is there a shell command in Linux (for VLC media player) to open a *.mp3 file?


5 Answers 5


There is also cvlc, the interface-less cousin of VLC. If you are running a streaming server remotely, cvlc is the way to go.

  • This is the more correct answer.
    – Ahi Tuna
    Mar 15, 2020 at 22:04

Short Answer is yes.

The official VLC command-line help wiki page can give you all the commands you need, and you should be able to just type:

vlc name.mp3

That should open the file, if you have custom devices for output you would specify that in the command line.


You can use vlc -I ncurses to start a command line version of vlc.

  • 1
    Or -I rc, for something even simpler.
    – ephemient
    Oct 28, 2010 at 5:27

Use :

nvlc *.mp3 or cvlc *.mp3

The 'n' in front of 'vlc' invokes the ncurses interface in the terminal while 'c' is for the command line vlc interface, additionally you can use nvlc --random /path/to/your/music to play random songs from a folder.


This command Worked for me

vlc -I ncurses ~/Music --random

This command plays a random song from your /Music folder

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