I would like to play selected audio files through the built-in audio port on a Raspberry 3 that is running Raspbian Stretch Lite, from a python program. Unfortunately, none of the libraries or external applications that I have tried for this purpose work.

sudo pip install pygame

results in

Unable to run "sdl-config". Please make sure a development version of SDL is installed.


pip install sdl

fails with

Could not find a version that satisfies the requirement sdl (from versions: ) No matching distribution found for sdl

mplayer won’t install.

mpg321 comes closest, installing but then failing when used, with ALSA lib errors, and you can’t install a new version of alas-utils because

Could not find a version that satisfies the requirement alsa-utils (from versions: ) No matching distribution found for alsa-utils

What do people do to play music on this OS?

  • I installed pygame using the command: "$ sudo pip install pygame" without any problem. I got the message "Requirement also satisfied, ...", I am using Rpi3B+ stretch 9 (regular version, not lite version). – tlfong01 Jul 8 '19 at 4:06
  • I also tried to import the pygame module in a python program and run the demo code of analog/digital clock and found everything OK ( pygame.org/project/994 ). I have not yet try any audio player though. – tlfong01 Jul 8 '19 at 7:56
  • related (if not dupe): raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/q/94098/19949 – Ghanima Aug 24 '19 at 9:58

I have just tested it with two favorite programs: omxplayer and mpv. I used a fresh flashed up to date Raspbian Buster Lite but it shouldn't make a difference to Raspbian Stretch Lite. Playing music with this programs works out of the box without an modifications.

For testing first I plugged in a simple earphone into the analog audio output plug of my Raspberry Pi 4B. Then downloaded a test mp3 file from Sample .mp3 download. I selected the smallest one:

rpi ~$ curl https://file-examples.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/file_example_MP3_700KB.mp3 > file_example_MP3_700KB.mp3

Then installed omxplayer:

rpi ~$ sudo apt install omxplayer

and played the test file:

rpi ~$ omxplayer file_example_MP3_700KB.mp3

Same with mpv:

rpi ~$ sudo apt install mpv
rpi ~$ mpv file_example_MP3_700KB.mp3

I would prefer omxplayer because it is lighter than mpv and explicitly supports the hardware acceleration of the Raspberry Pi.

Now play it from python3:

rpi ~$ python3
Python 3.7.3 (default, Apr  3 2019, 05:39:12) 
[GCC 8.2.0] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import os
>>> os.system('/usr/bin/omxplayer /home/pi/file_example_MP3_700KB.mp3')

or playing it in the background:

>>> import subprocess
>>> subprocess.Popen(['/usr/bin/omxplayer', '/home/pi/file_example_MP3_700KB.mp3'])
rpi ~$    # exit from python3 but still playing

You may have a look at an omxplayer-wrapper. Look at google with python omxplayer-wrapper.

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