music

Downloading non-DRM Amazon MP3s on Linux using clamz

I recently wanted to buy some MP3 files from Amazon (a whole album in my case, but you can also just buy single MP3 files if you want). Digital music downloads from Amazon are often much cheaper than buying the physical CD (from Amazon), and you can also instantly get the stuff within seconds, without having to wait for the physical CD to be shipped to your place.

The good thing about Amazon's MP3 downloads is that the files are not infested with any DRM-crap (if that were the case I wouldn't spend a single penny on such useless junk, of course). This allows you to burn the MP3 files on CDs and/or play them on any device you like (MP3 player of choice, laptop, hifi-system, car, e-book reader with MP3 playback support, etc. etc).

Granted, you can not re-sell the digital files on eBay later, this is the one little drawback you have when compared to physical CDs, but I guess most people can usually live with that. Also, it would be great if Amazon would provide Ogg Vorbis files instead (or in addition to) MP3 files, of course.

Anyway, in order to download the MP3 files you buy from Amazon, they suggest to install the Amazon MP3 Downloader, which (surprisingly) is even available in a Mac and Linux version (only 32-bit though), but is (unsurprisingly) closed-source. This is no-go, of course, but luckily there is an alternative.

The clamz tool (GPL, version 3 or later) allows you to easily download single Amazon MP3 files, or whole albums. First, you need to login to your Amazon account and then visit a certain Amazon page (which sets a special "congratulations, the Amazon MP3 Downloader has been successfully installed" cookie in your browser). See the clamz website for the respective URL for your country. For Germany, use this URL.

The clamz installation is easy enough on Debian:

  $ apt-get install clamz

IMPORTANT: It seems you need at least version 0.5 for recent Amazon files as they apparently changed something, see #647043. Current Debian unstable as of today already has 0.5, though.

After that is done, the rest is easy: In Amazon, click on "Buy MP3" or "Buy MP3 album", which will download a special AmazonMP3-1234567890.amz file. You can then let clamz download all the MP3s by typing:

  $ clamz AmazonMP3-1234567890.amz

Wait a few minutes, and you'll have a bunch of non-DRM MP3 files in your current directory. Easy.

See the manpage for a bunch of options which let you configure clamz to your preferences.

256 Creative Commons Christmas Songs

Christmas Tree

Yes, it's that time of the year again... it's almost Christmas, which means that I once again updated my 10 + 100 Creative Commons Christmas Songs blog article I originally wrote in 2005. That's a collection of a lot of freely downloadable, Creative Commons licensed Christmas music.

Some of the older entries in the list are no longer available unfortunately, some only needed a URL update, and I also added more than 30 new songs this year.

This currently makes a total of 256 CC Christmas songs (more will probably be added over the next few days), so head over to the full song list and get those downloads started...

(Photo: Wikipedia. Author: Malene Thyssen. License: GFDL 1.2 / CC-BY-SA 2.5)

Nine Inch Nails album "The Slip" released under Creative Commons license

NiN

You might have already heard of it — the new Nine Inch Nails album "The Slip" has been released by them under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 US license. Yep, that's right, it's totally legal to download it from the web — and use it for any non-commercial purposes!

It's a bit annoying that they want your email address, though. Nothing that bugmenot.com (or similar) cannot fix, but still. Luckily, the files are now also available from archive.org! This, and the fact that the music is CC-licensed allowed me to "play" one of the songs in my Creative Commons music podcast (RSS), and more will likely follow.

Redirecting audio to a remote host using esddsp

There are situations where you might want to redirect some audio you're playing on your local computer to another computer's speakers, potentially in a different room, or even anywhere on the Internet.

One of many possibilities to do that is to use the Enlightened Sound Daemon (EsoundD, or esd). It ships with a program called esddsp (apt-get install esound-clients) which can redirect various audio sources.

First, you have to start the esd daemon on a console on the remote host (the one which should output the audio on some speaker, for example 192.168.0.xxx) e.g. like this:

  $ esd -public -nobeeps -tcp

You can do this as regular user (no need to be root) if you have the proper permissions. You also need to allow connections on port 16001 in your firewall settings. Then you can redirect audio to that daemon from another computer. In this example I'm redirecting some music using various players:

  $ esddsp -s 192.168.0.xxx:16001 mpg321 -o esd foo.mp3
  $ esddsp -s 192.168.0.xxx:16001 mplayer -ao esd foo.mp3
  $ esddsp -s 192.168.0.xxx:16001 ogg123 -d esd foo.ogg

This also works fine for videos, in which case you can redirect the audio (but not video):

  $ esddsp -s 192.168.0.xxx:16001 mplayer -ao esd foo.mp4

For the video player Miro, I've recently documented this in the Debian package's README.Debian file. Basically you have to edit ~/.xine/config and enable audio.driver:esd there, then start Miro with

  $ esddsp -s 192.168.0.xxx:16001 miro

Audio will be emitted on the remote host, video remains on your local PC.

Some programs may also support esd natively, in which case esddsp is not required, e.g.

  $ ogg123 -d esd -o host:192.168.0.14:16001 foo.ogg

Updated list of more than 230 Creative Commons licensed Christmas songs

Xmas gifts

Looking at my webserver logs, there seems to be a highly increased demand for my 10 + 100 Creative Commons Christmas Songs blog post from last Christmas... I wonder why... ;-)

So I decided to update the list this year, adding a bunch of additional songs; in total there are now more than 230 songs listed.

Of course the list is incomplete, so any further links to Creative Commons licensed Christmas music are very welcome. Just leave a comment here or directly on the old blog post and I'll update the list.

I'll probably also put up some more Christmas-related songs on my Creative Commons music podcast over the next few days...

Image credit: Photo taken from Wikipedia. Author: Kelvin Kay. License: GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), version 1.2.

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