Music library

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Home icon grey.png   ▶ General topics ▶ Music/Audio

This section covers topics and guides on playing audio, the music library, library management, ripping and scanning music in, playing music content off of the internet, and more. The Music Library, one of the XBMC databases, is a key feature of XBMC. It allows the organization of your music collection by information stored in your music file ID tag, like title, artist, album, genre and popularity.</section end="intro" />

  • Support for a countless number of formats and codecs.
  • A full-featured customizable music library that makes it easy to organize, find and listen to your favorite music
  • Support for Music Videos
  • Built in ability to stream media from other computers
  • Full support for Playlists, including Smart playlists
  • Jaw-dropping Visualizations that add the visual element to your music experience
  • Integrated CD Ripping

1 Adding music to the library

2 Music playback

See: Music playback

3 Navigating your library

3.1 Side bar

The library organizes your music into many categories, allowing you to find a specific song using one of many possible criteria. Below you can see root menu showing the different sections.

You can the toggle between the different display options, amongst others; List, Icons and Big Icons.
Sort By
You can choose what criteria to sort your music by. Note the arrow to the right which controls whether the items are sorted in ascending or descending order.
Library Mode
This control allows you to switch between Library Mode and File View. (used to be called Switch View)
Party Mode
See below.
Misc Options
You can search for a string anywhere in the XBMC music database, see more below.
Allows you to filter the library to only show albums, artists or songs that include the specified string in the name.
Hide Fanart
Hides Fanart in the chosen view.
Small Fanart
Shows a smaller version of the fanart instead of a scraped artist picture.

3.2 File mode

File mode is the most basic way of browing your music. In file mode, you browse through your sources folder by folder, in the exact same way they are stored. What you see in file mode is the same as you would see if you were to browse the folders on your computer.

3.3 Library mode

The library mode is much more advanced and has many more features than the Files View. It has features like song, album and artist info to name a few. In order to utilize library mode, you first need to scan your music into the Music library using the #Contextual menu.

4 Searching your Library

The search button is available on the left side of the 'Music' window, and is also available in the root listing of your music library. Select it to begin your search. A keyboard will pop-up where you may enter search terms (SMS style with the remote, or just using the virtual keyboard). As you enter more letters, the search will be performed in the background, and results displayed in the search node of the music library. Previous searches are saved, so if you return to the search node later on, it will have the results of your previous search. Artists and Albums are shown on top, followed by matching songs. If the search string you enter is less than 3 characters, XBMC will just search in the first word of each artist/album/song. Otherwise it will do a full word search. NOTE: In order to search within words as well as just for words beginning with your search string, place a % sign in front of the match.

5 Party Mode

The Party Mode option allows you to randomly play music from your entire music or music video collection based on criteria specified in PartyMode.xsp. Simply build a Smart Playlist and save it as partymode.xsp in The UserData Folder.

Selecting 'Party Mode' from the sidebar will play ALL valid media scanned into your libraries in a random order that meet the conditions specified in the Smart Playlist.

5.1 Frodo

The Party Mode option allows you to randomly play music from your entire music or music video collection based on criteria specified in PartyMode.xsp. Simply edited the "Party mode playlist" item in the Playlist menu. Bring up the context menu and select "Play in party mode". You can do this for any valid playlist.

6 Context Menu

In the default configuration you pop up the Context Menu using the 'C' key on your keyboard. If you are navigating XBMC using a remote control, the default button is, for some releases, the 'title' button. If your remote control has no 'title' button then you may need to remap the ContextMenu action to another button.

6.1 File mode

The context menu allows you to interact with the individual media items. The following options are available whilst in File Mode, selecting an album:


Queue Item
Adds the item to the Now Playing playlist
Play or (Play using...)
Plays the selected file. (Play using... depends on players available on your platform e.g. PAPlayer or DVDPlayer
Add to Favourites
Adds the item to your Favourites menu.
Album Information
Displays information about the item from You can also highlight the item and press the Info button on the remote.
Delete selection from your sources (will delete actual files) Must be enabled in Appearance Settings.
Rename selection to something more to your liking. Must be enabled in Appearance Settings.
Scan Item to Library
Scans the item into the the Music Library. Performing this on a folder will cause every item in the folder to be scanned.
Switch Media
Allows you to switch to playback of other types of media (e.g. video files).
Go to Root
Takes you to the "Music" root folder.
Now Playing...
Takes you to the Now Playing screen that shows what is currently playing and what the next queued files are.
Opens the Music Settings menu.

Other possible menu items

Allows you to search for specific media

6.2 Library mode

You perform actions on your music files using the Context Menu. In Library Mode selecting an album, the following options are available:


Queue Item
Adds the item to the Now Playing playlist.
Plays the selected file.
Add to Favourites
Adds the item to your Favourites menu.
Album / Song Information
Shows the relevant information from
Query Info For All Albums
Queries information from for all albums in the path.
Change scraper
Change scraper from current. see also: set content
Update Library
Checks if files in the Library have been changed, added or removed, modifies the database accordingly and runs a cleaning routine. Adds missing media to the database.
Go to Root
Takes you to the Music Library root.
Now Playing...
Takes you to Now Playing screen that shows what is currently playing and what the next queued files are.
Opens the Music Settings menu.

7 Karaoke

See: Karaoke

8 Playlists

Kodi supports both basic playlists and smart playlists. A basic playlist is a normal text file that lists one or more media files (Audio or Video), and plays them in succession. You can either create your own or use existing playlists from other sources, such as a playlist generated from Winamp, iTunes, or other sources. Basic playlists can be created and edited directly from Kodi's GUI.

9 Smart playlists

Kodi supports smart playlists for all types of media (excluding pictures), which essentially use a set of rules to limit the results from the databases. This means that to be able to create a smart playlist in the GUI, music/video must first be added to the libraries using a scraper addon or by creating NFO files. Smart playlist can be created either by using the built-in GUI smart playlist editor accessible from the Playlists section, or by creating an XML file with the extension XSP (XBMC Smart Playlist).

10 Music Library Settings and Maintenance

The main Music Library settings can be accessed from the Library tab in Music Settings. Those can be accessed either from the Settings menu from the home screen, or via the context menu as seen above.

10.1 advancedsettings.xml

Some settings can only be altered through the advancedsettings.xml file, such as settings affecting the "All" database nodes and they way tags are displayed.

10.2 Clean Music Library

Cleaning up the Music Library (removing invalid entries and compressing)can be done via the User Interface Settings, in the Music Settings with the Clean Library option.

11 AirPlay

As of v11 (Eden), Kodi has very limited support for being an AirPlay target, allowing any device/platform that can run Kodi to receive some AirPlay content.

12 Cue sheets

Cue Sheets are used to provide index and playlist information for a large audio file. They are generally used in conjunction with either extracting from, or burning to, Music AudioCD. Cue sheets have the file extension ".cue", and are simple plain text files.

13 Internet video and audio streams

Various internet video and audio streams can be played back in Kodi as if they were locally stored on your media center by using STRM files. As long as the format and streaming-method (network-protocol) is supported by Kodi, stream can be added. These are basic text files that look like <name>.strm and contain a URL to the internet stream. STRM files can also be added to the video library and can have cover art, summaries, etc.

Some internet sites may have an add-on available that can also access these media streams, rather than having to manually create STRM files. See Add-ons for more information on how to find and install add-ons.

14 Import-export library

Kodi has the option to Export and Import the library databases. These options may be used for a number of reasons including the following more popular ones:

  • Perform database backup and recovery
  • Reorganization of data or eliminate database fragmentation (export, clean/remove database, re-import)
  • Move data between Kodi databases on different platforms (eg Widows to Linux)

15 NFO files

NFO files are used to populate the music and video library using locally stored information. They are helpful if data for your particular title does not exist, such as for home movies and sporting events. They can also be used to control the search behaviour of scrapers when problematic and ambiguous titles prevent your preferred title from being fetched.

16 Add-ons

An Add-on is another piece of software that can be added to a program to further expand and enhance the features of that program. Imagine a smart phone and all the additional Apps that can be installed to enhance its functionality. Kodi has the same ability and these apps are referred to as Add-ons. Kodi has a growing list of community driven add-ons which can be installed from a common official repository, while still enabling third-party developers to also host their own unofficial repositories for add-ons that any user can choose to add themselves.

17 Music videos

Kodi has the ability to include Music Videos in the Video and Music libraries. All scanned music videos will show up in both. Music Videos can also be part of Party Mode and Smart Playlists. Playlists containing both music and music videos should be stored in the mixed playlist subfolder under the userdata folder.

18 Ripping CDs

Kodi has integrated Audio-CD (CDDA) ripping functionality. In order to use this feature, first configure the CD ripping settings (to set which encoder quality to use and where to store the files). To Rip the entire CD, highlight the Audio CD from the My Music root listing and choose Rip Audio CD from the context menu. To rip a single track, enter the Audio CD, highlight the desired track, and choose Rip Audio Track from the context menu.