RogerBW's Blog

mpd and YouTube 15 January 2020

I've extended my mpd-tools suite to allow for a new mode of operation.

There's a lot of music on YouTube, and the immediate inspiration for this was Melodice, a set of playlists for board games. The idea is that you have a laptop or phone or such like at the game table, tell the site which game you're playing, and it plays a succession of YouTube videos as background music.

But, well, I don't want to have a web browser on the box that's hooked up to the speakers in my main room, especially not one that's pointed at a Google site. Can I get this stuff into the excellent mpd instead?

Why yes, I can. ytpl needs youtube-dl to do the heavy lifting. It looks through the playlist, shuffles it if wanted, and whenever there's less than five minutes of play time remaining it picks a new track. If it's not already on the server the process tries to download it (converting to a plain audio file) and updates the mpd database so that the track is available, then adds it to the queue – which can be manipulated normally with mpd client software, including adding locally-stored tracks. (I know, it's terribly old-fashioned to have one's own digital music collection rather than renting temporary listening rights over someone else's, but that's the way I like to do things.)

It's all rather silly, but it works. (It's also probably a violation of YouTube's ToS to take the video file they happily send you and actually keep it in a cache, rather than playing it once and throwing it away. So if you care about that sort of thing you shouldn't use this software, or indeed youtube-dl.)

It'll also work on a standard YouTube playlist, or individual file URLs. I've updated the mpd-tools package on github.

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