Last night I wanted to buy an album on Amazon and I couldn't do the checkout as the site required me to install the Amazon MP3 Downloader to make the purchase and download of the album. The downloader is not needed for a single song though, but buying each song separately would be more expensive and more work. The good news is that it automatically offered me packages for different Linux distros: Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and OpenSUSE instead of telling me off for using Linux and leaving me behind with a Windows only download. But here comes the catch, all offered packages are only for the Intel 32-bit architecture.

Now this is a showstopper for me, as I am running an AMD64 Debian which is a 64-bit architecture. I first tried to download and run the 32-bit debian package nonetheless as there was some hope with the ia32-libs and ia32-libs-gtk package. But this was not working as the application needs gtkmm libraries like libglademm and bailed when I tried to run it. So I filed a wishlist bug report against ia32-libs-gtk for inclusion of gtkmm and possibly other needed libraries to run the Amazon MP3 downloader on AMD64.

So I bought the album using MusicLoad instead which simply puts all songs in a single archive on-the-fly and let me download that archive.

When I tweeted my frustration on Twitter I was hinted by Jo Shields and also by Gabriel Burt that there would have been a much simpler solution to this issue by using Banshee which includes an Amazon MP3 Store plugin:

Banshee screenshot showing the Amazon MP3 Store plugin

This plugin allows you to log into your Amazon account browse their store like the regular Amazon store, plays the song samples directly, purchase songs, downloads the songs and imports them into Banshee's database so you can play them right away. And as if this wasn't good enough yet, with the the purchase of MP3 songs on Amazon using Banshee automatically makes a donation to the GNOME foundation.

As I am the only one who forgot or wasn't aware of this awesome solution this deserved some blogging.

Update: some people pointed out that clamz is also available to make MP3 purchases on Amazon.

You might also try clamz, also available as a Debian package.
Comment by josh Mon Apr 25 10:40:32 2011
And just in case you're curious, those .AMZ files are just XML documents single-DES-CBC encrypted with a fixed key and IV hardcoded into the downloader binary. It's trivially reverse-engineered, which was probably deliberate on the part of the engineer who wrote it after being told to encrypt the silly thing in the first place.
Comment by Anonymous Mon Apr 25 11:06:23 2011
You could also complain to Amazon themselves, asking them to provide a direct download options. If they reply that they need a specific software to allow downloading several files, give them a copy of the manpage of zip(1).
Comment by Anonymous Mon Apr 25 12:05:46 2011
I have started using clamz on 64 bit Kubuntu (where I don't want Banshee). Clamz works very nicely. I like it better than the Amazon downloader as it lets me download the music where I want it not where the downloader is configured to put it (which I regularly forget).
Comment by JW Mon Apr 25 13:33:46 2011
Isn't muliarch here now? Probably not worth expanding the scope of the ia32-libs hack packages.
Comment by Jon Mon Apr 25 19:43:25 2011
That was the first thing I checked on #debian-devel. APT and dpkg are both multi-arch capable but the archive lacks multi-arch enabled packages, not even the libc6 package has the needed fields yet.
Comment by meebey Tue Apr 26 00:12:39 2011
I had the same problem... found clamz and never looked back...
Comment by Dustin Tue Apr 26 01:54:53 2011
I tried purchasing an album using the amazon online store via banshee. Was told I couldn't because I live in Canada. Tried from artists website, and several other stores. Evetually got fed up and got it from Sweden.
Comment by anonymous Tue Apr 26 18:28:03 2011
WOOT yep that plugin rocks, thank goodness I intend to stay 64bit ubunti.
Comment by Bill Mclean Wed Jul 27 10:17:24 2011
Wow! That was easy! Installed from Ubuntu Software Center, clicked on link for US on Clamz homepage (, clicked on the download button from Amazon page that appeared, and was prompted to open with clamz, and command prompt opened and automatically downloaded the entire album!!! Done!
Comment by Paul Fri Dec 23 23:50:48 2011