Background Music, a macOS audio utility: automatically pause your music, set individual apps' volumes and record system audio.
Background Music automatically pauses your music player when a second audio source is playing and unpauses the player when the second source has stopped.
The auto-pause feature currently supports following music players:
Background Music provides a volume slider for each application running your system. You can boost quiet applications above their maximum volume.
You can record system audio with Background Music. With Background Music running, launch QuickTime Player and select File > New Audio Recording (or New Screen Recording, New Movie Recording). Then click the dropdown menu (
⌄) next to the record button and select Background Music as the input device.
You can record system audio and a microphone together by creating an aggregate device that combines your input device (usually Built-in Input) with the Background Music device. You can create the aggregate device using the Audio MIDI Setup utility under /Applications/Utilities.
Requires macOS 10.10+.
You can download the current version of Background Music using the following options. We also have snapshot builds.
Download version 0.3.2:
BackgroundMusic-0.3.2.pkg (571 KB)
Install using Homebrew by running the following command in Terminal:
brew cask install background-music
If you want the snapshot version, run:
brew tap homebrew/cask-versions brew cask install background-music-pre
Background Music usually takes less than a minute to build. You need Xcode version 8 or higher.
(set -eo pipefail; URL='https://github.com/kyleneideck/BackgroundMusic/archive/master.tar.gz'; \ cd $(mktemp -d); echo Downloading $URL to $(pwd); curl -qfL# $URL | gzcat - | tar x && \ /bin/bash BackgroundMusic-master/build_and_install.sh -w && rm -rf BackgroundMusic-master)
This command uses
/bin/bash instead of
bash in case someone has a nonstandard Bash in their
$PATH. However, it doesn't do this for
curl. In addition,
build_and_install.sh doesn't call programs by absolute paths. This command also uses
gzcat - | tar x instead of
tar xz because
gzcat will also check the file's integrity (gzip files
include a checksum), and will ensure that a half-downloaded copy of
build_and_install.sh doesn't run.
The script restarts the system audio process (coreaudiod) at the end of the installation, so pause any applications playing audio if you can.
To manually build and install, see MANUAL_INSTALL.md.
To uninstall Background Music from your system, follow these steps:
cd /Applications/Background\ Music.app/Contents/Resources/.
If you cannot locate
uninstall.sh, you can download the project again.
To manually uninstall, see MANUAL_UNINSTALL.md.
If Background Music crashes and your audio stops working, open
System Preferences > Soundand change your system's default output device to something other than the Background Music device. If it already is, then change the default device and then change it back again.
Make sure you allow "microphone access" when you first run Background Music. If you denied it, go to
System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Microphone, find Background Music in the list and check the box next to it. Background Music doesn't actually listen to your microphone. It needs the permission because it gets your system audio from its virtual input device, which macOS counts as a microphone. (We're working on it in #177.)
If the volume slider for an app isn't working, try looking in
More Appsfor entries like
Some App (Helper). For some meeting or video chat apps, you may need to do this to change the current meeting volume.
Setting an application's volume above 50% can cause clipping.
Only 2-channel (stereo) audio devices are currently supported for output.
VLC pauses iTunes or Spotify when playing, and stops Background Music from unpausing your music afterward.
Skype pauses iTunes during calls.
Plugging in or unplugging headphones when Background Music isn't running causes silence in the system audio.
A Chrome bug stops Chrome from switching to the Background Music device after you open Background Music.
Some applications play notification sounds that are only just long enough to trigger an auto-pause.
Background Music includes code from:
 However, if the music player doesn't support AppleScript, or doesn't support the events Background Music needs (
pause), it can take significantly more effort to add. (And in some cases would require changes to the music player itself.) ↩