Stream Music From Your Linux Computer to Phones and Tablets

Get your tunes on the go

Streaming music notes

Ralf Hiemisch / Getty Images

Follow these steps to be streaming music in no time.

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Install a DAAP Server

A DAAP Server

In order to turn your Linux based computer into an audio server, you need to install something called a DAAP server.

DAAP, which stands for Digital Audio Access Protocol, is a proprietary technology devised by Apple. It is incorporated into iTunes as a method for sharing music over a network.

You don't need to install iTunes, however, to create your own DAAP server as there are many other solutions available for Linux.

The good news, however, is that because Apple devised the concept there are clients available not just for Linux but also for Android, Apple devices and Windows devices.

You can, therefore, create a single server instance on your Linux machine and stream the music to an iPod, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, Microsoft Surface Book and any other device that provides the ability to connect to a DAAP server.

There are a number of different Linux based DAAP servers available but the easiest to install and setup is Rhythmbox.

If you are using Ubuntu Linux then you will already have Rhythmbox installed and it is just a case of setting up the DAAP server.

To install Rhythmbox for other Linux distributions open a terminal and run the appropriate command for your distribution as highlighted below:

Debian based distributions such as Mint -
Red Hat based distributions such as Fedora/CentOS -
openSUSE -
Arch based distributions such as Manjaro -

After you have installed Rhythmbox open it by using the menu system or dash used by the graphical desktop you are using. You can also run it from the command line by typing the following command:

The ampersand at the end enables you to run a program as a background process.

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Import Music Into Your DAAP Server

Empty iTunes songlist
Import Music Into Your DAAP Server.

The first thing you will need to do is import some music.

To do this select File -> Add Music from the menu. You will then see a drop-down where you can select where to import music from.

Choose the folder on your computer or other device or server where your music is located.

Check the box to copy the files that are outside your music library and then click on the import button. 

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Set Up the DAAP Server

Importing music to DAAP server

Rhythmbox by itself is just an audio player. Actually, it is a very good audio player but in order to turn it into a DAAP server, you need to install a plug-in.

To do this click on Tools -> Plug-ins from the menu.

A list of available plug-ins will be displayed and one of these will be DAAP Music Sharing

If you are using Ubuntu then the plug-in will be installed by default and there will be a tick in the box already. If there isn't a tick in the box next to the DAAP Music Sharing plug-in click on the checkbox until there is.

Right-click on the DAAP Music Sharing option and click on Enabled. There should be a tick next to it. 

Right-click again on the DAAP Music Sharing option and click on Preferences.

The Preferences screen enables you to do the following:

  • Give your library a name
  • Look for touch remotes
  • Share your music
  • Choose whether a password is required for accessing the server

The library name will be used by DAAP clients to find the server so give the library a memorable name.

The touch remotes option is for finding remote controls which act as DAAP clients.

In order for your DAAP server to work you need to check the Share your music box.

If you want clients to have to authenticate against the server place a check in the Required password box and then enter the password. 

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Installing a DAAP Client on an Android Phone

Installing a DAAP client

To be able to play music from your Android phone you need to install a DAAP client.

There are loads of DAAP client apps available but my favorite is Music Pump. Music Pump isn't free but it has a great interface.

If you would prefer to use a free tool there are a number available with varying degrees of complexity and competency.

You can install a free demo version of Music Pump from the Play Store to test it out.

When you open Music Pump you should click on the Select DAAP Server option. Any available DAAP servers will be listed under the Active Servers heading.

Simply click on the server name to connect to it. If a password is required then you will need to enter it. 

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Playing Music From Your DAAP Server on Your Android Device

DAAP client on Android

 Once you have connected to your DAAP server you will see the following categories:

  • All songs
  • Artists
  • Albums
  • Genres
  • Playlists
  • Download Queue

The interface is very straight forward to use and to play songs simply open a category and choose the songs you wish to play.