Play Plugin

The play plugin allows you to pass the results of a query to a music player in the form of an m3u playlist or paths on the command line.

Command Line Usage

To use the play plugin, enable it in your configuration (see Using Plugins). Then use it by invoking the beet play command with a query. The command will create a temporary m3u file and open it using an appropriate application. You can query albums instead of tracks using the -a option.

By default, the playlist is opened using the open command on OS X, xdg-open on other Unixes, and start on Windows. To configure the command, you can use a play: section in your configuration file:

    command: /Applications/

You can also specify additional space-separated options to command (like you would on the command-line):

    command: /usr/bin/command --option1 --option2 some_other_option

While playing you’ll be able to interact with the player if it is a command-line oriented, and you’ll get its output in real time.

Interactive Usage

The play plugin can also be invoked during an import. If enabled, the plugin adds a plaY option to the prompt, so pressing y will execute the configured command and play the items currently being imported.

Once the configured command exits, you will be returned to the import decision prompt. If your player is configured to run in the background (in a client/server setup), the music will play until you choose to stop it, and the import operation continues immediately.


To configure the plugin, make a play: section in your configuration file. The available options are:

  • command: The command used to open the playlist. Default: open on OS X, xdg-open on other Unixes and start on Windows. Insert $args to use the --args feature.
  • relative_to: If set, emit paths relative to this directory. Default: None.
  • use_folders: When using the -a option, the m3u will contain the paths to each track on the matched albums. Enable this option to store paths to folders instead. Default: no.
  • raw: Instead of creating a temporary m3u playlist and then opening it, simply call the command with the paths returned by the query as arguments. Default: no.
  • warning_threshold: Set the minimum number of files to play which will trigger a warning to be emitted. If set to no, warning are never issued. Default: 100.

Optional Arguments

The --args (or -A) flag to the play command lets you specify additional arguments for your player command. Options are inserted after the configured command string and before the playlist filename.

For example, if you have the plugin configured like this:

    command: mplayer -quiet

and you occasionally want to shuffle the songs you play, you can type:

$ beet play --args -shuffle

to get beets to execute this command:

mplayer -quiet -shuffle /path/to/playlist.m3u

instead of the default.

If you need to insert arguments somewhere other than the end of the command string, use $args to indicate where to insert them. For example:

    command: mpv $args --playlist

indicates that you need to insert extra arguments before specifying the playlist.

Note on the Leakage of the Generated Playlists

Because the command that will open the generated .m3u files can be arbitrarily configured by the user, beets won’t try to delete those files. For this reason, using this plugin will leave one or several playlist(s) in the directory selected to create temporary files (Most likely /tmp/ on Unix-like systems. See tempfile.tempdir in the Python docs.). Leaking those playlists until they are externally wiped could be an issue for privacy or storage reasons. If this is the case for you, you might want to use the raw config option described above.