Review: Amazon MP3 Downloader for Linux

When I heard that Amazon finally released the Linux version of their MP3 Downloader, it was an epiphany: I don’t have to make a trip to the overpriced record store ever again.

I headed over to Amazon.com last night, and after a few minutes of surfing around the available albums, I found something that I really wanted: Alive 2007 by Daft Punk for $8.99.

And I’ve been on a “support companies that support Linux” kick lately, so why not? The release of the Amazon MP3 Downloader for Linux has the interesting side-effect of allowing you to purchase full albums instead of just singles – for this particular album it saved me $4.68 – nice!

The program works as advertised. When you complete a purchase, an AMZ file is downloaded to your computer, and you’re prompted automatically to open it using the MP3 Downloader program. The downloader does it’s dirty work very quickly and efficiently. The ~165MB download for Alive 2007 took a grand total of about 3 minutes to finish – approximately ~1MB/sec transfer speed – very impressive! The GUI couldn’t be more simple, since all it does is download MP3 files. There are some preferences to set, such as where to save the music files, and a button to return to the MP3 store.

The MP3s were in 256kbps bitrate, and played flawlessly as expected in MP3 players on my computer, in my car stereo that has MP3 support, as well as on my iPhone.

For those of you looking for an alternative for the iTunes Music Store and the DRM files that don’t quite work in Linux, Amazon MP3 Downloads and the Linux client are a terrific substitution.

Here’s my first 100% legal music CD burned in Linux!
Amazon.com MP3 Downloader for Linux Legal CD

Screenshots:
Amazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for Linux

Amazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for Linux

Amazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for Linux

Amazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for Linux

Amazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for Linux

Amazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for Linux

Amazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for LinuxAmazon.com MP3 Downloader for Linux

The end result, ready to go anywhere, DRM free:

Amazon.com MP3 Downloader for Linux

  • Kris

    Yeah, it kicks ass. As it should — the company runs on Linux (including workstations, I hear). Between Amazon and emusic.com, my music needs are covered — DRM-free.

  • AdamB

    Impressive, and a step in the right direction, but not open source or patent-free ;)

  • Adam

    And of coursem it doesn’t work for us 64-bit users. :(

    *sigh*

  • AdamB

    Hey, Adam, can’t you just get some 32-bit libraries? Aren’t the linux32 and ia32 packages meant for running 32-bit apps in a 64-bit OS?

  • Adam

    I tried it that way once and ended up paying $8 for a useless .amz file. I didn’t follow a tutorial though, just kind of went out on a limb. If you know someone who’s got it working, let me know.

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    Adam: If you like I try running it on a 64-bit OS to check it out tonight to see if it works properly.

    Sounds like it might be the same sort of problem with the lack of a 64-bit Flash player.

  • Adam

    Nah, I have Flash workin fine in my 32-version of Firefox. I don’t know what’s up with this Amazon thing…

  • Daniel Gomes

    I would never pay for MP3 files. MP3 is a lossy format and you can get better sound from a CD, even if it costs more.

    Trent Reznor has the right idea an offers his latest album in FLAC (lossless), among other file formats, for 5 USD. http://ghosts.nin.com/main/order_options

    I’ll be buying it soon. And if I ever need a MP3 file for a portable player, I can always convert the higher quality file to MP3.

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    Adam: Try this out, might fix it.

    Daniel: 256kbs: The sound is indiscernible from the original. It is impossible to make the difference with the original recording. Visit the link, and you’ll see that simply judging from his equipment, he is a serious audiophile testing with high end equipment.

  • Adam

    No dice, I ran the .deb through getlibs and it appeared to install some libraries, but then when I went to install the actual .deb from Amazon, I just got “Wrong architecture” as always….

    Oh well, there’s always…. other means. ;-)

  • Isaac

    This looks really cool. I first heard of this on Digg. Unfortunately, I’m still on Feisty and there aren’t any packages for the good ol’ fawn. Is there any way to get this running Feisty?

  • http://www.cad.cx Colin Dean

    I’m still quite skeptical of the service. I liked Michael Robertson’s CD Anywhere service because the a buyer paid essentially the Amazon price for a hard copy of the CD and was able to download it immediately, receiving the hard copy in the mail in a few days.

    What happens if your hard drive dies and all of the music is erased? Will Amazon allow you to redownload all of it? Or are you responsible for backing it up? I’ve heard that ITMS allows this, but I’m not sure.

  • http://www.harck.be Harck

    This is indeed really nice. At last some people realize that DRM s*cks and that Linux rules!

    Unfortunately, this is restricted to US residents for the time being… But apparently they don’t make a check based on the IP location… I may try to download some to see and give you some feedback.

    @Colin: if your CD collection burns, will your Music shop give you free copies of all your burned CD’s?

  • Isaac

    An update on my Feisty situation! Apparently, accordingly to some users on the Ubuntu Forums, if you’re still on feisty and want to use this, just download and install the Debian Etch package. I tried it and it installed beautifully. I have not tried making a purchase as of yet though.

  • http://www.cad.cx Colin Dean

    @Harck: This is true. However, redownloading is an advantage of digital purchases. If my whole house burns, and I’ve lost everything I own, I can go back to Amazon and say, “Hey, I lost everything in a fire, but I bought music through you. May I redownload it?” I would hope that they would say yes. I wouldn’t expect anyone to provide me with a new physical copy because that’s far, far more costly than redownloading by several dollars.

    I think it’s a matter of compassion and reasonability. Hell, if Amazon charged a dollar for redownloading an album, it’d probably be worth it. It’s a deterrent to keep people from downloading onto multiple computers while still allowing them to do so, and Amazon doesn’t lose money to 200 to 400 MB of bandwidth when a user does so.

  • Vadim P.

    I’m hoping they make a 64bit .deb.

  • PredatoryFern

    I really hope Amazon starts putting out lossless files. Yeah, there’s no audible difference, but I like converting my files back and forth and archiving them.

    I’m tempted to but NIN’s new release on principle, but I don’t really like their music.

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    NIN on principle is what I had planned to buy, but I found something I liked. :)

  • PredatoryFern

    Glad that Amazon has a good Linux music product. I may have to test it with .com/.ca versions. I know there shouldn’t be but I can’t find a lot of the items I look for on amazon.ca that I can on the .com one. It’s really annoying.

  • Anthony

    Well, the downloader seemed to work great on my Gusty install but I did have an audio issue with one of the tracks of the album I got. Several loud audio pops in the track. It’s a fairly old album and who knows I was likely the first person to ever download that track or something. Anyway, I emailed tech support and they let me download the track again, same issue. File was exactly the same md5sum as the first so it is likely a bad file on the other side. So I let them know again and they gave me a $1.99 credit and said they told technicians about the issue and I could download the song in a few days again and see if it was fixed. Now, the solution I would have liked is re-enable the download of the song for me AND give me some credit. It seems rather silly to give me credit to spend on downloading the track I payed for already. I’m going to reply to them with that idea and see if they go for it.

    If you want to see what the mp3 file looks like loaded into audacity then here’s the shot:

    http://img235.imageshack.us/img235/6020/stelladelmattinobq0.png

  • Andrew

    Linux users in the UK can download MP3s from play.com with no need for a specialist client. I fail to see why one is needed.

  • peef

    64 bit users – work around

    This is a bit ghetto but I run the windows version via wine to download albums. The GUI will crash if you try to use it but just passing in the location of the amz file (command line) will do the download. You can check the progress by mousing over the system tray thang.

    Also, before doing this save a copy of the amz file since the downloader deletes it. And yes, you can use the amz file multiple times to download the mp3s.