Listen to Online Radio Stations in Linux Using Cantata

Cantata Online Radio Player
Cantata Online Radio Player.

If you like listening to online radio then you might currently use your favorite web browser and search for radio stations using your favorite search engine.

If you are using a Linux then there are a whole array of packages which provide access to a selection of online radio stations.

In this guide, we are going to introduce you to Cantata which provides a simple user interface and access to more radio stations than you can throw a stick at. I, of course, never advise throwing sticks at radio stations.

Cantata is more than just a method of listening to online radio stations and is a fully fledged MPD client. For this article, we are promoting it as a really good way to listen to online radio.

Installing Cantata

You should be able to find Cantata in the repositories of most major Linux distributions.

If you want to install Cantata on a Debian based system such as Debian, Ubuntu, Kubuntu etc then use the relevant Software Centre type tool, Synaptic or the apt-get command line as follows:

apt-get install cantata

If you are using Fedora or CentOS you can use the graphical package manager, Yum Extender or yum from the command line as follows:

yum install cantata

For openSUSE use Yast or from the command line use zypper as follows:

zypper install cantata

You may need to use the sudo command if you get a permissions error whilst using the above commands.

The User Interface

You can see a screenshot of Cantata at the top of this article.

There is a menu at the top, a sidebar, a list of music style platforms, and in the right panel the track which is currently playing.

Customizing The Sidebar

The sidebar can be customized by right-clicking on it and selecting "Configure".

You can now choose which items appear on the sidebar such as the play queue, library, and devices. By default, the sidebar shows internet and song info.

Internet Radio Stations

If you click on the Internet sidebar option the following items appear in the center panel:

  • Streams (Radio Stations)
  • Jamendo (free music service)
  • Soundcloud (online music)
  • Podcasts

If this is your first time using Cantata you will have no favorites set up so the Tune In option is the one to go for.

You can now search by language, by location, local radio, by music genre, by podcast, sports radio stations and talk radio stations.

There are literally categories within categories and within each category, there are loads of radio stations to choose from.

To select a station click on it and choose play. You can also click on the heart symbol next to the play icon to add the station to your favorites.


If you want to listen to a whole wave of free music from various genres then choose the Jamendo option from the streams screen.

There is a 100-megabyte download just to download all the available categories and metadata.

Every conceivable musical style is catered for from Acid Jazz to Trip-hop. All of you trip-hop fans will be psyched to read that. We personally clicked on the artist Animus Invidious and quickly clicked away again.

Remember this is free music and as such, you won't find Katy Perry or Chas and Dave.


If the Jamendo option doesn't provide you with what you were looking for then try out Magnatune.

There are fewer categories and fewer artists to choose from but still worth checking out.

We just clicked on Flurries under the Electro Rock section and it is actually very good.

Sound Cloud

If you want to listen to something more mainstream then click on the Sound Cloud option. You can search for the artist you wish to listen to and a list of songs will be returned.

We were able to find something really up our alley. Louis Armstrong "What a wonderful world". Does it get any better?


If you are working on your computer it is nice to have some background noise. The trouble with using a web browser is that you can accidentally close the tab or the window whilst doing something else.

With Cantata the application stays open even when you close the window which means you can carry on listening.