After hearing podcasters rave about Rdio long enough I finally tried it and I am in love. Spotify is great an all, but Rdio is so much cleaner. As someone who cares about user interface design and usability it didn’t take me long to jump on the Rdio bandwagon.
However, when I am working on my Mac listening to music I need quick access to basic Rdio controls. In the past I have used Alfred for this (I am even bought the Power Pack). So I decided to seek out an existing workflow that would allow Alfred to control Rdio.
I found a workflow that provides text commands but I really want keyboard shortcuts. So, I added them. And you can too! It’s easy.
First, download this great workflow by David Ferguson. Double-click the file once it has downloaded and it should install and launch your Alfred Workflows Preferences. If it doesn’t open up Alfred (click the hat in your menu bar) and select Preferences…
You should see a set of workflow commands visually represented by boxes connected by lines. The boxes on the left represent the command you would type into the Alfred box. The boxes on the right are the actual scripts that do the work of controlling Rdio. The lines connecting the boxes represent routing… in other words, “if you do this command, this thing (script) will happen.”
What we want to do is add another set of boxes to the left of the text command boxes. Each of our boxes will represent a global keyboard shortcut (or “hotkey”) to control one command for Rdio. Then we need to connect our boxes to the appropriate chains already in the workflow.
Start by clicking the plus sign at the top-right of the workflow screen. Select Triggers > Hotkey from the popup menu. Here you will enter your keyboard shortcut. Make sure you pick something very unique that will not be used by any other application. I like Ctl-Opt-Cmd and then an arrow key. I can hit all three with my left hand then the arrow key with my right hand. I will use the following:
- Ctl-Opt-Cmd-Up for the Now Playing info
- Ctl-Opt-Cmd-Down for Play/Pause
- Ctl-Opt-Cmd-Left for Previous
- Ctl-Opt-Cmd-Right for Next
Once you have entered your shortcut in the box at the top of the keep the other settings at their defaults (Pass Through and None) then click Save. Repeat this for your other keyboard shortcuts.
Now it’s time to connect each keyboard shortcut to the proper command in the workflow. Hover over one of the hotkey boxes and you should see a small nub (half-circle) protrude from the right-hand side.
Click on it and you should be able to drag a line connecting it to another box. You want to connect the right-hand side of each hotkey box with the left-hand side of each command box. This will pass your hotkey through to Alfred as if you had typed in the command you are connecting it to. Here is what the finished product looks like for me:
Now close the Alfred preferences window, open up Rdio for Mac, start playing something, and give it a shot. Now Playing, Play/Pause, Previous, and Next commands should all just be a keyboard shortcut away.
What music do you like to keep you motivated? Do you have other tips for improving your productivity with Alfred?