Plex/Seven: Background Music and TV Themes - Plex Blog

Plex/Seven: Background Music and TV Themes

| 14 Nov 2008 | by 32 Comments

These new features, cleverly conjured up by James, add some welcome pizzazz to the Plex experience.

The first allows you to put some tracks into ~/Library/Application Support/Plex/Background Music/Main/ which are played while you are browsing around Plex. It’s a great way to personalize the media center to your taste. Personally, I think I’ll put some Zero 7 in there, or maybe some School of Seven Bells (great album, by the way). You can use MP3 files, or even DRM iTunes AAC tracks. Please feel free to leave a comment telling us what tracks you think would make great background music as I’m curious to hear your picks.

I really love this next feature. When I first showed Anna, she said “That’s f—ing cool”, and she’s not prone to swearing. Essentially, we’ve compiled (thanks to James and many contributors on the forums) a collection of high quality TV theme music samples (30 seconds or less, for reasons of copyright) and stored them on the Plex servers. When you scrape your TV shows, besides downloading metadata, Plex queries our server and if available, will download the theme music. The next time you browse into a TV show, the theme music will play. It’s really hard to explain how cool this is until you see and hear it. Once you browse into Lost, for example, and the ethereal theme for the show starts playing, you’ll see how the music coupled with the fan art really provides a more complete experience for the senses.

If you’d like to contribute to the growing collection of theme music, send the files (MP3, preferably, limited to 30 seconds, no need to fade in or out as that’s done in the code) to Please include the TVDB ID for the show.

Someone in the last post commented on how Barkley looked a little too clean cut, so I’ll post this photo for comparison. That’s him opening up a can of tennis ball whoop-ass on his friend Manu. I think he gets NBC with his ears pointed like that.

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32 Comments so far

  1. Keane16 November 14th, 2008 5:30 am

    Looking forward to trying out the TV Show theme tunes.

    Will also be nice to have some relaxing music playing when browsing the menus. Will this background music have a seperate volume setting?

    As i’d only want it playing fairly quietly. Would be a shame having to turn the volume down to browse the menus and up again for content.


  2. Mooky November 14th, 2008 5:38 am

    Badass features and a badass picture of Barkley! What more could we want? ;)

  3. me2621a November 14th, 2008 5:41 am

    this is greate im very excited.
    any chance this will be able to play back DTS wave files as background music?

  4. mark November 14th, 2008 5:41 am

    So awesome and creative. Great job!

  5. tanousjm November 14th, 2008 5:53 am

    Wow, this is fantastic! Every day I’m more and more amazed by the quality work you’re doing. I’d love to contribute to helping with TV show themes but do you have a list of the shows for which you already have themes so that we don’t send you files you don’t need?

  6. Lee November 14th, 2008 5:57 am

    Great features but is the swearing really necessary? Like me, my 12 year old son subscribes to the Plex RSS feed and looks forward to reading about new features and upcoming releases. I know that this one will catch his attention for all the wrong reasons.

    I find it very hypocritical that on the one hand you are trying to present a very professional project, with marketing people on board etc, and then you go swearing and talking about being drunk all the time. Hmmmm…

  7. Matthew Rogers November 14th, 2008 5:58 am

    That sounds really cool! Can’t wait for the next release.

  8. Lee November 14th, 2008 6:12 am

    Both my son and I appreciate what you do and know that you do it out of your love of coding and desire for the best software, I gave 2 years of my time to MediaPortal so understand this all too well.

  9. EdBanger November 14th, 2008 6:20 am

    Oh my god, how cool is that theme music function! I would have never thought of that, but now I’ll probably spend quite some time sending in the tunes from all my tv series that aren’t on the server when the new version goes public.

  10. opet November 14th, 2008 6:28 am

    What? He looks even more clean cut with that tennis ball smile on his face…

    This is indeed a really cool feature. As for theme music, I quite often end up listening to soundtracks from movies. Mainly the instrumental background tracks. One of my favourites are The Cooler soundtrack. Some great instrumentals to really set the mood.

    Btw, is it possible to add a bunch of tunes and have Plex shuffle them?

    Plex/Seven just sounds better and better…

  11. rickler November 14th, 2008 7:49 am

    This is fantastic. When I heard about this on the forums I jumping around like a loony.

    2 themes edited and sent already!!

  12. snowcrash November 14th, 2008 7:55 am

    Great stuff! Looking forward to the release! (When will that be again?)
    I was wondering if~/Library/Application Support/Plex/Background Music/Main/ can be an alias to my iTunes-music folder, and if the tracks are played at random…

  13. superJ November 14th, 2008 8:23 am

    Hey, that sounds supercool!!! Would be great, if you could play also an playlist, if you start Plex (like with the skin of Mayham III). Will this be possible? this would really make my day (because I really miss this feature with the new skin)!

    But, whatever, I am coming here everyday to look for new announcements, like a junkie for his dealer. And I am soooo waiting for Plex 7. You are so great guys, keep up the great work!!!!


  14. Novco November 14th, 2008 8:36 am

    Wow, that does sound very cool.

    I thought Plex was good, but this will be such a great thing to show mates! They might even shove bill out the window!


  15. pletopia November 14th, 2008 8:56 am

    <– awaiting anxiously the new 7 series

  16. adam November 14th, 2008 8:59 am

    Bravo… these are two great user interface improvements. I think a mellow calm instrumental music would be good for the background. Maybe have genres to pick from and then have a handful of those tracks to randomly play when navigating. I think that would be a good idea…

  17. Hans November 14th, 2008 9:32 am

    These new features sound really cool, can’t wait to check them out myself!

  18. Photek November 14th, 2008 9:49 am

    Sounds very slick, I really like all the “polishing” you’re implementing now. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  19. Mickey November 14th, 2008 10:20 am

    Awesome feature! I enjoy Plex more and more every day I use it !!

    Thanks guys!

  20. elan November 14th, 2008 10:28 am

    @me2621a: No DTS files yet, sorry.

    @Lee: I’m sorry the language offended. At the end of the day this is a developer’s blog, and developers are known for being occasionally profane.

    @opet: I love The Mission soundtrack myself.

    @snowcrash: The release will be this Sunday (probably very late HST)

  21. aleph November 14th, 2008 4:49 pm

    TV themes are an excellent idea.

    Where are these tracks stored? Hopefully they are just a media file in the TV show folder so we can add our own.

    Like opet I already have many sound tracks for shows/movies in my iTunes library and I would love to put them to good use.

  22. elan November 14th, 2008 5:00 pm

    @aleph: The tracks are stored by TVDB ID (e.g. 12123.mp3) in the Plex Application Support folder, so you can customize to your heart’s content.

  23. jayman978 November 14th, 2008 9:14 pm

    We have posted additional information about TV Themes in the documentation:

    Additional information about Background Music can be found here:

  24. rickler November 15th, 2008 6:46 am

    Will any user stored themes be overwritten by themes downloaded when scraping?

  25. jayman978 November 15th, 2008 5:40 pm

    @rickler: Nope

    Sorry Elan, couldn’t resist :)

  26. zAo November 16th, 2008 2:01 am

    Wow, haven’t been here for a while.

    This is great Elan & Team! Wow!

    How can I give this Plex/Seven a ride?

  27. Niels November 16th, 2008 8:13 am

    I’m for sure even Steve Jobs will sell his Apple TV and get a new Mac mini because Plex…

    Great work guys, i’m amazed…

  28. Erlangga Djojosaputro October 4th, 2009 8:31 pm

    Fantastic work! i try helping with some japanese TV shows theme.
    already sent couple of them.

  29. stoo June 2nd, 2010 4:33 am

    Moby – ‘inside’ from the play album. great menu tune :)

  30. background_music October 11th, 2010 5:08 am

    Interesting post. Thanks to share Elan.
    What is great is that it play MP3 files as well as AAC tracks and DRM iTunes

  31. ZeroQI August 21st, 2013 1:28 am

    Great feature :D
    According the wiki page [] File name must be TV Show Name – TVDBID.mp3

    I am maintaining Hama, a HTTP Anidb metadata plugin, which uses a anitb to tvdb mapping file, so i have a direct value for the TVDB id but the used it AniDB’s one…

    The TVDB agent does not list any code regarding the Themes songs, so i believe in hardware, plex does use teh to match the theme song. how can i tap into the song list? i am missing the THEMES_URL value in te code below…

    metadata.themes[THEMES_URL % tvdbid] = Proxy.Media(THEMES_URL % tvdbid)

  32. ZeroQI August 21st, 2013 2:04 am

    There is a PlexThemeMusic metadata agent here:
    That should solve it :D

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