DRM-Free Music – But Not On Linux Yet

Amazon have just launched Amazonmp3 – DRM-free music in 256kbps MP3 format. (Hopefully they’ll do a patent-free format too soon; there’s no reason why they can’t.) However:

We recommend installing the Amazon MP3 Downloader before your first purchase. It is required for album purchases, and makes downloading songs fast and easy.

Never mind, I can download the individual tracks instead. But what’s this? OK Computer – “Album Only”. So, no OK Computer for me yet. :-(

I wonder how long it’ll be before someone figures out what the Amazon MP3 Downloader does and implements the function for Linux? It can’t be all that complicated; it’s probably just an unzipper.

12 thoughts on “DRM-Free Music – But Not On Linux Yet

  1. Also, you have to give them your US-based billing address in order to download music and be in compliance with their terms of service… of course, you could always give them somebody else’s if you didn’t mind not being in compliance with their ToS.

  2. Baby-steps I guess. At least it’s better than Wal-Mart where they force you to have Windows even if you just want to buy an MP3 file. Now, if we could just get the other half (or 2/3) of the music available DRM-free. I still have a long list of things I’d like to get but can’t. I’m figuring the success or failure of DRM-free for what’s available now will determine whether other vendors make their music available that way.

  3. @ Screwtape

    The billing address is necessary so that they can bill your credit card. And if you already shopped there before then they already have that information.

  4. Not clear as to the problem? Running Ubuntu here, and yes,some bands are album only, many are not. Either way, you can download the music in Linux easily. When it is asking you to install the downloader, simply choose to skip this step during an actual purchase process – that it. Most people do not know this, but it is true, you can skip it with individual downloads, I suspect it is the same with the Albums as well.


  5. So can you buy music from the UK then?

    I’m confused.

    This actually looks more promising than bit torrent… I’m impressed. A fiver is OK for some good music (especially if I *ahem* share the cost with some friends ;-)

  6. Matt: Great – so it’s not actually required. What sort of file do you get when you buy the album? Do you have to do individual downloads? Or do you get a ZIP or something?

  7. So you can’t buy OK Computer MP3s through Amazon. However, you *can* go to http://www.radiohead.com and buy their new album in MP3 format for as low as 46p (1p for the album plus 45p processing fee). It’s a “set your own price” deal, so take the money you would have spent on OK Computer at Amazon and even if you decide not to be a total cheapskate you’ll still have lots of change left over.

  8. One other comment: You write “Amazon have just launched Amazonmp3 – DRM-free music in 256kbps MP3 format. (Hopefully they’ll do a patent-free format too soon; there’s no reason why they can’t.)”

    Uh, the store is called “Amazon MP3”, not “Amazon Ogg”. I agree that it would be great to have non-patent-encumbered formats, but like it or not MP3 is *the* standard format for DRM-free music and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future; it’s also of course universally supported by every music player from Apple or anyone else. Amazon is a mass-market retailer, and IMO the likelihood of them offering music in a “minority” format is close to zero. I think we’re just going to have to wait for the MP3 patents to expire (which according to Wikipedia could be as early as 2012 in the US).

  9. Frank: AllOfMP3 offered multiple formats, despite the name :-) There would definitely be a market for something lossless, and I doubt they’ll pick Apple Lossless. So FLAC might have a chance.