Your Music On Linux

Last week we had a good thread over on the Ubuntu Canada’s mailing list on online music, especially sources that are Linux- and/or Freedom-friendly. I listen to music pretty much constantly – if I’m on the computer, it’s playing music.

The full list archive is here; I can’t really recommend the Wine-based methods, but there were a bunch of other good things mentioned.

  • Jamendo – Open Your Ears — Thousands of (mostly) open-licensed albums. Heavily slanted toward electronica, but lots of good stuff in all sorts of genres. Downloadable by BitTorrent or EMule, in OGG or MP3.
  • ETree’s BitTorrent Index — High-quality BitTorrent downloads of live concerts by trade-friendly bands. Lots of minor groups worth exploring, and a decent range of ‘big name’ bands – Radiohead, The Tragically Hip, Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, and more. Be warned that these are big files – they’re mostly FLAC-format uncompressed CD-quality concerts, so most are 300MB and more.
  • EMusic was recommened by a couple of people on the thread – haven’t used it myself, but apparently it sells non-DRM’d mp3s.
  • MagnaTune — who have “We Are Not Evil” as their slogan – look interesting. They offer streaming previews of everything, and sell either as unencumbered MP3 or WAV download, or on actual CD. No OGG downloads, which is too bad.
  • Last.FM isn’t a downloading service, but it deserves a mention. Build your own online radio station, tag artists & tracks, see what your friends are listening to, and more. Lots of Linux music player apps have AudioScrobbler plugins, which will automatically populate your LastFM playlists while you play your own music, too.
  • Also, BoingBoing just recommened a fun electronica/mashup album, the Robotic Intergalactic Astro-Artists (RIAA) “Sounds For The Space Set!!”. Well-done mashups can be good fun and good music, and this is one of them. Bonus points for the cheeky name, too!

I’ve always been a big music fan – I’ve ripped my entire CD collection to my computer (in OGG, of course) using the excellent SoundJuicer, and now I’m starting to pull stuff off the web – turns out there is a lot of free, legal & Linux-friendly stuff out there!

It’s also worth mentioning that, at least for me, Canada’s relatively-sane copyright laws mean that copying for personal use – including ripping to computer – remain legal! IANAL, but that’s why we pay the ‘blank recordable media’ levy when we buy CD-Rs. There’s an excellent Canadian Copy-Levy FAQ available. So, I’ve ripped my entire 200+ CD collection to my harddrive, and ripped a whole bunch of stuff I’ve brought home from the local library, and it’s all legal, at least here.

Anyone with more recommendations, please leave a comment!

One last addition: I’ve got userpages on Jamendo and on Last.FM, if anyone is interested.

By Brian Burger

Started this site way, way back in November 1998, when the web was young. It's still here, and so am I.

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