There is a little known feature of VLC that allows you to have an interactive text interface for creating playlists and listening to music.

Start VLC in ncurses mode

vlc --intf ncurses

Note: You may have to create an alias or add the location of VLC to your PATH. Your choice.

alias vlc="/Applications/"
export PATH="$PATH:/Applications/"


  • key action
  • shift + b browse
  • space add file/folder, play/pause
  • h help
  • q quit


Here is an alias that makes startup and nagivation easier. Throw this in your ~./zshrc or .bash_profile

export MUSIC="/Volumes/32GB_MICRO/music"
alias nvlc="vlc --intf ncurses --browse-dir $MUSIC"

Now, start it up with nvlc.