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How To Use Tidal Music From The Command Line On Linux

Linux fans who subscribe to Tidal Music have to use the subscription service in a web browser because there are currently no plans to make a fully native Tidal client for the platform. Listening to lossless music in a web browser is possible, but it isn’t as good as taking advantage of the native Linux-powered audio technologies available. It is because of this, the promise of excellent, lossless music subscription service looks too good to be true.

To solve this problem, Github user Okonek has created a terminal based, command-line only Tidal Music client. It runs with the help of MPV, W3M, NodeJS, and shows a lot of promise, despite being a command-line tool. Features for the Tidal CLI client include searching, a music queue, album artwork, and etc.

Installing Tidal CLI

The Tidal CLI client doesn’t have any binary packages to install. Instead, anyone looking to use this program on Linux must download it via the NPM package tool. First, you’ll need to satisfy the build dependencies. Specifically, NodeJS, NPM, MPV, and W3M.

Note: if you have NPM already installed, there’s a good chance you won’t need to install the NodeJS tool on your Linux system. Tidal-CLI seems to run pretty well with version 8.x, but newer versions of NodeJS should work as well.

Ubuntu/Debian

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_8.x | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs w3m mpv

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S nodejs npm w3m mpv

Fedora

curl --silent --location https://rpm.nodesource.com/setup_8.x | sudo bash -

sudo dnf -y install nodejs w3m mpv

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install nodejs8 w3m mpv

Other Linuxes

Looking to get NodeJS on a system not listed? Check out the official documentation!

Install Tidal-CLI with:

sudo npm -g i tidal-cli-client@latest

Using Tidal CLI

Launch Tidal-CLI at any time by opening a terminal window and entering “tidal-cli.” Sadly, there isn’t a way to quickly launch Tidal-CLI to open inside terminal from the Linux desktop automatically. The developer has no interest in adding shortcut functionality to the program.

Note: sign up for the Tidal free trial here.

On the first launch of Tidal-CLI, you’ll need to sign into an account. Keep in mind that if you sign up for the service with a social account, your username will be the email account that is linked to Facebook or Twitter. Due to how Tidal handles social accounts, you may not know your password. If this is the case, go to this link here and reset your password. When you’re done, use the interface to log in to the client.

Playing Music

When Tidal-CLI starts up, nothing is on the screen at all. It is because nothing is selected, or queued for playback. At any time, users can search for music quite quickly by pressing “:”. Type the name of the song, or “track” in the search box, to search for a song. Alternatively, search for an Artist or Album by adding that as the search query.

After coming across the song, album or artist, you’d like to play, click on it with the mouse. Add anything to the up-next queue by hovering over an item, and pressing “n.” Additionally, it is possible to pause the playback of music at any time by pressing the “ESC” key.

Switching accounts

Currently, there isn’t a slick “log out” dialog button to press in the Tidal-CLI app. Instead, if you’d like to log out of an account, and log into another, you’ll need to delete the file that stores login info on your Linux PC. To do it, open up a terminal window, and use CD to make sure you’re in the home folder.

cd ~/

When you’ve made it to the home directory, just delete the .tidalConfig.js file that holds all login information with the rm command.

rm .tidalConfig.js

Keep in mind that you will need to remove this file each time you wish to log out of the app.

Alternatives To Tidal-CLI

Admittedly, Tidal-CLI is very buggy and doesn’t work for everyone. Still, this is the best that Linux users will get that isn’t a web browser. If you’re interested in using Tidal, consider installing the Unofficial Tidal notifier Chrome extension to make the experience a little better. The expansion allows users to see notifications when listening to music on the Tidal website.

Sadly, this is as good as it gets on Linux, as Google has removed the ability to turn any website into an “app”. If this extension or the Tidal CLI app don’t work, consider switching to something like Spotify. Like the Tidal service, Spotify offers subscribers lossless audio playback for a decent price. In addition to that, Spotify can easily be installed natively on Linux and is supported by Snap packages, Flatpaks, as well as a multitude of other Linux packaging formats.

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