Posted by: reformedmusings | September 6, 2010

Ubuntu One Music Store in the wild

I’ve been meaning to get to the Ubuntu One music store for quite a while, but hadn’t had time until today. The Ubuntu One music store has a huge variety of music available, and all of it DRM-free. Music format is MP3, and mostly at an excellent 320 kbps. It’s ready to downloaded or synced to a local computer or mobile device. Sounds almost too good to be true. But it isn’t!

First, I had to learn how to get into it. That requires an Ubuntu One account. If you have a Launchpad account, you already have an Ubuntu One account. If not, click on System -> Preferences -> Ubuntu One. It should come up and ask you to either log in or create an account. If not, try going to https://one.ubuntu.com/ and create one that way.

The music store only works through Rhythmbox (the default Gnome music player) or Banshee, the later with a downloadable plugin. I used Rhythmbox because I already had it. However, the Rhythmbox version in Ubuntu Lucid (0.12.x) kept popping up a dialog asking me for a non-existent and unavailable plugin to support Sony ATRAC3 MP3 playing. I couldn’t get that to stop, so went to WebUpd8 to get the newest version 0.13.1 and its associated support libraries. This can be had through their ppa repository which the site helps you set up easily.

Once I updated Rhythmbox, the annoying ATRAC3 dialog stopped popping up, but I unfortunately lost the ability to play short previews of the music in the store. Ouch. It turns out that this is also the case in Maverick beta 1. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

To get to the music store, go to Applications -> Sound & Video -> Rhythmbox:

BTW, I was playing an album that I downloaded in the background while writing this. The cover appears in the lower left hand corner of the Rhythmbox window. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be an album cover in that corner. Click on Ubuntu One under Stores:

Rhythmbox apparently picks up your Ubuntu One credentials from your local profile. You can either browse by genre from here or search. I searched on the great Oscar Peterson:

I just click on his name in the result and received a bit about him:

If you click on More at the end of the narrative, Ubuntu One presents a very nice bio for the artist, including their discography. Click on the album that interests you:

You can buy some individual songs or the entire album. If you want the album, simply click on Download in the lower right corner and your Basket will come up:

From there, click on Checkout if you’re done. You will be led through the payment process. I had the choice of a credit card or Paypal. I would normally have used my credit card, but…

Recently, many credit card companies here in the States started charging a 3% fee for international transactions. Even though Ubuntu One charges in dollars, the actual vendor, 7digital, Ltd., is based in the UK and many credit card companies still charge the 3%. So, I used Paypal just to be safe. It all worked well and Rhythmbox both put the new music on my Ubuntu One cloud drive and downloaded it to my computer. You’ll find your music under /home/[username]/.ubuntuone/Purchased from Ubuntu One/[Artist]/[Album] on your computer.

Everything went smoothly. If for some reason you get stuck on a screen in Rhythmbox, just quit the program and start it back up.

Prices are reasonable, mostly $0.77/song or $7.77 per album. That’s less expensive than Amazon, Apple, or other services. The MP3 files sound great.

That’s my first shot at Ubuntu One’s music store. I’m very happy with the content and price. I believe that I’ll be back. And back. And back… :-)

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