Amazon MP3 Downloader for Linux is here! - Adventures in Switching to Linux

Monday, March 3, 2008

Amazon MP3 Downloader for Linux is here!

A few months ago Amazon announced that they were working on a Linux version of their MP3 downloader. They already had a version for Windows and OS X. Well now it is ready for download. There are packages available for Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy, Debian 4 Etch, Fedora 8 and OpenSuSE 10.3.

The reason this release matters is because Amazon is selling 256 kbps DRM free MP3 tracks for the same price ($0.89 and $0.99 per track) as the DRM restricted files on iTunes. I've only downloaded the occasionall free track from iTunes. I have not bought anything from them specifically because of the DRM. The other reason this Linux downloader release matters is because Linux users never could buy from iTunes anyway. It is a double win. Linux users can now download DRM free music that they can use on any device (everyone and everything supports mp3).

So here is my brief experience with the Linux downloader. Installation was a breeze and making my first purchase was a pleasant experience.

I installed the amazonmp3.deb package in no time.
Dependencies were downloaded for me.

My first purchase was the new Nine Inch Nails album, Ghosts I-IV. I would have purchased it directly from NIN for the same price ($5) but I wanted to show my support for Amazon's Linux release in addition to NIN. Trent Reznor has really impressed me with his actions when it comes to digital music delivery.

My mp3s were saved in the default location ~/Music/Amazon MP3. That directory, of course, is configurable. My only problem with the download was there was no artwork included. Had I purchased it directly from NIN I would have also gotten a "PDF book covering the whole release" and a "digital extras pack with wallpapers, icons, and other graphics". Good thing I can still download that stuff for free from NIN. So Trent, don't use me as a statistic in your "Free Downloaders" because I paid for it, just not from you directly. If there wasn't a Linux downloader from Amazon I would have gotten it from your directly.

I just tried to download the free version (first 9 of 36 tracks + artwork/pdf) and it just stopped after about 9mb into the 82.5mb download. I wonder if they are getting slammed with traffic or if the flakiness of my Internet connection over the last few days is to blame. I will try it again later I guess. I want all those little extras!

One more thing about the download from NIN directly. You can also get lossless FLAC or lossless Apple versions from them too. How awesome is that? I am not enough of an audiophile to want a FLAC version but I can appreciate the availability of one.

This native Linux version sure beats the hacks and work arounds it took to buy music using the Windows version under Wine.

The Windows version under Wine is not so great

P.S. - Ghosts I-IV is good stuff. It is all insturmental and though I would enjoy some lyrics, this is a nice change and great music to work to.


mmboost said...

It would be wonderful news for the RedHat-ish community if Amazon did not make the downloader for Fedora8. Fedora8 is not production -- this is why you do not find the packages required by the downloader RPM (such as libcurl4) in current releases of RHEL or Centos, or any Fedora younger than 8. This was a bad, bad decision by Amazon. The Amazon MP3 Downloader is useless to the vast majority of the RedHat community.

And to think, I had been anticipating this software's release for months... only to find I'm not longer going to buy MP3 from Amazon.

Forrest said...

That is unfortunate that it wasn't built with the lowest possible system requirements so it could work on older and other releases.

Having too many different target systems is one of the great difficulties for proprietary software on Linux. There are, as I see it, 3 major Linux distributions and hundreds of smaller ones. That is a lot of systems for developers to target.

Tomy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.