musiql: Perhaps the obvious answer to music management

I’m not a fan of applications that attempt to manage my music collection, mostly because I have the music arranged, in folders, how I like it. Similarly I’m not interested in ratings systems, fuzzy searches, popularity statistics or tagging, other than making sure the data in the built-in tag matches the file name. Sorry. It’s just not my nature.

I do, however, respect programmers and their applications that incorporate those features, not because I want them, but because I know it’s an accomplishment to get them working. So for example, cmus is all the more impressive because it runs perfectly on Pentium 1 hardware and has a lot of useful management features.

I suppose though, if you really wanted to get physical with the console music management concept, you could go to the logical extreme with musiql.


musiql doesn’t have much of an interface, won’t show you pretty timers or multicolor counters, and come to think of it, doesn’t really care what you’re listening to or how it’s arranged.

musiql jams your music collection into SQLite, and sets you free to sort, filter, search and booleanize to your heart’s delight. Once you’ve set the rules for what you want to listen to, musiql pipes everything through mplayer, and the deed is done.

There are a couple of obvious points here that I will go ahead and make, just for clarity.

First and foremost, you’ll need some familiarity with SQLite to get it working. What I showed above is really just a crude hack job that I copied off the examples from the help flags. If you need more intricate selections, you’ll need more intricate selection skills.

Second, if you’re looking for something with more visual panache, musiql isn’t it. In fact, musiql is pretty much a hands-off application, and just serves up your request to mplayer, which does everything else (a job it is more than qualified to do, I should add). You can, of course, send along a few flags to mplayer, if needed (in other words, you can enable -really-quiet).

Third, musiql itself is capable of most fundamental management tasks through command line flags, and will even handle smaller details like submissions (or disable them, to be more specific). It’s not so obvious (to me) how you can edit or micromanage that music database once it’s built, short of some more SQLite expertise.

On the other hand, I can see where this might open the field to a few more nifty tools. If you’re familiar with SQLite and you’re not intimidated by a music database in that format, this might be the cat’s meow. And I’m sure there are tools (for the console or otherwise) that will assist in reading, editing or at least giving more control over the database itself.

And given that SQLite is intended for high-end servers, corporate-level databases, etc., etc., I’m guessing it can handle the biggest, densest music collection out there. So if you’re touting a 4Tb music melange and lacking for a console application that can wrangle it all, this might be the one for you.

musiql is not the only music player to embrace SQLite, but it might be the one that offers (requires?) the most low-level, hands-on control.

For that, I’ll give a thumbs-up to musiql, and for merging SQLite and mplayer in a fashion I didn’t expect, and for maybe being the most obvious solution for music management. It’s not something I’d adopt any time soon, but I can see the attraction for other folks. Enjoy, at your own risk. 😉