Remotely Control Pandora with Pianobar on Raspberry Pi

Running Pianobar on a Raspberry Pi to control Pandora remotely


A Raspberry Pi Model B
Raspberry Pi running Pianobar, hooked up to my overhead speakers

I have a small apartment with a loft, and some computer speakers hooked up overhead for music. Previously these were hooked up to my HTPC/server. A couple batch scripts to toggle between audio on the TV and the overhead speakers. This was because the speakers are terrible for anything with dialogue due to their placement. Using the HTPC also required being in front of the TV to change the track/station, or using some form of remote desktop. This all still requires switching to a different machine (virtually or physically) and using its GUI to interact with Pandora. Hell… in that timeframe, the song I got up to skip might have already finished. Keeping the TV on to avoid it’s start up time wastes energy – there’s no need to keep the TV on if I just want to play music over the external speakers. Keeping a remote control client such as Team Viewer running is an unneeded use of resources on both machines.


  • Play Pandora on external speakers (possibly extend to other players as time/need warrant)
  • Lower needless power/resource use
  • Simple, easy to access controls

Initial Thoughts

As of starting to write this, the basic goals of the project have been met, but still lots of room to build. I spotted a mention of Pianobar(Githubonline. (can’t remember where that was now) The idea of a command line Pandora client excited me. Initially I wasn’t even thinking about my overhead speakers, but simply my laptop, and how I could integrate it with Alfred to make managing Pandora quicker there. I will likely write up something about that project in and of itself. (Pianobar + Alfred Workflows + Geektool is the general idea there) The Raspberry Pi was chosen simply because it was laying around and not being altogether useful. In reality, as far as I’ve gone with this, you just need a machine that accepts SSH connections, and can run Pianobar. Not sure if there’s a Windows version.



Set up Raspberry Pi:


  • SSH into Raspberry Pi
  • Run pianobar
  • More or less a simpler version of remote controlling a GUI system
  • No need to interact directly with Raspberry Pi. Control from anywhere with SSH access


  • Devise way to post contents to FIFO
  • Run and limit to one screen, use this to connect/manage from multiple devices
  • Set up a web server to handle requests through a browser

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