A Raspberry Pi jukebox, playing local music, podcasts and web radio, streams and spotify triggered by RFID cards and/or web app. All plug and play via USB. GPIO scripts available.
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Update spotify related documentation
Latest commit 6c52a52 Nov 18, 2018


Phoniebox: the RPi-Jukebox-RFID

A contactless jukebox for the Raspberry Pi, playing audio files, playlists, podcasts, web streams and spotify triggered by RFID cards. All plug and play via USB, no soldering iron needed. Update: if you must, it now also features a howto for adding GPIO buttons controls.

IMPORTANT for users of +Spotify Edition: If you want to use this fantastic edition, you need a Spotify Premium subscription. Phoniebox will not work with Spotify Free, just Spotify Premium. You need a non-Facebook Spotify username and password. If you created your account through Facebook you'll need to create a "device password" to be able to use Phoniebox. Go to http://www.spotify.com/account/set-device-password/, login with your Facebook account, and follow the instructions. However, sometimes that process can fail for users with Facebook logins, in which case you can create an app-specific password on Facebook by going to facebook.com > Settings > Security > App passwords > Generate app passwords, and generate one to use with Phoniebox.

The next important thing is, that the MP3 (local music) handling has completely changed for the +Spotify Edition. The tracks need to be indexed by Mopidy & Mopidy-Spotify (this is the part of Phoniebox, which gives you spotify support) and the created M3U files do have another structure than normal M3U files. You have to scan you library once (if you hadn't yet) and everytime you upload new local tracks to your Phoniebox. You can scan local files under "Folders & Files" (Top Navigation).

For the future we try to integrate an automation for that.

If you open an issue on github, please provide as much informations as you can. What is you Edition (Classic or +Spotify)? Which version so you have? What is the problem and what did you try to solve this? And so on...

Important update news

  • Phoniebox 1.1.8-rc2 (release candidate 2) released One-line install script adding Spotify to your Phoniebox, a much simpler install procedure: copy and paste one line into your terminal and hit enter. See the next bulletpoint for information on how you can help to improve the new Spotify version. (2018-11-09)
  • Spotify integration needs you I invite everybody to use our spotify thread to post improvements regarding this feature. You might also want to improve the documentation on Spotify integration - which will soon move to the wiki, getting us to the next bulletpoint.
  • Documentation moved to the wiki The GitHub wiki for Phoniebox is active. And in the making. Not sure if this is the best way to go, but please try to add content in the wiki regarding special hardware, software tweaks and the like.
  • Upgrade if you are looking for how to upgrade please check out UPGRADE.md - and if you found out something that should go there, please create a pull request. (2018-10-18)
  • One Line Install Script As of version 1.x there is . Find out more about the one-line Phoniebox install script. (2018-08-18)
  • Podcasts! More for myself than anybody else, I guess, I added the podcast feature for Phoniebox (2018-05-09)
  • Bleeding edge: develop branch The maintenance with a growing contributor team (kudos!) got complicated. I introduced the branch develop which is where all new stuff is happening before merged to master. Read the CONTRIBUTING.md file for more infos on how to contribute code. (2018-08-30)

Prototype of the RFID jukebox

See the Phoniebox code in action, watch this video and read the blog post from iphone-ticker.de

What makes this Phoniebox easy to install and use:

  • Runs on all Raspberry Pi models (1, 2 and 3) and Raspberry Zero. (jump to the install instructions)
  • Just plug and play using USB, no soldering iron needed.
  • Once the Phoniebox is up and running, add music from any computer on your home network.
  • Register new RFID cards easily without having to connect to the RPi.
  • Play single or multiple files, podcasts or web streams.
  • Volume control is also done with RFID cards or key fobs.
  • Connect to your Phoniebox via your wifi network or run the Phoniebox like an access point and connect directly without a router.
  • Bonus: control the Phoniebox from your phone or computer via a web app.

The web app allows you to change the volume level, list and play audio files and folders, stop the player and shut down the RPi gracefully.

The web app runs on any device and is mobile optimised. It provides:

  • An audio player to pause, resume, shuffle, loop, stop and skip to previous and next track.
  • Sub folder support: manage your collection in sub folders. Phoniebox has two play buttons: only this folder and eeeeverything in this folder.
  • Manage files and folders via the web app.
  • Register new RFID cards, manage Phoniebox settings, display system info and edit the wifi connection.
  • Covers displayed in the web app (files called cover.jpg).

Phoniebox Gallery

Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption Caption

See more innovation, upcycling and creativity in the Phoniebox Gallery or visit and share the project's homepage at phoniebox.de. There is also an english Phoniebox page.


  • Installation instructions for Raspbian Stretch are available in the docs folder.
  • You can also use the headless installation over ssh straight from a fresh SD card.
  • For a quick install procedure, take a look at the bash install script for Stretch. This should get you started quickly.
  • If you choose the step by step installation, you need to walk through the configuration steps for Stretch.
  • Once everything has been installed and configured, read the manual to change settings, register RFID cards, add audio.

Adding push buttons to control volume, skipping tracks, pause, play: read the GPIO buttons installation guide.


In the Manual you will learn:

Contributing improvements

Read the CONTRIBUTING.md file for more infos on how to contribute code.

Reporting bugs

If you find something that doesn't work. And you tried and tried again, but it still doesn't work, please report your issue in the "issues" section. Make sure to include information about the system and hardware you are using, like:

Raspberry ZERO, OS Jessie, Card reader lists as (insert here) when running scripts/RegisterDevice.py, installed Phoniebox version 0.9.3 (or: using latest master branch).


There is a growing section of troubleshooting including:

  • I want to improve the onboard audio quality
  • I am moving, how do I get the Phoniebox into my new WiFi network?
  • The RFID Reader doesn't seem to work.
  • Changing the volume does not work, but the playout works.
  • Script daemon_rfid_reader.py only works via SSH not by RFID cards.
  • Script daemon is closing down unexpectedly.
  • Everything seems to work, but I hear nothing when swiping a card.
  • I would like to use two cards / IDs to do the same thing.


There are many, many, many inspiring suggestions and solutions on the web to bring together the idea of a jukebox with RFID cards. I want to mention a few of these that have inspired me.

For my rendition of the RFID jukebox, I have forked two files from Francisco Sahli to register the RFID reader and read the ID from the cards with the python scripts Reader.py and RegisterDevice.py.

I also want to link to two proprietary and commercial projects, because they also inspired me. And they challenged me, because of their shortcomings in terms of openness and in the case of tonies, the lack of "ownership" of the audiobooks and plays you actually bought. However, both products are very well made.

Shopping list

Here is a list of equipment needed. Chances are that you will find most of it in the back of your drawers or at the bottom of some shoe box. Well, most of it, possibly not the RFID reader itself.

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B | You might be surprised how easy and affordable you can get an RPi second hand. Think about the planet before you buy a new one.
  • RFID Card Reader (USB): Neuftech USB RFID Reader ID using 125 kHz - make sure to buy compatible cards, RFID stickers or key fobs working with the same frequency as the reader. Important notice: the hardware of the reader that I had linked here for a long times seems to have changed and suddenly created problems with the Phoniebox installation. The reader listed now has worked and was recommended by two Phoniebox makers (2018 Oct 4). I can not guarantee that this will not change and invite you to give RFID Reader feedback in this thread.
  • USB Stereo Speaker Set (6 Watt, 3,5mm jack, USB-powered) black | This USB powered speaker set sounds good for its size, is good value for money and keeps this RPi project clean and without the need of a soldering iron :)
  • USB A Male to Female Extenstion Cable with Switch On/Off | I placed this USB extension between the USB power adapter and the Phoniebox. This will allow you to switch the Phoniebox on and off easily.
  • USB 2.0 Hub 4-port bus powered USB Adapter | Depending on your setup, you will need none, one or two of these. If you are using the external USB powered speakers, you need one to make sure the speakers get enough power. If you want to use the additional USB soundcard and have an older RPi, you might need a second one to make sure you can connect enough devices with the RPi.

Special hardware

These are links to additional items which are not needed, but might be what you want to make your dream of a Phoniebox come true: