play ► — your company's dj
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We like playing music at the GitHub office. Everyone has their own library on their own machines, and everyone except for me plays shitty music. Play is designed to make office music more palatable.

Play is api-driven and web-driven. All music is dropped on a central Mac system. Once it's available to Play, users can control what's being played. Users can either use a nice web view or the API, which lends itself for use on the command line or through Campfire.

Play will play all the songs that are added to its Queue. Play will play the crap out of that Queue. And you know what? If there's nothing left in the Queue, Play will figure out who's in the office and play something that they'll like.

No shit.


There's a video. It includes some explicit close-ups of a command line prompt.


The underlying tech of Play uses afplay to control music (for now), so you'll need a Mac. afplay is just a simple command-line wrapper to OS X's underlying music libraries, so it should come preinstalled with your Mac, and it should play anything iTunes can play.

Play also expects MySQL to be installed. Play runs in Ruby 1.8.7.


Play is installed by cloning down the repository:

git clone

Then run the setup script. It's cool.



Things are managed with the bin/play executable.

play start       Starts up the web and music servers.
play help        All of the other commands available in play.


Play also has Hubot integration. Just add to your Hubot.

Set up your office (optional)

This isn't a required step. If nothing's in the queue and Play has still been told to play something, it'll just play random music. But you can set it up so it will play a suitable artist for someone who's currently in the office.

That particular step is left to the reader's imagination — here at GitHub we poll our router's ARP tables and update an internal application with MAC addresses — but all Play cares about is a URL that returns comma-separated string identifiers. We get that string by hitting the office_url in config/play.yml. The string that's returned from that URL should look something like this:


That means those three handsome lads are in the office right now. Once we get that, we'll compare each of those with the users we have in our database. We do that by checking a user attribute called office_string, which is just a unique identifier to associate back to Play's user accounts. In this example, I'd log into my account and change my office_string to be "holman" so I could match up. It could be anything, though; we actually use MAC addresses here.


Play has a full API that you can use to do tons of fun stuff. In fact, the API is more feature-packed than the web UI. Because we're programmers. And baller.

Check out the API docs on the wiki.

♬ ★★★

This was created by Zach Holman. You can follow me on Twitter as @holman.

I usually find myself playing Justice, Deadmau5, and Muse at the office.