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How to stream MP3 audio from Rdio

December 18 2011

Recently, I was working on a personal project for which I wanted to stream audio from my Rdio (which, incidentally, is a great service) account. Unfortunately, the documented Rdio APIs don't provide a way to do this, instead providing streaming through a Flash player for web apps or compiled libraries for iOS and Android. I spent a bit of time reverse-engineering pieces of the Rdio ecosystem to figure out how to do this and thought I'd post the resulting recipe for how to do this in Python in case anyone is interested.

First of all, apply for an Rdio API key.

Next, you'll need to install a bit of software:

Once you've got all that installed, the process is relatively straight-forward: use the Rdio API to search for a track you want to download and grab a playback token for it; use the (un-documented) Flash API to retrieve parameters for constructing arguments to rtmpdump; run rtmpdump and pipe the output to ffmpeg to trans-code the FLV to MP3.

Here's a proof-of-concept script that implements that process:

#!/bin/env python
# Demo tool to generate the rtmpdump(1) command for streaming a song from Rdio.

import httplib
from optparse import OptionParser
from os.path import basename
from pprint import pprint
from pyamf.remoting.client import RemotingService
from rdioapi import Rdio
import sys
from urlparse import urlparse

# URL hosting the Flash player
FLASH_PLAYER_URL = 'http://www.rdio.com/api/swf'

# API endpoint for AMF
AMF_ENDPOINT = 'http://www.rdio.com/api/1/amf/'

# Exit with a message
def fail(msg):
    print >> sys.stderr, '%s: %s' % (basename(sys.argv[0]), msg)

# Recursively resolve the given URL, following 3xx redirects. Returns final URL
# that did not result in a redirect
def resolve_url(url):
    while True:
        pr = urlparse(url)

        hc = httplib.HTTPConnection(pr.hostname)
        hc.request('GET', pr.path)
        hr = hc.getresponse()

        if hr.status / 100 == 3:
            url = hr.getheader('location')
            return url

op = OptionParser(
    usage='%prog [options] <key> <secret> <query>',
    description='''Emit an invocation of rtmpdump(1) that will fetch an FLV
file containing the audio to the first match of the given query to the Rdio
opts, args = op.parse_args()

if len(args) < 3:
    op.error('missing required arguments')

key = args[0]
secret = args[1]
query = ' '.join(args[2:])

# Figure out the URL for the Flash player that we're going to
# impersonate
flash_url = resolve_url(FLASH_PLAYER_URL)

# Create a REST API client
ra = Rdio(key, secret, {})

# Create an AMF API client
svc = RemotingService(AMF_ENDPOINT, referer=flash_url, amf_version=3)
svc.addHeader('Auth', chr(5))
rdio_svc = svc.getService('rdio')

# Search for the track to play
results = ra.search(query=query, types=','.join(['Track']),
if not results:
    fail('no results found')

# Get a playback token
token = ra.getPlaybackToken(domain='std.in')

# Get playback information
# The end of the 'surl' value initially points to a 0:30 sample. Replace it to
# get the full track.
pi = rdio_svc.getPlaybackInfo({
    'domain': 'std.in',
    'playbackToken': token,
    'manualPlay': False,
    'playerName': 'api_544189',
    'type': 'flash',
    'key': results[0]['key']})
if not pi:
    fail('failed to get playback info')

auth = pi['auth']
surl = pi['surl'].replace('30s-96', 'full-192')

# Use rtmpdump(1) and ffmpeg(1) to grab the FLV file and then transcode it into
# an MP3
print 'rtmpdump ' \
        '-p "http://blog.std.in/" ' \
        '--app "ondemand?%s" ' \
        '-r "rtmpe://%s/ondemand/mp3:%s" ' \
        '-W "%s" | ' \
    'ffmpeg ' \
        '-f flv ' \
        '-i - ' \
        '-f mp3 ' \
        'foo.mp3' % (

To use use, invoke it with your API key, API secret and the query you wish to use for searching for songs. It will perform the search and spit out shell commands for fetching and trans-coding the song.

I've wrapped this behavior up in a simple Python library and dumped it up on GitHub as pyrdiostream.