Pandora on Linux (Pithos)

Jarret B

Active Member
Staff member
Having access to a constant music of your liking is a great achievement of the Internet. Most people have a Pandora account, but are unable to play Pandora on their Linux System. A program called Pithos is available for Linux users which allows them to tap into their Pandora account and radio streaming.

The main website for Pithos is at Here you can find information about the software.

The main points are:
  • Play / Pause / Next Song
  • Switching stations
  • Remembering user name and password
  • Cover Art
  • Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down / Tired of this song
  • Notification popup with song info
  • Launching song info page and station page
  • Reconnecting when Pandora session times out
  • Editing QuickMix
  • Creating stations
  • Media Key support
  • Proxy support
  • scrobbling
Before getting into the software too deeply let’s get it installed.

Pithos Installation

For some Debian systems Pithos is already in Synaptic. It is possible to install it from the command line with the following command:

sudo apt-get install pithos

If, for some reason, Pithos is not in your repository then do the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pithos/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install --install-recommends pithos
For a Red Hat system you can do the following after you install RPM Fusion found at the site ‘’. Then perform the command:

sudo dnf install pithos

Now that the software is installed we can start on the configuration.

Configuring Pithos

If you already have a Pandora account and have music lists made then you will have access to these lists.

If you do not have a Pandora account then you need to make one at or simply click on the ‘Create an account at’ link when Pithos starts.

After making an account you can log into Pandora through the Pithos app. You can also set the music sound quality to ‘low’, medium’ or ‘high’ as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 01.jpg


NOTE: The higher the quality the more bandwidth is required. If you have some buffering issues you should lower the quality.

In this window you can also set a Proxy Server to use to connect to Pandora.

The second tab on the page is used to install plug-ins as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 02.jpg


The initial plug-ins are:

  • Notify – Shows a notification when a song changes
  • Mediakeys – Allows you to control the Pithos playback with media keys on your keyboard
  • MPRIS – Allow control of Pithos with external programs
  • LastFM – Tracks your music ‘tastes’ with LastFM and retrieves necessary information
  • Screensaver Pause – Pauses the playback when the screensaver starts
  • Notification Icon – shows an icon in the System Tray for Pithos
Change the plug-in settings as you need for your system. Do realize that if you have a screensaver set and you do not set Pithos to pause then it will continue to play when the screensaver starts. Notifications can also appear during the screensaver to inform you what is now playing when a song changes.

Pithos has five buttons to control the music and the functionality of the program.

Pithos Buttons

The first button is the ‘Play’ or ‘Pause’ button. When a song is playing the button will be set to ‘Pause’ to allow you to pause the song. If the song is paused then the button will be set to a ‘Play’ button and allow you continue the song.

The second button is the ‘Fast-Forward’, or ‘Next Song’ button, which moves the track to the next song on the list. The song list is shown in the lower part of the pane and usually shows the next four songs.

The third button is for volume control. When clicked, a drop-down control will appear to allow you to increase or decrease the volume.

The fourth button is used to open Pandora’s website and show information about the selected station.

The fifth is a drop-down box which shows the lists of stations you have in your account. The top-most item is called ‘QuickMix’. The QuickMix can be used to mix up songs from all of the stations you have created – a kind of ‘shuffle’.

Now, to use the buttons you need a station.

Modifying the Stations List

To modify a station allows you to add, delete and rename a station. Select the ‘Pithos’ menu item at the top of the window and select ‘Stations’ from the drop-down list as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 03.jpg


The next window will open and appear similar to Figure 4. Here you can manage the Stations List.

Figure 04.jpg


Click on ‘Add Station’ and then type in an Artist or song name. The lower box should start filling in with possible search hits. For instance, if I type in ‘Beatles’ I would find the Group. I can select the Group and then click the ‘OK’ button to add the Group as a station to my Stations List. When I play the ‘Beatles’ Station, songs by the Beatles and others similar should play on Pithos (Pandora). Suppose I type in ‘piggies’ in the Search box. I will get a listing like in Figure 5 which shows my possible choices. Make the proper choice and select ‘OK’.

Figure 05.jpg


Once you have added a station click on the ‘Refresh Stations’ button to make sure the stations are all listed. You can check or uncheck whether the Station is included in the QuickMix as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 06.jpg


To listen to the new Station right-click on the station name and select ‘Listen Now’. The Song List should be populated and the first song on the list should start playing.

If you go back to the Stations (CTRL+S) you can right-click a station and select ‘Delete’ to remove a station that you no longer want in the list.

Give Pithos a whirl on Linux if you like Pandora. If you have never tried Pandora then you should like it. Another option for radio is to try Banshee. Read my article called ‘Banshee Screaming Media’ to see how to set it up.
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