How To Play/Pause Spotify, YouTube Using Mac’s Media Keys

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I don’t live in the US but I listen to music via Spotify’s web app when I’m writing or just browsing the net. I use the free ad-supported tier because I don’t need access to premium mobile features (podcasts FTW) and it’s better than blatant piracy.

Cool Tip: I use Hola Unblocker Chrome extension to mask my real location in Spotify’s web player. That’s also how I made the Spotify account.

The reason I don’t use Spotify’s stellar Mac app is because every week or so I get kicked off for “not being in a supported country”. I need to reinstall the app and wait for the game of cat and mouse to begin again. So eventually I just gave up and settled on the web player. I don’t get support for plugins but that’s OK.

One thing I sorely miss on the Mac app is access to Mac’s built in Play/Pause, Next, and Previous keys. When you’re listening to music on Spotify/Pandora/Rdio on the web, the tab is usually in the background. I hate going hunting for it every time I need to pause playback.

Which is why I’m glad to share with you a simple Mac menubar utility that lets you control more than a dozen web based music/media player sites using your Mac’s media keys. All you need to do is use a keyboard shortcut to set the current tab as active and just like that Mac’s media keys will take over the tab’s playback.

How To Install BeardedSpice

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Download the zipped file from the website, use Mac’s built in Archive Utility to unzip it, and drag the unzipped app to the Applications folder. The first time you open the app, Mac will give a default warning. Just click Open.

Hello YouTube: BeardedSpice supports video sites like YouTube and Vimeo as well with no issues in performance. Scroll to the last section for the entire list of supported services.

Now you’ll see the BeardedSpice logo in the menubar. As the name suggests, the logo is a beard and a mustache.

How To Use And Configure BeardedSpice

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Now that BeardedSpice is up and running, go to any of the supported web based media players. Click the menubar utility and you’ll see the media tab listed.

Click on a web page to activate it. A checkmark beside the selected site will show up.

Configuring Keyboard Shortcuts

To make the activation process for web based players as quick as possible, BeardedSpice supports keyboard shortcuts. The default shortcut to activate BeardedSpice is Cmd+F8. F8 is conveniently also the Play/Pause key.

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But for some reason I found this shortcut to be buggy. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Thankfully, you can change the keyboard shortcut.

Click the BeardedSpice menubar utility and go to Preferences. Here click on the space beside Set active tab and type in your preferred shortcut. I have mine set to Cmd+8 as it’s right below the Play/Pause button.

Enable/Disable Supported Services

From the same Preferences menu you can decide which web players you don’t want BeardedSpice to interact with.

Here’s the entire list of supported web players:

  • 8Tracks
  • Amazon Music
  • BandCamp
  • BeatsMusic
  • Google Music
  • GrooveShark
  • HypeMachine
  • Mixcloud
  • Music Unlimited
  • Pandora
  • Rdio
  • Slacker
  • Songza
  • SoundCloud
  • Spotify (Web)
  • Synology
  • XboxMusic
  • YouTube
  • VK (“My Music” from
  • Vimeo

Where Do You Plan On Using BeardedSpice?

What services do you plan on using BeardedSpice with? Do you wish that it supported more players like Let us know in the comments below.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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