IBodging around in the Budgie desktop for the past couple of days I’ve gotten used to the (rather awesome) music player integration in the ‘Raven’ sidebar.

Like the Sound Menu you’ve probably used on Ubuntu’s Unity desktop, Raven’s media player controls appear when compatible apps (those that support MPRIS2) are open.

So logging in to GNOME Shell I found myself a trite adrift. There’s no music controller feature available out of the box on GNOME 3.18, the version of the GNOME desktop that’s available to install on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

As an aside, GNOME 3.20 introduces a media player controller that uses MPRIS.

Rewinding my mind a few weeks I also couldn’t recall any sort of “Sound Applet” extension making (y)our list of the ‘5 Best GNOME Shell Extensions‘.

So, with British pop-punkers Roam on repeat, I went on the hunt for a music controlling extension on the GNOME Extensions website.

Few extensions showed up as compatible at first. A couple of savvy keywords later and I found a GNOME music extension that was exactly the sort I was looking for.

I figured I’d give it a mention on this site as the add-on scratched my itch. It may, depending on how sensitive you are, itch yours too!

Media Player Indicator

The extension is customizable, and offers a set of options that let you control its positioning, appearance and behaviour:

  • Three positions: center, right, or combined with the status menu
  • Interactive applet icon: scroll mouse over it to change tracks
  • Toggle on/off: Ratings, Player Volume, Seekbar, Playlists in applet
  • Optional custom menu label

A word of note about the ability to see a seek bar (and or volume, if you toggle it on) in the status.

Some players will show a progress bar (assuming you have the option enabled):

Most apps will show a progress bar in the applet….

But not all players support this feature. If you see a player without a progress bar, despite the option being enabled, it’s not a bug:

GNOME music player extension with more than one player
…But not all.

Multiple Music Players

My favourite ‘bit’ of this extension is the way it handles multiple music players.

Unlike Ubuntu’s Unity desktop which lists all compatible music players, open or closed, requiring you to manually remove players from the Ubuntu Sound Menu, the ‘Media Player Indicator’ extension only shows compatible music players when they are open.

That means if you only have one media player open you’ll only see one media controller in the applet:

MPRIS one player open

And if you have more than one, you’ll see all those that offer MPRIS2 integration:

GNOME music player extension with more than one player

Even better: players are fully collapsible, so even if you have a couple of media players open at the same time you won’t be left looking at a super long list of every player!

When no compatible media players are open you won’t see the applet icon in the panel at all.

Yes, It Can Integrate With The Status Menu

Now, at this point you might be thinking: “It looks great, but I’d rather it integrated in to the main GNOME Status Menu.”

Well, as noted above, it can.

Just head to the extensions’ preferences (using a tool like GNOME Tweak) and change the  position setting to ‘combined’ to make it part of the Status Menu:

status menu sound control

If you think this applet will be music to your ears — collective groan -the world — you can install it using Firefox, Web or another compatible browser from the GNOME Extensions website.

‘Media Player Indicator’ on GNOME Extensions

Download GNOME Extensions gnomeshell