Shell.FM(1) Lightweight, console-based player for Last.FM radio streams.


shell-fm [-d] [-i address] [-p port] [-b] [-D device] [-y proxy] [-h] lastfm://...


Shell.FM is a lightweight, console-based player for radio streams provided by Last.FM.


Fork to background (requires a socket interface to be set up so it can still be controlled somehow).
-i <address>
Enable the socket interface and bind it to the given host address (should be the host name or IP address of the host shell-fm is running on).
-p <port>
Make the socket interface listen for incoming connections on the given port. Default is 54311.
Enable batch mode (some freaky mode that makes shell-fm easier to handle from inside emacs). This was not my idea.
-D <device>
Use the given device file as audio device. This is only used if libao support is disabled. Default is /dev/audio.
-y <proxy>
Make shell-fm use the given host as proxy server for HTTP requests.
Print help text and exit.
URI of a Last.FM radio stream to play after startup. For example: `shell-fm -d lastfm://artist/The%20Beatles/similarartists'


On startup, shell-fm will ask you for your Last.FM login and password (if not provided in your ~/.shell-fm/shell-fm.rc). If you've given a stream URI on the command line or there is a default radio defined in the configuration file, shell-fm will now try to play it. When the startup is done, there are lots of keys to control shell-fm. Here is a alphabetically sorted list.
Add the currently played track to your Last.FM playlist.
Ban the artist of the currently played track. Whenever a track of that artist is played from now on, it is automatically banned.
Ban the currently played track.
Enabled/disable discovery mode. I'm not sure if this has any effect, and it looks like even the Last.FM guys don't really know what it does, but I think it is meant to ensure that you get only tracks that you don't know yet.
Jump to the fan radio station of the artist of the currently played track.
List bookmarks.
Bookmark the currently played radio station. You'll be asked to hit a digit key. Whenever you hit that key again from now on, shell-fm will jump to that radio station.
Print some more information about the currently played track.
Love the currently played track.
Skip the currently played track.
Pause. If you pause too long, the stream will break, which has the same effect as stopping the stream (see below).
Enable/disable reporting played tracks to your Last.FM profile. Enabled by default.
Change radio station. This will prompt you for an Last.FM radio station URI. The tabulator key helps if you don't know what to type. Arrow-Up and Arrow-Down allow you to browse your radio history. Enter these without the "lastfm://" prefix.

For example: `radio url> globaltags/world'

Recommend the currently played track/artist/album to another Last.FM user.
Stop playing.
Jump to the similar artists radio stream of the currently played tracks artist.
Tag the currently played track/artist/album. Tabulator key completes known tags.
Unlove the currently played track.
Print upcoming tracks in playlist.
Increase volume.
Decrease volume.


Before you start, you should have created the directories ~/.shell-fm and ~/.shell-fm/cache or you will get a lot of warnings, the tab-completion will be extremely slow and you can't make use of some features (auto-ban, history, bookmarks). You might also want to place a configuration file in ~/.shell-fm for a faster startup.


This section describes the syntax and options for the shell-fm configuration file. The file should be placed in ~/.shell-fm/shell-fm.rc and should consist of simple key = value assignments. See (far) below for a sample configuration. These are the available options.
username = your-login
This is your login on Last.FM. If this is provided, shell-fm won't ask you for it on startup anymore.
password = your-password
This is your (clear text) Last.FM password. If this and your login is provided in the configuration, shell-fm won't ask you on startup.
default-radio = lastfm://...
If this is provided (and valid), shell-fm will play this station by default after startup. If there's another station URI given on the command line, it will override this setting.
np-file = path-to-file
If this is defined, shell-fm will print information about the currently played track into the given file, whenever a new track is played.
np-file-format = format-string
This defines how the information written to your now-playing file will look like. There are several format flags available. Have a look at the
preview-format = format-string
Format of the track information in the playlist preview (key 'u'). FORMAT FLAGS section for the details.
np-cmd = shell command
If this is defined, the given command will be execute whenever a new track starts. The value may contain format flags.
pp-cmd = shell command
If this is defined, the given command will be execute whenever a downloading track ends. The value will have the path to the file appended.
?-color = color
This allows you to color format elements. The ? may be the letter of any format flag (without percent). The color is just a normal shell color code matching "[01];3[0-7]". Whenever the format element is printed to the console, it will have the given color. Have a look at the
daemon = something
If this is set to something, shell-fm will start in daemon mode by default. Starting with -d as command line option will disable daemon mode.
section for a list.
key0x?? = shell command
This allows you to bind shell commands to free keys (keys that are not used by shell-fm, check the USAGE section above for a list). ?? should be the hex code of the ASCII code of the key. The command you assign will be evaluated (check the FORMAT FLAGS section) and executed then. This "feature" allows you to implement own features, like fetching and printing the lyrics of the currently played track, etc. If you have a cool idea or even a working script, I'd be happy if you let me know.
bind = host
This specifies the network interface you want shell-fm to bind to. host should be the host name or an IP address of host shell-fm is running on. shell-fm will open a port (see the port option below) on the specified interface which you can connect to to control shell-fm remotely (or from local scripts, see key0x?? above). Check the NETWORK INTERFACE COMMANDS section below for a list of known commands. NOTE: The network interface has no user authentication, so anyone with access to your network/host can control shell-fm. Use it only if you really need to control shell-fm over a network. Otherwise use the UNIX socket interface (see below).
unix = path
If this is set to a proper path, on that path a UNIX socket will be created for local "remote" control. This socket interface takes the same commands as the TCP socket interface (see above).
port = port-number
With this option you can change the port shell-fm will listen on (if bind is specified). Default is 54311.
extern = shell command
This allows you to specify an external program or script as player for the streams. If given, shell-fm will run the command and pipe the MP3 stream into it, instead of playing the stream itself. For example, extern = madplay -Q - works very fine. This option is meant as a work-around for architectures that shell-fm doesn't work completly profectly on.
proxy = proxy server
This allows you to specify a proxy server for the HTTP requests.
expiry = some-number
This defines the number of seconds until a cached page expires. The default is 86400 seconds (24 hours). You shouldn't set a very low value here, since the Last.FM server often are very slow. This mostly affects the prompts (radio prompt, tag prompt, ...), since shell-fm fetches some feeds to get values for the tab-completion.
device = path
Path to the audio device to use (see -D command line option).
title-format = format-string
This is the format of the track string that is printed to the console for every track played. Default is 'Now playing "%t" by %a.'.
minimum = percentage
With this option you can change the minimum duration a track must have been played to be scrobbled (in percent, but without the % sign). For example, if this option is set to 75, the track will not be scrobbled if it has not been played for at least 75% of its total duration. If you skip or stop the track before it has been played for 75%, it will not be scrobbled. Default is 50%, as specified in the scrobbling protocol version 1.2.
delay-change = something
If this is set to anything, and you change the station with 'r', 's' or 'f', the station-change will be delayed until the currently played track finishes or is skipped. Also they key 'q' will initialize a delayed quit, so after the currently played track shell-fm will exit. 'Q' (uppercase) still quits immediately.
screen-format = format-string
If this is set, shell-fm will check if the terminal it's running in is a screen session ($TERM is "screen") and set the screen windows title to the formatted string to be seen on $ESCAPE+w or $ESCAPE+".
term-format = format-string
Works like screen-format, but sets the x-terminals window title.
download = format-string
If this is set to a valid path (may contain format flags), and the played track is free, it is saved at the given place.
gap = seconds
If this is set to a number, shell-fm will wait that amount of seconds between tracks.
discovery = something
Enable discovery mode by default.
stream-timeout = seconds
Users reported that in some regions in the world, Last.FM servers sometimes pretend to stream a track but then don't send anything, which makes shell-fm hang forever waiting for the track data. If you have that problem, use this option to define a stream timeout. When shell-fm is waiting for stream data, it will wait that many seconds and then skip to the next track.
no-rtp = something
Start with RTP disabled.


There are several format flags allowed for some options. Here is the list.
Artist name.
Track title.
Album name.
Track duration in seconds.
Station name.
Station URL.
URL of the artists page on Last.FM.
URL of the albums page on Last.FM.
URL of the tracks page on Last.FM.
Remaining seconds of the played track.
A %.


Black (not very useful).
Dark gray.
Light red.
Light green.
Dark yellow/brown.
Light blue.


This section describes the commands shell-fm's network interface knows. To use the interface, you must provide a valid value to the bind option in your configuration or use the -i option on the command line. Then you can connect the specified port (54311 by default) and send one command at a time. You also have to hurry, since there is a very short timeout. Best thing would be if you used a script for accessing this interface. (See shell-fm-*/scripts/ for examples) This is a list of the known commands.
play lastfm://...
Play the given stream.
Love the currently played track.
Ban the currently played track.
Skip the currently played track.
info some-format-string
Evaluate the given format string (check the FORMAT FLAGS section) and return the formatted information.
Toggle discovery mode on/off.
tag-artist some-comma-separated-tags
Tag the artist of the currently played track.
tag-album some-comma-separated-tags
Tag the album of the currently played track.
tag-track some-comma-separated-tags
Tag the currently played track.
Returns the tags of the currently played tracks artist.
Returns the tags of the currently played tracks album.
Returns the tags of the currently played track.
Stop stream.


This section describes the meanings of the files in $HOME/.shell-fm/. The base directory can be overriden by setting the environment variable $SHELL_FM_HOME to another directory.
This file contains the auto-banned artists.
This file contains the bookmarked stations in the format "[digit] = [url]".
This directory contains cached sites fetched from Last.FM for faster tab-completion etc.
If this file exists, it will be used as a template for the output of 'i'. It may contain usual format flags.
The radio stations you have listened to. The history is used for the radio prompt.
If Shell.FM can't scrobble the data of a track for any reason before you quit, it stores the track data in here and it will try to submit the tracks the next time it is run.
Your configuration file as described above.


Sample Configuration for shell-fm.rc

# shell-fm.rc example
username = shellfmlover
password = CheckFileIsOnlyReadableByOwner
default-radio = lastfm://user/shellfmlover/playlist
np-file = /home/shellfmlover/.shell-fm/nowplaying
np-file-format = %t:%a:%S:%A
minimum = 80
delay-change = true
Includes examples of using the network interface plus a color printing script to help with choosing colors.



Please send bug reports to <[email protected]>.


Copyright (C) 2006-2010 by Jonas Kramer. Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License.