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Stream Spotify via Airplay to your Linux HTPC

Today we will show you how to setup your Linux HTPC as AirPlay target so that you can stream music services like Spotify from your iPhone or iPad to it. A Home Theater PC (HTPC) or Media Center computer is a PC connected to a TV and/or audio system that supports video, photo, audio playback, and sometimes video recording (PVR) functionality.

Spotify is a commercial music streaming service providing DRM-protected content from a range of major and independent record labels, including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal. Today (June 21st 2013) Spotify is available in: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US, Ireland, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Luxemburg. It has very nice “app” for the iPad or iPhone to select and play music.

Alternatives to Spotify are:


If you have both a Linux HTPC and a (paid) Spotify premium account you can combine them into an awesome entertainment system. The convenient part is that you will use your iPhone/iPad to choose music that will be streamed over the Wifi using the AirPlay protocol to your HTPC and then to your sound system. I assume your home network/living room setup looks like this:

shairtunes_network

What we are going to do is add a service to the HTPC that allows us to play music on the stereo system. We are going to be using the AirPlay protocol that is created by Apple and allows you to play stream audio from an Apple device towards speakers or a stereo line-out. The first device to support AirPlay protocol was the AirPort express home Wifi router by Apple. Nowadays you can get a really cool portable speaker or regular speaker with Wifi support that allow you to stream directly to them using the AirPlay protocol.

Even if you are very Linux minded it could happen that you get an iPhone from your boss. In that case you might not be willing to invest in Apple (related) products like the speakers mentioned above. What you can do is install “shairport”: a software package that allows your free Linux machine to behave like an AirPlay target. This way you can enjoy music from your iPhone on your speakers via your Linux HTPC. You need to install the dependencies, download the code, compile and install it. This sounds like a lot of work, but it is actually not that hard:

sudo apt-get install build-essential libssl-dev libcrypt-openssl-rsa-perl libao-dev libio-socket-inet6-perl libwww-perl avahi-utils pkg-config
sudo cpan install HTTP::Request HTTP::Message Crypt::OpenSSL::RSA IO::Socket::INET6 Net::SDP
wget https://github.com/abrasive/shairport/archive/master.zip
unzip master.zip
cd shairport-master/
make
perl shairport.pl
sudo make install

Now all you need to do is start the “shairport”¬†service and you are ready to enjoy your new audio setup:

sudo /etc/init.d/shairport restart

Enjoy the music!

3 Responses to “Stream Spotify via Airplay to your Linux HTPC”

  • rwl:

    “you can stream music services like Spotify from your iPhone or iPad”

    Only from Apple gadgets, surely?

  • Maurits van der Schee (Innovation Engineer):

    @rwl: Unfortunately you can only stream them from Apple gadgets. The Android alternative protocol for Airtunes is DLNA.

  • Jst:

    You can use Airplay from Google Play Store on a rooted Android device. Works like a charm from a Nexus 4 as well as Nexus 7.

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