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Jason Tate’s Dedicated Now Playing Mini-Computer

Source: Chorus.fm.

Source: Chorus.fm.

As you can imagine, Jason Tate, Chorus.fm’s founder, listens to a lot of music. He wanted a dedicated device that displays the music he listens to throughout the day, so as a weekend project, he built what he wanted:

A small Raspberry Pi powered screen that displays what I am currently listening to. It sits, unassuming, next to my computer on the desk. When no music is playing it displays my most listened to albums from the past week, as well as some my music listening stats pulled from Last.fm.

The device consists of a Raspberry Pi Zero WH, a 4” screen, a 3D-printed enclosure, and other parts. The Pi runs Linux, serving a purpose-built website hosted on a Chorus.fm server that periodically polls the Last.fm API to fetch the currently playing song. The Now Playing screen’s design looks fantastic and is inspired by Marvis Pro, an Apple Music client for the iPhone and iPad that I wrote about last week in MacStories Weekly. If nothing is playing, the device shows Tate’s Last.fm listening stats and top albums played during the past week.

A nice final touch is that Tate’s creation can be controlled entirely with a shortcut that run shell scripts on the Raspberry Pi, allowing it to be shut down, rebooted, and refreshed, or the screen to be turned on and off separately.

I love projects like this and immediately began thinking of ways it could be extended using Apple’s MusicKit framework. Tate is using the device he built on his desk, but the size would work in a lot of environments like a kitchen countertop or bedside table. With the cold weather descending on Chicago, this seems like the perfect sort of project to dig into after the holidays. If you’re interested in learning more and building your own, Jason Tate’s story includes everything you’ll need.