service for podcasts, and the connection of Ampache servers.

On-screen display

When the song is changed, the on-screen display shows information about the current track on the screen, including other programs that are running. This function can be switched off and is freely configurable.


Cross-fading was supported up to version 1.4, but no longer from version 2. A reintroduction could take place in later releases of version 2.

Various modules for sound output

Amarok itself does not offer any functionality for sound output, but instead uses the Phonon multimedia interface , which in turn delegates the decoding of the audio data to libraries such as GStreamer or VLC . Amarok can therefore play all formats supported by these libraries.

However, many Linux distributors ship these out of concerns about software patents without support for proprietary formats like MP3. In these cases, fully functional variants for playing these formats must be installed later.

Scripts, D-Bus

Amarok can be expanded using scripts. The built-in D-Bus functions are often used, which allow remote control and retrieval of information.

Integrated MP3 player support

Amarok 1.4.7 with iPod support

In addition to various models of Apple's iPod , Amarok supports various MTP and USB mass storage devices. Amarok can access the connected device directly, play pieces of music and also play them back from the devices.

Support for the iPod range also includes the integration of album covers and the comparison of individual ratings of individual pieces of music. However, there are some restrictions with regard to some iPod models, such as the iPod Touch with firmware 2.x, because the music database on the iPod is encrypted and Amarok has no access to it.



Amarok writes the ID3 tags used in MP3 files in version 2.4, which are not yet supported by all end devices such as MP3 players and other playback programs. However, older versions of the standard are also read, using the currently available one.

Ogg Vorbis

Extensive data written with Vorbis comment is only supported rudimentarily. Amarok gives the impression that these comments are not available or not correct.

Other formats

Amarok can partially use metadata of other formats via plugins from TagLib , the library used to read out and edit metadata. This includes, for example, the metadata of FLAC , WMA , AAC and real audio files.

More functions

  • Extensive implementation of drag and drop
  • 10-band equalizer
  • Interaction with the firing program K3b .
  • Integration in KDE (for example Konqueror navigation bar).
  • Translations are available in over 35 languages.
  • Amarok enables the MusicBrainz database to be queried directly in order to be able to add missing metadata (tags). A similar functionality is planned for the 2.x versions via the fingerprint service.
  • Amarok supports visualization modules via the libvisual library . With version 1.4.5 this has replaced the support for XMMS modules.
  • Amarok has a playlist manager that is specially tailored to the management of large playlists.
  • connection
  • Magnatune music online shop from version 1.4.4

Versions and version history

Version 1

Version 1, which appeared for the first time in 2004, offered a searchable music database in version 1.0 for the first time. In addition, a music collection and file browser as well as a statistics database have been integrated. In version 1.1, support for Xine and a rating function for music were added.

Version 2

Version 2, which appeared for the first time in December 2008, marked the switch to KDE Plasma 4 and Qt 4.4. In addition, the development of a native version for Windows and Mac OS X began. With version 2.5 from December 2011, the Windows version was officially released as stable.

Criticism of version 2

When the version jumped from 1.4.10 to 2.0, a number of functions had not yet been implemented, which in some cases led to massive criticism from users. Further points of criticism were the radical redesign of the program interface through the new three-column layout. It was also criticized that the program was confusing and that it was now much more complicated to adapt Amarok to individual needs. Relatively soon, however, the functional scope of the 1.4 versions was almost achieved again with version 2 and exceeded in many areas.

Due to the initially reduced functionality of version 2 and performance problems of the early KDE platform 4 versions, a fork of the 1.4 version was created: Clementine as a complete port to Qt4.

Version 3

After the release of the last version 2.9 from the 2.x branch, work on version 3 will begin, which will initially consist primarily of porting Amarok to Qt5 and KDE Plasma 5 .

Version table

Legend: Old version Older version; still supported Current version Current preliminary version Future version
version Code name publication Most important changes
Older version; no longer supported: first version July 20, 2003
Older version; no longer supported: 0.6.0 September 20, 2003
Older version; no longer supported: 0.7.0 November 16, 2003 Fading , configurable columns in playlists , minor changes, bug fixes
Older version; no longer supported: 1.0 June 17, 2004 Searchable music database, music collection and file browser have been integrated, possibility to download covers from Amazon , statistics in the context browser , statistics database
Older version; no longer supported: 1.1 I am a rock September 27, 2004 Support for Xine , rating function for music, integration of the K3b burning program , support for MAS
Older version; no longer supported: 1.2 February 14, 2005 Support of audio scrobbler and the possibility to save the information about the pieces in the collection in a MySQL database, the context browser can be redesigned using CSS , iPod support, alarm script to play music at a specified time
Older version; no longer supported: 1.3 Airborne August 14, 2005 Support of relative paths in playlists , management dialog for song queues, podcast support, Wikipedia integration, new playlist browser, redesigned interface, support for cuesheets and dynamic playlists
Older version; no longer supported: 1.3.9 Airborne March 26, 2006 since 1.3.0: Support for the iPod Shuffle, revised Helix and GStreamer engines, improvements to the optics, podcast support and context menus, bug fixes
Older version; no longer supported: 1.4 Fast forward May 17, 2006 Bug fixes, revised support for iPods (more supported models) and other mobile devices, work on the surface and memory usage, tool for statistics, support for WMA and MP4 / AAC tags in the music collection as well as ASX playlists, extended integration of last .fm in the context browser , uninterrupted playback using xine , time filter in the collection, more stable recording of the collection, outsourcing of the text search in scripts (with the possibility of searching on other pages), extended Wikipedia integration (now also search for album and song possible) , Ripping audio CDs and adding them to the collection using drag and drop, improved support for podcasts .
Older version; no longer supported: 1.4.1 July 2, 2006 since 1.4.0: Reduction of the start time, name changed from amaroK to Amarok , support for streams, alternative point allocation possible through scripts, improvement in user-friendliness , removal of the mood barometer, support for ATF (Advanced Tag Features, a function that is deactivated by default , the statistics are also received if the track has been moved or renamed), support for creatives “Nomad Jukebox”.
Older version; no longer supported: 1.4.2 August 22, 2006 A DAAP client to e.g. B. Communicate with iTunes . MTP media device support, dynamic collections, self-defined stations
Older version; no longer supported: 1.4.3 September 5, 2006 Official approval of AFT (Amarok File Tracking), a method to identify files based on their checksum . Support of a BPM field. Dynamic collections: a feature that prevents songs that are on a server, for example, from being repeatedly removed from the media library and added again. The possibility of grouping the music titles by composer makes Amarok interesting for lovers of classical music.
Older version; no longer supported: 1.4.4 October 30, 2006 The Xine and helix engines now support three different cross-fading options: always, only with manual or only with automatic song changes. Open podcast items with external applications from the right-click menu. Synchronization of the “Heard” list between Amarok and iPod. Integrated Magnatune .com music service added, including artist info, album info and preview for all tracks. Rudimentary support for Rio Karma implemented.
Older version; no longer supported: 1.4.5 February 4, 2007 SHOUTcast streams are now also displayed under playlists . It is also possible to manage so-called labels with which the user can save more precise details about titles.
Older version; no longer supported: 1.4.6 June 21, 2007 A new icon set in KDE-4 -oxygen colors. New, according to the developers faster, version of SQLite installed. Support for the alternative MP3 player operating system Rockbox .
Older version; no longer supported: 1.4.7 August 13, 2007 Improved backend for the music collection, bug fixes, limitation of the supplied addresses of music streams to the highest quality
Older version; no longer supported: 1.4.8 December 20, 2007 Improved backend for music collection, bug fixes, improved support for iPhone / iPod Touch
Older version; no longer supported: April 12, 2008 Update of the Amazon cover integration, bug fixes, translations corrected
Older version; no longer supported: 1.4.10 August 14, 2008 Update of the Magnatune service, bug fixes, fixes of security problems, probably last update of the 1.4 series

Forks: Pana, Clementine

Older version; no longer supported: 2.0 In the beginning December 10, 2008 New development, based on KDE 4.1 and Qt 4.4. Implementation for Windows and macOS in development
Older version; no longer supported: Magellan January 11, 2009 Searching and filtering the playlist is now possible again, bug fixes, security issues have been resolved
Older version; no longer supported: 2.0.2 Only Time Will Tell March 5, 2009 Numerous bug fixes
Older version; no longer supported: 2.1 Let There Be Light June 3, 2009 Improvements to the playlist, improved context browser, bookmarks, Amarok URLs, improved support, replay gain support, other new features
Older version; no longer supported: 2.2 Sunjammer October 1, 2009 Hide the context view, applet layout improvements, load local playlists from the command line, bug fixes
Older version; no longer supported: 2.3 Clear light March 15, 2010 numerous bug fixes, improved podcast support, and improved management of saved playlists; improved support for USB devices, especially generic MP3 players
Older version; no longer supported: 2.3.1 The Bell May 31, 2010 some bug fixes; Display of upcoming concerts by artists whose music Amarok is currently playing
Older version; no longer supported: 2.3.2 Moonshine 20th September 2010 Bug fixes
Older version; no longer supported: 2.4 Slipstream January 15, 2011 Support for newer iPods, new applets, etc. a. View guitar chords and upcoming concerts
Older version; no longer supported: 2.5 Earth moving December 20, 2011 Podcast synchronization with, newly written USB storage support, bug fixes in the iPod plug-in, integrated Amazon MP3 shop, Windows version officially stable for the first time
Older version; no longer supported: 2.6 In Dulci Jubilo August 13, 2012 Expansion of iPod, iPad and iPhone support
Older version; no longer supported: 2.7 A minor tune January 18, 2013 Access to Nepomuk database as well
Older version; no longer supported: 2.7.1 Harbinger May 15, 2013 Bug fix version
Older version; no longer supported: 2.8 Return To The Origin August 16, 2013 Audio analysis visualization
Current version: 2.9 Hibernaculum March 7, 2018 last version based on Qt4 / KDE4.x before Amarok is ported to Qt 5 and Plasma 5.

Web links

Commons : Amarok  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. . (accessed December 4, 2018).
  2. Amarok 2.9.0 "Hibernaculum" released .
  3. Release 2.9.0 . March 7, 2018 (accessed September 23, 2018).
  4. Announcement of the 2.9 Beta release on the project homepage: This will be the last Qt4 / KDE4.x based release, as new work porting Amarok to Qt5 and Plasma5 is waiting in the wings! (Accessed June 28, 2017)
  5. ( Memento of the original from May 10, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Dynamic Collection @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. ( Memento of the original from January 30, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Amarok file tracking @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. a b Archive link ( Memento of the original dated May 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. Xiph.Org Ogg Vorbis I format specification: comment field and header specification
  9. Amarok Insider - Issue 16. Amarok, January 24, 2011, accessed on June 12, 2011 (English).
  10. Reviewing merge request # 152: Fingerprint Support. (No longer available online.) Amarok, March 26, 2010, archived from the original on July 13, 2012 ; accessed on July 15, 2010 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. a b Amarok 2.5 "Earth Moving" released. Amarok, December 20, 2011, accessed January 4, 2012 .
  12. Project overview for Clementine on Google Code
  13. ^ Clementine homepage
  14. Mirko Lindner: Porting of Amarok 1.4 for Qt4 in progress., March 1, 2010, accessed June 12, 2011 .
  17. Project overview for clementine-player on Google Code ; Mon, March 1, 2010, 12:49 pm
  18. Only Time Will Tell - Amarok 2.0.2 released. Amarok, March 5, 2009, accessed March 6, 2009 .
  19. Amarok 2.1 "Let There Be Light" published. Amarok, June 3, 2009, accessed June 5, 2009 .
  20. Amarok 2.2 "Sunjammer" released. Amarok, October 1, 2009, accessed October 2, 2009 .
  21. Amarok 2.3.0 "Clear Light" released. Amarok, March 15, 2010, accessed May 21, 2010 .
  22. Amarok 2.4 "Slipstream" released. Amarok, January 15, 2011, accessed January 17, 2011 .
  23. Amarok 2.6 "In Dulci Jubilo" Released. Amarok, August 13, 2012, accessed August 16, 2012 .
  24. Amarok 2.7 "A Minor Tune" released! Amarok, January 18, 2013, accessed January 22, 2013 .
  25. Amarok 2.7.1 "Harbinger" Released. Amarok, May 15, 2013, accessed May 18, 2013 .
  26. Amarok 2.8 "Return To The Origin" released. Amarok, August 16, 2013, accessed August 17, 2013 .
  27. Amarok 2.9.0 "Hibernaculum" released. Amarok, March 7, 2018, accessed March 7, 2018 .