Because Amazon.com sells music that is DRM-free, and because they offer such a large variety of music, it’s no wonder their music service appeals to so many.  Another thing that might draw people in is that their MP3 Downloader software is not only available for Windows users, but also for Mac and Linux users.  Often times companies who offer various types of electronic services do not offer a Linux version, which can be very frustrating.  The fact that Amazon.com has not forgotten about its Linux users makes me (and most likely others…) quite pleased.

However, at the time of this writing, their current Linux installers are for Ubuntu 9.04, Debian 5, Fedora 11, and OpenSuse 11.1.  For most, if not all of these Linux distributions, their current versions are beyond the version numbers listed above, and (although I can only speak for Ubuntu and Debian at this time) when you go to install the Amazon.com MP3 Downloader software that is associated with your Linux distro, you are likely to run into dependency issues, assuming that your Linux distribution is newer than the version numbers listed above.

In the case of both Ubuntu 10.04 and the current Debian “Squeeze”, when installing the Amazon software, instead of using current libraries for libboost v.1.40.0, dependency issues were flagged as errors, and libboost v.1.34.1 library files needed to be installed.  It turns out that there are seven of them.

Download the dependencies

Although the 7 dependencies that I have herded together came from the packages.ubuntu.com/karmic/ website, I tested them successfully on both Ubuntu 10.04 and Debian Squeeze.  Download the dependencies here. Please note that all of these dependencies are for x86 systems.  Incidentally, Amazon.com’s MP3 Downloader software is only packaged for 32 bit systems at this time.

Installation Procedure

Open a terminal session, navigate to the tarball  that you downloaded from the link above, and unpack the file:

$ tar -xvzf AmazonMP3-InstallerForUbuntuNewerThan-9.04.tar.gz

Using your file manager, open up the new directory called AmazonMP3-InstallerForUbuntuNewerThan-9.04.  Inside, you will find a README.txt file that contains a bit of helpful information.  I would imagine that there is a way that all of these .deb files could be packaged into one installable .deb file (so that you would not have to walk through seven different installations), but I’m not quite sure how that works yet (although I’d love to learn).  If anyone has any advice on this, please feel free to contact me or post in the comments for everyone’s benefit.

The .deb files are listed in order, starting with #01 and ending with #07.  Right click on the first one in the list, select “Open with GDebi Package Installer” and walk through the installation process.  Repeat this process until you’ve installed all seven of the dependencies.

Download / Install Amazon MP3 Downloader

To install the Amazon.com MP3 Downloader software, go to the link below and download either the Ubuntu or Debian versions, depending on which system you are running.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/dmusic/help/amd.html/ref=sv_dmusic_5
Save the file to your hard drive (perhaps in the same location where all of the .deb files are that you have just installed…).  Then navigate to this file and install it using the GDebi installation procedure described in the paragraph above.

How to Use the MP3 Downloader Software

To use the MP3 Downloader software, navigate to Amazon.com’s website, login to your Amazon account, locate digital music that you wish to download, then select either the “Buy MP3″ button to download one song, or the “Buy MP3 album with 1-Click” button to download the album.

Assuming that your credit card information is already stored in your personal Amazon account, you’ll be able to walk through this procedure fairly easily.  Once you have clicked one of the Buy buttons, you will be given a chance to either cancel or proceed with the purchase.

Click Cancel to cancel the purchase, or to continue, click the Continue button.  Assuming that you continue with the purchase, you will will be prompted to either download or open the .amz file.  Select Open With Amazon MP3 Downloader.

Your Amazon MP3 Downloader should then open up and display the download progress.

Once the download has completed, you will be notified.  Notice in the above screenshot image that there is a button to “View Download Directory”.  In Ubuntu 10.04, his will take you to your ~/Music/Amazon MP3 directory.  In the latest CrunchBang Statler10 Alpha2 version (Debian Squeeze with Openbox), your files will be stored under ~/Amazon MP3.

Here’s the screenshot from CrunchBang Statler10 Alpha2:

In Conclusion

As an individual who likes to support local businesses as much as possible, my intent in this article is not to endorse a monster media conglomerate such as Amazon.com, but when it comes to downloading DRM-free music from a Linux-friendly source that offers a wide selection of music that I like, I’ve been highly pleased with Amazon’s MP3 Downloader service.

Hopefully, Amazon.com will soon come out with newer versions of the MP3 Downloader software for Linux (so that we don’t have to jump through all of the hoops listed above…), and hopefully they will also continue to link to old versions of the software for those who choose to run older Linux distributions.