Amazon MP3 on Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit

I recently reinstalled Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) on both my desktop and laptop. When I went to buy an album on Amazon MP3, I remembered that Amazon only offers a 32-bit version of their MP3 downloader. Unfortunately, there’s not a very intuitive way to install the Amazon downloader on a 64-bit system, and you need it to have this application installed in order to buy more than a single MP3 from Amazon. If you want, you can try out the command-line tool Clamz. Otherwise, I’ll walk you through the moderately painful steps to installing the real program on your 64-bit version of Ubuntu. Note that this guide pertains to the Amazon MP3 downloader version for Ubuntu 9.04. I’m installing it on Ubuntu 9.10 (although this should work for any version of Ubuntu 9.04 and above). Adapted from Cappy.

  1. Save the 32-bit AmazonMP3 installer for Ubuntu 9.04 to your computer (Don’t attempt to ‘Open’ it). By default on Ubuntu 9.10, it’s saved in your Downloads folder. I will assume that’s where the file is from now on.
  2. Install getlibs. (You can just ‘Open’ this one. If that link doesn’t work, look here.)
  3. Open Terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal) and run the following (one bullet point at a time, pressing Enter after each blurb of code) [Tip: press Ctrl+Shift+V to paste in Terminal]:
    • sudo apt-get install libboost-signals1.34.1 libboost-date-time1.34.1 libglademm-2.4-1c2a libboost-iostreams1.34.1 libboost-thread1.34.1 libboost-regex1.34.1 libboost-filesystem1.34.1
    • [Type your password and hit enter when prompted]
    • sudo dpkg --force-architecture -i ~/Downloads/amazonmp3.deb
    • getlibs /usr/bin/amazonmp3
    • [Press 'y' and hit enter when prompted by getlibs]

  4. Close the terminal when it’s finished.
  5. Open AmazonMP3 via Applications -> Internet -> Amazon MP3 Downloader. This should open the program and the Amazon MP3 website in Firefox. Follow the directions on Amazon.com to finish the installation and download your free song.

Too bad Amazon won’t release a 64-bit version of their program or open source it. These hoops are a huge pain to jump through, and it makes our system appear overly complex to new users. If I’ve made this guide more complicated than it needs to be, feel free to let me know.

Copyright and the Internet: A Personal Example

I don’t normally watch SNL. Occasionally, Sadie and I will flip it on randomly and watch a skit, but I can’t tell you the last time I watched all (or even most) of an episode. I follow @davidsiegel (a software developer) on Twitter, and he tweeted a link to a YouTube video of a recent SNL musical performance by a group I’d never heard of called Fleet Foxes. I liked the song (Mykonos) so much that I had to hear more by them. I checked out Sadie’s cousin Chris’ blog, Flickin’ Spit, for a review, and he listed the newest Fleet Foxes album as one of the Top 50 Albums of 2008. So, I decided to buy the album from Amazon MP3. I went back to the video a few days later to find that it had been removed from YouTube per NBC’s request due to a violation of their copyright.

Without that video, I wouldn’t even know who Fleet Foxes were. I liked their performance so much that I bought one of their albums. You would think this is the point of NBC inviting them onto the show. But now I can’t share the same performance with others so that they might also buy the album. The performance is not available on Hulu or the NBC website. Whose copyright is NBC protecting here? Is it “for the artists’ own good” that the clip has been removed? Obviously not. Who exactly was it hurting to have that clip on YouTube? The answer is exactly no one. This is a perfect example of good advertisement, both for SNL picking a good artist and the artists themselves, squandered by malicious use of copyright power. Gimme a friggin’ break NBC. The online world would be a better place if companies started to see the importance of adopting a pragmatic approach to copyright enforcement.

EDIT: For those wanting to hear the song, you can hear the album version on YouTube.

Amazon MP3 now officially for Linux

I just saw that Amazon MP3 now officially supports Linux. Packages are available for the latest versions of Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and openSUSE. Sweet! Even though it’s not an ideal free software solution, it’s still exciting to see a service selling DRM-free music to the free software community. Seems like a step in the right direction. I submitted a brainstorm idea about it:


Update: No 64-bit client available (yet?). 🙁