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Thread: HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

  1. #1
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    HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

    How amazon's system works

    Typically if you search for MP3 files on amazon, you'll get a list of matching tracks with "Buy MP3" buttons, and also possibly some albums with buttons that say "Buy MP3 Album." (See the first screenshot attachment below.) It doesn't matter whether you have 1-click ordering turned on or not; if you're logged in, clicking on the orange button immediately charges your credit card and starts downloading the music.

    Amazon used to have two separate mechanisms for downloading music. If you bought an individual track, your browser would simply download it as an MP3 file, whereas if you bought an entire album, it would download a small file in .amz format, which you then had to open with a special downloader application provided by amazon in order to get the actual MP3 tracks of the album. (See the second screenshot attachment below.) Recently (August 2008), however, amazon seems to have changed their system so that all downloads go through the .amz step, even if you're just buying an individual track. For Windows and Mac users, the advantage of the downloader application is supposed to be that it integrates with iTunes or Windows Media Player. It also handles things like resuming interrupted or failed downloads. There is a Linux version of the downloader, and this howto is about solving common problems with getting it to work.

    If you buy a track without having the downloader installed on your system, your browser will detect that, and will detect that you're running Linux, and it will offer you links to download various Linux versions of the software. Unfortunately the downloader isn't open-source, so you're limited to the binary versions that amazon provides, and it may be difficult to get these working if you're using a later version of Ubuntu than they anticipated, or if you're on a different architecture, such as a 64-bit machine.

    Clamz

    One way to bypass the problems with amazon's downloader is to use an alternative, open-source downloader written by Benjamin.Moody, called clamz: http://code.google.com/p/clamz/ It's a command-line program.

    To install clamz, click on the link to download clamz-0.1.tar.gz, save it into a directory where you want to work, open a terminal window, and cd into that directory. In the terminal window:

    The documentation for clamz says to install the necessary libraries like this:

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install libgcrypt11-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libexpat1-dev
    On my system, however, libcurl4-gnutls-dev didn't want to install, so I did this instead:

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install libgcrypt11-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libexpat1-dev
    Next you have to compile and install clamz:

    Code:
    tar -zxf clamz-0.1.tar.gz
    cd clamz-0.1
    ./configure && make
    sudo make install
    Now if you click to buy a song, your browser will offer you a download dialog. Save the .amz file to disk. Next, from the terminal use clamz to download the actual MP3(s):

    Code:
    clamz 01\ -\ Better\ Git\ It\ In\ Your\ Soul\ -\ Antibes\ 1960\ -\ Live.amz
    To avoid having to type the extremely long filename, you can just type the first few characters, then hit the tab key, and your shell should supply the rest of the filename.

    The amazon downloader -- 32-bit machines
    If you prefer to use the amazon downloader, here's how it's supposed to work. From the links supplied on the amazon page that came up after you bought your song, select the .deb file that most closely approximates the version of Ubuntu you're using. Open a terminal window, cd into the directory where you downloaded the .deb file, and do the following:

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install libboost-signals1.34.1 libboost-iostreams1.34.1
    sudo dpkg -i amazonmp3.deb
    amazonmp3
    The third line is to test whether the program will actually run. It should start up the downloader's GUI.

    Although you've installed the downloader, your browser won't automatically detect that fact. When you buy a song, you'll get a web page with an error saying that you need to install the downloader. Way down at the bottom of that page, however, you'll get a very small message saying, "If you have already installed the Amazon MP3 Downloader, click here to enable it for use with this browser." You have to click on that the first time in order to make downloads work. I've sometimes observed that the error message recurs even after you've gone through this step to configure your browser. I think this may be because it uses a cookie to remember the configuration, so if you clear your cookies, you have to do it again.

    For convenience, you'll probably want to configure your browser so that it automatically associates the filetype .amz with the amazon downloader. Here's how to do that in Firefox. When you buy your first song, you'll get a dialog box saying "You have chosen to open foo.amz ... What should Firefox do with this file?" Choose "Open with" "Other...", and in the dialog box that pops up, choose /usr/bin/amazonmp3. Then check the box that says "Do this automatically for files like this from now on." To change this file association later, go to Edit>Preferences>Applications>AmazonMP3 download queue.

    The amazon downloader -- 64-bit machines

    On a 64-bit machine, the method above may not work, because amazon only supplies the downloader as a 32-bit application, which needs 32-bit libraries. In this case, if you run the amazonmp3 program from a terminal window, you'll get an error message something like this:

    Code:
    amazonmp3: error while loading shared libraries: libgtkmm-2.4.so.1: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
    There is a script called getlibs that's designed to help you get around this problem: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=474790 The 32-bit instructions above have to be modified like this:

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install libboost-signals1.34.1 libboost-iostreams1.34.1
    sudo dpkg -i --force-all amazonmp3.deb
    which amazonmp3
    getlibs /usr/bin/amazonmp3
    apt-get install lib32nss-mdns
    amazonmp3
    The line to install lib32nss-mdns is necessary in order to get rid of a mysterious-seeming error. If you don't have this package installed, then every time you try to use the downloader you'll get messages saying "Can't connect. Please check your internet connection..."

    Other problems
    I've seen the following problem reported by other people, but haven't encountered it myself. It may be a bug that amazon has already fixed. The bug is that when you download a .amz file, your browser puts it in /tmp and makes it read-only. Then when the downloader app tries to open it, the first thing it does is try to delete it (so that it won't be left behind when the process is complete). This fails because the file is read-only, and the downloader then fails without any informative error message.

    Redoing a download after having a problem
    If you've had a problem with a download and want to retry it, you have a couple of options.

    One method is simply to start amazonmp3 again from the command line (rather than from your browser). It should retry any downloads that are still outstanding.

    If you prefer clamz, or can't get amazonmp3 to work, you can also go to the amazon web site, move your mouse over the down-arrow next to "Your lists" (don't click on the words "Your lists," which will do something different), then click on "Your media library." Hover your mouse over the down-arrow in the "Downloads" tab, and click on "Amazon MP3." If you click on the underlined link for a particular song or album, it will give you some information about the track, such as when you bought it, and whether you've already downloaded it. If you click on the Download button on the right, it should let you download it. (If it thinks you've already completed the download, it won't let you download it again.)

    Problems with albums that come with extra materials (liner notes, videos, etc.)
    When you buy one of these, it may say that you have to install the downloader. Clicking on the link saying you've already installed the downloader doesn't work. It can look as if your whole setup for buying music from Amazon is suddenly, mysteriously broken, but actually this is only because this particular album comes with extra materials. To get around this problem, you have to use one of the following two techniques to convince amazon that you have the right version of the downloader:
    (1) Go to amazon's home page and type this in the url bar: javascript:document.cookie='dmusic_download_manage r_enabled=1.0.9;expires=Fri, 21 Dec 2012 12:00:00 UTC; path=/; domain=.amazon.com'
    (2) Go to this url: http://www.amazon.com/gp/dmusic/afte...DVersion=1.0.9
    I have tested #1 and found that it worked. According to Benjamin Moody, the developer of clamz, #2 is the officially supported method. Note that in both cases there is a version number, 1.0.9. In the future when amazon raises the minimum version number, you'll have to bump this up.
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    Last edited by bcrowell; November 23rd, 2010 at 05:56 PM. Reason: info on "deluxe" albums

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

    Quote Originally Posted by bcrowell View Post
    The line to install lib32nss-mdns is necessary in order to get rid of a mysterious-seeming error. If you don't have this package installed, then every time you try to use the downloader you'll get messages saying "Can't connect. Please check your internet connection..."
    Thanks!! Just what I needed!

    'Fork

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

    Thanks. Amazon really needs to do something about their downloader. I sent them an email.
    Check out my San Diego Padres blog!

  4. #4
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    Re: HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

    agreed, amazon should sort this out.
    running 32-bit 8.10, i also had to install the following in addition to the instrucctions above

    sudo apt-get install libboost-thread1.34.1 libboost-date-time1.34.1 libboost-regex1.34.1 libboost-filesystem1.34.1

  5. #5
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    Re: HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

    Quote Originally Posted by oimon View Post
    agreed, amazon should sort this out.
    running 32-bit 8.10, i also had to install the following in addition to the instrucctions above

    sudo apt-get install libboost-thread1.34.1 libboost-date-time1.34.1 libboost-regex1.34.1 libboost-filesystem1.34.1
    Had to do this too on hardy. Way back on Feisty The Debian etch version worked for me. I should have tried that on Hardy first. I have another Hardy machine, maybe I will.
    Linux & MythTV 4 Life
    Running ubuntu on an Atom 330, Atom D525, Turion 64 X2 TL-56, X2 3800, X2 4200, X2 4600, E2180, Core i5 450M, and a Core i7-2600
    My Hardware

  6. #6
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    Re: HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

    Quote Originally Posted by oimon View Post
    agreed, amazon should sort this out.
    running 32-bit 8.10, i also had to install the following in addition to the instrucctions above

    sudo apt-get install libboost-thread1.34.1 libboost-date-time1.34.1 libboost-regex1.34.1 libboost-filesystem1.34.1
    THanks

  7. #7
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    Hardy Heron (Ubuntu Development)

    Re: HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

    Thank you! I had found the getlibs solution from another source, but they made no mention of the lib32nss-mdns package. Now all is working on 64bit Jaunty alpha5.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

    If anyone is interested in helping me out, I wrote an Amazon.com MP3 downloader in Python and any feedback would be appreciated. Thread here:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1085987

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    Re: HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

    Thanks. The Clamz package help got me over some hurdles on a 64bit 9.04

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: HOWTO: Buy MP3 music from Amazon.com.

    Me too..I always like to buy on amazon or ebay.

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