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caboog 08-05-2012 10:20 PM

Amazon MP3 no longer allowing Linux to download .azw files
Hi all, sorry if this has already been posted, but it has me a bit miffed

Just ran in to this tonight. It seems that Amazon is no longer allowing linux users to download the .azw file to download an entire album when purchased. It was one thing when the download manager linux client was 3 years old and never updated. Using Banshee, and then switching to Pymazon, made it a non-issue for me, jsut open the file they give you and then the whole selection gets qued for downloading. Today, I find that this no longer works, as amazon will not allow linux clients to obtain the .azw file. The new option is "Download songs one at a time through the cloud player."

I saw a few people on the Pymazon site hmention it as well, it seems this change happened on or around July 31. Anybody have any way around this? I've tried changing my user agent for the browser, and the wine version of IE, but no joy. It's frustrating, because I had come to think of Amazon as being at least open to the idea that money from Linux users is actually real money, but I guess I was wrong. In retrospect, I guess the lack of an update to the client software should have been a big red flag, but the community provided options that were pretty straightforward, and I didn't think amazon would go out of their way to make it annoying for linux users to spend money on their site.

So, where does everybody like to get music from? :)


xeleema 08-06-2012 01:46 AM


This is why I have a Windows guest loaded in VirtualBox. :)
As for where I get my music, I stream from GrooveShark (no ads last I checked. Suck it, Pandora).
I've actually used GrooveShark for years, loved it so much I *actually* opened my wallet and paid the 30-something for a year's subscription.

(Only reason I mention that I paid for it, is because I now have the Android app that can 'offline play' songs.)

caboog 08-06-2012 01:52 PM

Hi xeleema,

Thanks for the tip on GrooveShark, I'll be giving that a whirl shortly! I guess it's not the worst thing in the world to have to boot in to Windows for this, it's just a bit frustrating to have the ability to do something then lose it all together. I do keep a Windows partition for gaming, so worst case, I can just fire it up and download anything I bought. I hope they change this soon, as I like using Amazon for the DRM-free tracks. Looks like I'll be streaming music until somebody else figures this out.


crxssi 12-27-2012 10:08 AM

It is worse than just no more azw files....It used to be that one could purchase mp3 files from Amazon and download the songs or album through the browser in high-quality.

However, this appears to have changed. Now it will shove the music into what Amazon calls their "Amazon Cloud Player" and the user has two options for downloading. One option requires a proprietary MS-Windows/MacOS-only program, which of course is not an option for Linux/Unix users. The other is to use a browser-based player-downloader...

When downloaded through the browser, it gives no options at all about quality and will offer only a lower 128kbps version. I chatted with their support for 20 minutes and they seem to indicate that is how it works. This limitation is not even documented anywhere in their help system.

So if one can't run the proprietary "Amazon Downloader" (or simply chooses not to) he/she is stuck with only lower-quality audio. This is totally unacceptable. It is a regression from previous behavior, now making it impossible for Linux users to obtain quality music. I sent them feedback that some people will *NEVER* purchase music from Amazon with this glaring limitation in place.

I told them I would make sure to share this unnecessary discrimination against Linux users with my user's group and forums. If this new limitation annoys you, too, I suggest you go here: and offer Amazon your thoughts on the matter.

DavidMcCann 12-27-2012 12:22 PM

I doubt that Amazon will care. Once upon a time, people entering retailing were told "The customer is always right, even when they're wrong." The motto in firms like Amazon is "If the customer doesn't like it, there are plenty more where they came from."

crxssi 12-27-2012 01:15 PM


Originally Posted by DavidMcCann (Post 4857836)
I doubt that Amazon will care. Once upon a time, people entering retailing were told "The customer is always right, even when they're wrong." The motto in firms like Amazon is "If the customer doesn't like it, there are plenty more where they came from."

Well, it is our duty as minority consumers to complain to them and let them know things are not "OK". They might not care, or they might; but with no feedback, they will never know either way. We won't know until we try. I have been pleasantly surprised sometimes.

It only takes a moment... and I will spend that moment to give both positive and negative feedback to companies.

crxssi 12-31-2012 05:59 PM

Seems I underestimated how bad it really is now. I decided to try their "downloader" in VirtualBox. Guess what? There are no options for bitrate there, either. All you are allowed to download is 128kb/s from ANYWHERE on Amazon that I can find, regardless of method. I can't believe they are getting away with this. I know most consumers are clueless, but this is just wild. At least this means they are not discriminating against Linux users, for what little consolation that might be.

sundialsvcs 01-03-2013 09:57 AM

That's why this old phart still purchases music files on little plastic disks ... some of them, now, custom printed-on-demand. It's important to me that the material be available to me in a durable medium. I still own the first CD that I ever bought (and every bit of vinyl), and it still plays just as well. I briefly experimented with online music (iTunes), found that the quality was noticeably thinner when listened-to in "pots," and almost lost a substantial amount of music to a hard-drive problem ... and would have, had a timely backup of that data not existed. That was a "shot across the bow" to me and I'll never forget it.

I hope that what (I think ...) Neil Young has been trying to "push" with regard to high-resolution, DRM-free music files will one day come to fruition. We have the bandwidth now, and audiophiles such as myself have always existed. (The files I'm talking about in this case are at the native resolution used by a studio digital recorder and mixing platform.)

John VV 01-03-2013 11:16 AM

"I still own the first CD that I ever bought"
"and every bit of vinyl"

same here
i still use my LP's ( though i do need to find some new needles)
And still have a few good sounding victrola HARD plastic "bake-light" for the wind up Phonograph

I user to rip a tape of the lp's , now burn a cd

mp3's are good on a cheep set of headphones on a ity bity tinny mp3 player while outside

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