Banshee 2.0: Major update, major improvement - gHacks Tech News

Banshee 2.0: Major update, major improvement

If you are just now getting into the Linux foray and you plan on listening to music or other forms of mult-media, you are one lucky person. For those of us who have spent years struggling with various media players, the time has finally come for something really special. That something special is Banshee 2.0. With this new release comes a lot of improvements (in both performance and features.)

I want to walk you through the upgrade process for Banshee 2.0 on Ubuntu. You don't have to be using the most recent beta release of 11.04, but you really can't go back any further than Ubuntu 10.04. With that in mind, let's see what Banshee 2.0 will bring you and how you can get it installed.

New Features

Here is a list of the new features offered in 2.0.

Artist/Album Browser Track Actions: Finally you can right-click on an artist or album and select an action to act upon the selection. From that list you can Add to play queue, Play after, Add to play list, write to CD, edit track information, and more.

'Play After' Queue Options: From the Play After menu option you can insert a track or an entire album after the currently playing track. This makes listening to must on the fly very easy.

User Interface Improvements: Several changes have been made with a goal of having a clearner and user-friendly UI. These changes include:

  • Removal of active source titlebar.
  • Search now beside volume button.
  • Smaller icons.
  • Hidden counts for libraries.
  • Name group-separators..
  • Seek slider and search area can be resized.
  • Podcast episodes now shown in grid and include descriptive lines.

Ubuntu One: The Ubuntu One Music Store is no longer an extension, but a part of the core Banshee application. No more enabling this feature. SoundMenu extension also enjoys this same change.

Subtitles: Support has been added for embedded and external subtitles.


There have been a ton of enhancements that are now available in Banshee 2.0. Some of these enhancements include:

  • Support Amazon Cloud Player browsing and downloading
  • Remember sources' column configuration
  • 'Shuffle by' respects user-selected artist/album
  • MultimediaKeys: Support Pause, FastForward, Rewind, Repeat and Shuffle
  • Album grid has tooltips for ellipsized text
  • MusicBrainz cover art search supports CDBaby and Jamendo
  • Allow to clear the play queue while in Populate mode
  • Add a new 'Recently Played' default smart playlist
  • Blank track editor spin buttons when 0
  • Remove Home and Photo folder import sources
  • Improved write-metadata-to-file performance
  • Many improvements and fixes to the F1 user guide
  • Add support for handling u1ms:// links
  • AmazonMp3.Store: support
  • Daap: Keep a list of recently used remote servers
  • Windows build (alpha-quality) now available
  • Mac build (beta-quality) has been updated


The installation of Banshee 2.0 is actually quite simple, if you follow these steps:

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Issue the command sudo apt-add-repository ppa:banshee-team/banshee-daily
  3. Issue the command sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

You will notice, during the installation process, the Ubuntu One extension will be removed, this is normal and must be done, since this service is now rolled into the core.

Once the above commands are run open up Banshee and you should now see a much-improved interface as well as a far better performing player.

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    1. henry said on April 12, 2011 at 1:20 am

      That is well and good. But using an ubuntu derivative, I’ve found that “apt-get dist-upgrade” always leads to trouble.
      So until I can try it without that nefarious “apt-get dist-upgrade” I’ll abstain.

      1. David said on May 3, 2011 at 2:08 am

        @henry, just type:

        $ sudo apt-get install banshee

        instead. That will avoid upgrading anything that isn’t dependent on the new Banshee.

    2. Finvana said on April 12, 2011 at 9:54 am

      Music store is not optional? no thanks.

    3. haik' said on April 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Just tried it on ElementaryOS (just added the ppa and installed it from synaptic).
      It’s ok – it plays my music :-)
      The cover art fetching is good – haven’t tried Daap, but I guess it works out-of-the-box as advertised.
      Just 2 major drawbacks still –
      – the layout is horrible: the album panel just takes too much space, leaving a big blank on the window (There’s about 200 artists in my library, none with more than 3 albums)
      – still no genre browsing, which is a big no-no

    4. TheBoy said on April 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Just tried it on 10.04. Crashes on all the radio streams I tried. The lucid version (1.6) plays them fine.

    5. jon said on April 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm

      Just replaced Rhythmbox with this. It is great! Thanks. Any chance of a genre plugin?

    6. Joel Zehring said on April 17, 2011 at 3:30 am

      Just backed up my music for a wipe-and-install of Natty. Banshee is struggling to import the files from my USB drive. Haven’t tried the cloud player features yet. That sounds awesome.

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