#spotify #ncurses #terminal #librespot

app ncspot

ncurses Spotify client written in Rust using librespot, inspired by ncmpc and the likes

24 releases (8 breaking)

0.8.2 Aug 28, 2021
0.8.1 Jul 27, 2021
0.7.3 May 31, 2021
0.5.0 Mar 7, 2021
0.0.0 Mar 4, 2019

#6 in Audio

Download history 130/week @ 2021-05-29 72/week @ 2021-06-05 69/week @ 2021-06-12 68/week @ 2021-06-19 65/week @ 2021-06-26 68/week @ 2021-07-03 73/week @ 2021-07-10 77/week @ 2021-07-17 148/week @ 2021-07-24 136/week @ 2021-07-31 78/week @ 2021-08-07 106/week @ 2021-08-14 75/week @ 2021-08-21 104/week @ 2021-08-28 90/week @ 2021-09-04 63/week @ 2021-09-11

382 downloads per month




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ncspot ncspot

ncurses Spotify client written in Rust using librespot. It is heavily inspired by ncurses MPD clients, such as ncmpc. My motivation was to provide a simple and resource friendly alternative to the official client as well as to support platforms that currently don't have a Spotify client, such as the *BSDs.


Resource footprint comparison

Measured using ps_mem on Linux during playback:

Client Private Memory Shared Memory Total
ncspot 22.1 MiB 24.1 MiB 46.2 MiB
Spotify 407.3 MiB 592.7 MiB 1000.0 MiB


On macOS

ncspot is available via Homebrew: brew install ncspot.

On Linux

  • Rust
  • Python 3 (needed for building rust-xcb dependency)
  • libpulse-dev (or portaudio-dev, if you want to use the PortAudio backend)
  • libncurses-dev and libssl-dev
  • libdbus-1-dev
  • libxcb + development headers (for clipboard access)
  • A Spotify premium account
  • pkg-config

On Debian based systems you need following packages for development headers:

sudo apt install libncursesw5-dev libdbus-1-dev libpulse-dev libssl-dev libxcb1-dev libxcb-render0-dev libxcb-shape0-dev libxcb-xfixes0-dev

For Fedora, these dependencies are required:

dnf install pulseaudio-libs-devel libxcb-devel openssl-devel ncurses-devel dbus-devel

Building a Debian Package

You can use cargo-deb create in order to build a Debian package from source. Install it by:

cargo install cargo-deb

Then you can build a Debian package with:

cargo deb

You can find it under target/debian.

On Windows

Make sure you're using MSVC toolchain

cargo install ncspot --no-default-features --features rodio_backend,cursive/pancurses-backend


  • Install the latest ncspot release using cargo install ncspot
    • or build it yourself using cargo build --release
    • both approaches require a working Rust installation
  • For debugging, you can pass a debug log filename and log stderr to a file, e.g. RUST_BACKTRACE=full cargo run -- -d debug.log 2> stderr.log

Audio backends

By default ncspot is built using the PulseAudio backend. To make it use the PortAudio backend (e.g. for *BSD or macOS), you need to recompile ncspot with the portaudio_backend feature:

  • cargo run --no-default-features --features portaudio_backend,cursive/pancurses-backend

Key Bindings

The keybindings listed below are configured by default. Additionally, if you run ncspot with MPRIS support, you may be able to use media keys to control playback depending on your desktop environment settings. Have a look at the configuration section if you want to set custom bindings.

  • ? show help screen
  • Navigate through the screens using the F-keys:
    • F1: Queue
      • c clears the entire queue
      • d deletes the currently selected track
      • Ctrl-s opens a dialog to save the queue to a playlist
    • F2: Search
    • F3: Library
      • d deletes the currently selected playlist
    • F8: Album art (if compiled with the cover feature)
  • Tracks and playlists can be played using Return and queued using Space
  • . will play the selected item after the currently playing track
  • p will move to the currently playing track in the queue
  • s will save, d will remove the currently selected track to/from your library
  • o will open a detail view or context menu for the selected item
    • if the selected item is not a track:
      • opens a detail view
    • if the selected item is a track:
      • opens a context menu for the selected item presenting 4 options:
        • "Show Artist"
        • "Show Album"
        • "Share"
        • "Add to playlist"
        • "Similar tracks"
  • Shift-o will open a context menu for the currently playing track
  • a will open the album view for the selected item
  • A will open the artist view for the selected item
  • Ctrl-v will open the context menu for a Spotify link in your clipboard
  • Backspace closes the current view
  • Shift-p toggles playback of a track (play/pause)
  • Shift-s stops a track
  • Shift-u updates the library cache (tracks, artists, albums, playlists)
  • < and > play the previous or next track
  • f and b to seek forward or backward
  • Shift-f and Shift-b to seek forward or backward in steps of 10s
  • - and + decrease or increase the volume by 1
  • [ and ] decrease of increase the volume by 5
  • r to toggle repeat mode
  • z to toggle shuffle playback
  • q quits ncspot
  • x copies a sharable URL of the currently selected item to the system clipboard
  • Shift-x copies a sharable URL of the currently playing track to the system clipboard

Use / to open a Vim-like search bar, you can use n and N to go for the next/previous search occurrence, respectivly.


You can also open a Vim style commandprompt using :, the following commands are supported:

  • quit: Quit ncspot

  • logout: Remove any cached credentials from disk and quit ncspot

  • toggle: Toggle playback

  • stop: Stop playback

  • previous/next: Play previous/next track

  • clear: Clear playlist

  • share [current | selected]: Copies a sharable URL of either the selected item or the currernt song to the system clipboard

  • newplaylist <name>: Create new playlist with name <name>

  • sort <sort_key> <sort_direction>: Sort a playlist by <sort_key> in direction <sort_direction>

    Supported <sort_key> are:

    • title
    • album
    • artist
    • duration
    • added

    Supported <sort_direction> are:

    • a | asc | ascending
    • d | desc | descending

The screens can be opened with focus <queue|search|library>. The search command can be supplied with a search term that will be entered after opening the search view.

To close the commandprompt at any time, press esc.


Configuration is saved to ~/.config/ncspot/config.toml (or %AppData%\ncspot\config.toml on Windows). To reload the configuration during runtime use the reload statement in the command prompt :reload.

Possible configuration values are:

  • command_key: Key to open command line , set to : by default
  • use_nerdfont: Turn nerdfont glyphs on/off <true/false>
  • flip_status_indicators: By default the statusbar will show a play icon when a track is playing and a pause icon when playback is stopped. If this setting is enabled, the behavior is reversed. <true/false>
  • theme: Set a custom color palette (see below)
  • backend: Audio backend to use, run ncspot -h for a list of devices
  • backend_device: Audio device string to configure the backend
  • audio_cache: Enable or disable caching of audio files, on by default <true/false>
  • audio_cache_size: Maximum size of audio cache in MiB
  • volnorm: Enable or disable volume normalization, off by default <true/false>
  • volnorm_pregain: Normalization pregain to apply (if enabled)
  • default_keybindings: If disabled, the default keybindings are discarded, off by default <true/false>
  • notify: Enable or disable desktop notifications, off by default <true/false>
  • bitrate: The audio bitrate to use for streaming, can be 96, 160, or 320 (default is 320)
  • album_column: Show album column for tracks, on by default <true/false>
  • gapless: Allows gapless playback <true/false> (default is false)
  • shuffle: Set default shuffle state <true/false>
  • repeat: Set default repeat mode <off/track/playlist>

Keybindings can be configured in [keybindings] section in config.toml, e.g. as such:

"Shift+i" = "seek +10000"

See the help screen by pressing ? for a list of possible commands.

ncspot will respect system proxy settings defined via the http_proxy environment variable.


Theme generator by @vaarad.

The color palette can be modified in the configuration. For instance, to have ncspot match Spotify's official client, you can add the following entries to the configuration file:

background = "black"
primary = "light white"
secondary = "light black"
title = "green"
playing = "green"
playing_selected = "light green"
playing_bg = "black"
highlight = "light white"
highlight_bg = "#484848"
error = "light white"
error_bg = "red"
statusbar = "black"
statusbar_progress = "green"
statusbar_bg = "green"
cmdline = "light white"
cmdline_bg = "black"
search_match = "light red"

More examples can be found in pull request https://github.com/hrkfdn/ncspot/pull/40.

Cover Drawing

When compiled with the cover feature, ncspot can draw the album art of the current track in a dedicated view (:focus cover or F8 by default) using Überzug. For more information on installation and terminal compatibility, consult that repository.

To allow scaling the album art up beyond its resolution (640x640 for Spotify covers), use the config key cover_max_scale. This is especially useful for HiDPI displays:

cover_max_scale = 2


ncspot prompts for a Spotify username and password on first launch, uses this to generate an OAuth token, and stores it to disk.

The credentials are stored in ~/.cache/ncspot/librespot/credentials.json (unless the base path has been changed with the --basepath option).

The :logout command can be used to programmatically remove cached credentials (see Commands above).


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