Client Developer’s Manual


MPD is a music player without a user interface. The user interface will be provided by independent clients, which connect to MPD over socket connections (TCP or local sockets).

This chapter describes how to develop a client.

Before you develop a new client, consider joining an existing client project. There are many clients, but few are mature; we need fewer, but better clients.

Client Libraries

There are many libraries which help with connecting to MPD. If you develop a MPD client, use a library instead of reinventing the wheel. The MPD website has a list of libraries:

Connecting to MPD

Do not hard-code your client to connect to localhost:6600. Instead, use the defaults of the client library. For example, with libmpdclient, don’t do:

c = mpd_connection_new("localhost", 6600, 30000);

Instead, do:

c = mpd_connection_new(NULL, 0, 0);

This way, the library can choose the best defaults, maybe derived from environment variables, so all MPD clients use the same settings.

If you need to reimplement those defaults (or if you are developing a client library), this is a good set of addresses to attempt to connect to:

  • if the environment variable MPD_HOST is set: $MPD_HOST:$MPD_PORT (MPD_PORT defaulting to 6600)

  • if the environment variable XDG_RUNTIME_DIR is set: $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/mpd/socket

  • /run/mpd/socket

  • localhost:$MPD_PORT (MPD_PORT defaulting to 6600)

Environment Variables

The following environment variables should be obeyed by all clients (preferably by the client library):

  • MPD_HOST: the host (or local socket path) to connect to; on Linux, this may start with a @ to connect to an abstract socket. To use a password with MPD, set MPD_HOST to password@host (then abstract socket requires double @: password@@socket).

  • MPD_PORT: the port number; defaults to 6600.

  • MPD_TIMEOUT: timeout for connecting to MPD and for waiting for MPD’s response in seconds. A good default is 30 seconds.