Banshee's Amazon MP3 Import extension until recently allowed seamless importing of songs purchased from Amazon MP3. It did this by a)opening .amz files and using them to connect to and download the purchased files from Amazon's servers, and b) using hooks in Banshee's built-in browser to automatically recognize and open the .amz files when clicked on in the browser.

However, recently this functionality stopped working. Banshee will display Contacting Server in the lower left hand corner for a little while and then stop.

Furthermore opening the Amazon Cloud Player in the Banshee browser or any other browser on a Linux system to manually download the .amz file now results in the message:

On Linux systems, Cloud Player only supports downloading songs one at a time. To download your music, deselect all checkboxes, select the checkbox for the song you want to download, then click the "Download" button.

How can I get around this and import my purchased music into Banshee as I used to?

  • the solution with user agent switcher don't work, amazon will always to download amazon downloader and wait for installing it. no way to get the whole album downloaded only one song. i've made a complain to amazon, but only get an todo install amazon downloader to ubuntu 64 bit with ia32libs
    – user110134
    Nov 23 '12 at 10:38
  • I find it hard to believe that the user agent switcher solution didn't work, what error/problem are you encountering? On the other hand, I would be very interested to hear more details about how you installed the Amazon MP3 downloader. Theoretically they have stopped supporting the downloader for Linux, so it shouldn't work at all, period. If you've managed to make it work though, I'd love to hear how... Nov 23 '12 at 18:33
  • 1
    FWIW, the current cloud player will let you check multiple boxes and download them all, though each as a separate request so you might have to click a dozen dialogs.
    – Phil Frost
    Oct 30 '14 at 13:32

This is not a technical problem. Banshee is still able to open .amz files and use them to download purchased music. However this problem results from a decision by Amazon to unilaterally restrict all browsers with linux user agent strings from being able to download .amz files.

Luckily there is one immediate workaround, and a couple avenues for further action as well.

Quick and dirty workaround:

  1. Install the User Agent Switcher extension for Firefox. Any other user agent switcher/browser combination should work as well, I just have not tested them.
  2. Use the user agent switcher to switch your user agent string to IE 8. You can add the user agent switcher icon to your toolbar by right clicking the Firefox toolbar area and clicking Customize.
  3. Authorize this pseudo-browser for use with Amazon Cloud player by clicking this link. This tricks Amazon Cloud Player into thinking that you have already installed Amazon MP3 downloader--setting a cookie that will allow you to download .amz files instead of being prompted to install Amazon MP3 downloader first.
  4. Use Amazon Cloud Player to select tracks and click Download.
  5. Use Banshee to open the downloaded .amz file and it will automatically download and import the songs!

Possibilities for more permanent solutions:

The fact that the above workaround can be used proves that this is not a technical issue but rather a choice by Amazon to restrict certain browser user agent strings from being able to download .amz files. Therefore there a two paths towards a more streamlined fix for this problem.

  1. Modify the user agent string for Banshee's built in browser and then authorize it using the above link. I don't know how to go about doing this but I'm hoping maybe something can write another answer for this.
  2. Write Amazon asking them to explain this change and detailing it's negative effects on you. Here is the message I sent them:


    I have been a regular customer of the Amazon MP3 store for awhile now. Whenever I heard about a new album I would preview and buy the album from your store. Part of the reason for this was the great Amazon MP3 integration with Banshee Media Player (http://banshee.fm). I could browse Amazon, preview songs, and import my music all from within Banshee Media Player. Having to use a third party client to download music that I have purchased has always been a very big turn off for me--hence, I don't like using Google Play, and before I discovered Banshee's Amazon integration I didn't like purchasing music from Amazon either.

    With my most recent purchase however I was very displeased to discover that Banshee's automatic import of songs purchased from Amazon MP3 was no longer working. After a little research I determined that the cause of this was that Amazon had decided to lock out any browsers with a Linux user agents strings from being able to download multiple songs. If I authorized and used a browser with a Windows user agent to download the .amz file then I was able to open that file with Banshee and import the songs normally. I understand the need to authorize devices for use with the cloud player, but the decision to unilaterally lock out linux machines from being able to download .amz files seems completely arbitrary, and to this customer is a very disappointing development.

    I'm not going to threaten to boycott Amazon MP3, in all likelyhood I will continue to purchase MP3 albums from your service. However, from this point on I will likely only purchase the promotionally priced albums, I will now have no incentive to buy the full priced albums (where you make the most money) from your service rather than another service--especially those which have better support for linux.

    What really bothers me about this is that it is not a technical issue. I am not expecting you to support another operating system, additional software, or to make a version of the Amazon MP3 downloader for linux. It is a matter of Amazon--inexplicably--choosing to restrict via user agent all browsers running on Linux systems from being able to use features that they otherwise are fully capable of using. To me this seems not only unreasonable but also a poor business choice and not what I expect from Amazon in terms of how you treat your customers.

    Furthermore, I am disappointed by the lack of an explanation behind why this decision has been made. Linux users are greeted by a message apologizing that support isn't offered, but given that support was previously available, and applications such as Banshee are still technically able to use the service if they use another browsers user agent key to download the .amz while, I believe that we deserve an explanation of why this change has been made.

    Thank you for your time reading this. What I would like is both for you to please convey my comments along the appropriate channels and I would also like to receive a response stating, 1) why this change was made, and 2) if there are any plans to re-enable Linux devices in the future. Even if the answers to these two questions are not what I hope to hear, a thorough response addressing these issues would likely keep me a loyal customer of Amazon. I would however be rather disappointed with a generic response that I could have found myself in an FAQ. As such, please take your time if you need to ask around to find out more about this situation before responding. Thank you again for your time.


    Austin Dempewolff

Note: I've written this answer up quickly to try and help those who are also facing this problem. I would highly welcome other answers that are better illustrated and/or provide alternative workarounds! I'd prefer to accept a better written/illustrated answer than this one!

  • I do hope you will get a response on this unpleasant matter.
    – Takkat
    Oct 7 '12 at 13:16
  • I got a preliminary email back from a customer service rep. saying that he would need 1-2 business days to look into the matter. Already a much better response than I've gotten from certain other companies, who see the word "linux" and take it as an excuse to stop providing customer service regardless of what the problem is. Oct 8 '12 at 11:46
  • I found several companies unwilling to even reply, nigh, readily ignore, support requests for Windows 2000 when it was in it's death throes. XP is beyond it's sell by date now & if they do not consider support worth it for a specific customer demographic then expect to be ignored. It's rude, but it's there way or the digital highway.
    – fleamour
    Oct 9 '12 at 20:05
  • Thank you so much for this great tutorial. It is really not understandable why Amazon is intentionally locking out users. Over the last years Amazon was providing a dedicated downloader for Linux-based systems. Why not just grant access to open source downloaders? This is no work for Amazon employees. If anybody needs it, this is the link for the German Amazon.de Downloader-activation.
    – Andre
    Dec 2 '12 at 18:21
  • Andre- glad that it helped. However it sounds like either Amazon caved or the Banshee team found a workaround as it is working for me again without the workaround. One of the other answers suggests that if you use the updates from the Banshee Team PPA it will work again normally. You could try that. Dec 3 '12 at 4:35

When you buy the album, you'll get to a page with a final acknowledgment of the purchase. In that page there's a link ("download your music now") to an .amz file that you can open in Banshee.

I haven't found (or looked very hard) at a way to get that file again once you close that page, but the method above should be enough to get the music in a way close enough to the old/better way without messing around with an agent switcher.

  • Hi Carlos, thanks for your answer. Are you sure that this method still works (in the last couple months) with a Linux user agent? I ask because this is exactly how I used to download the music, but now I get a Linux not supported dialog both using this method and downloading from cloud player. Nov 18 '12 at 3:46
  • Hi adempewolff: I haven't done this extensively, but I did tried it yesterday and it worked fine. The cloud player definitely doesn't work, but the .amz file does work from the 'purchased completed' page. Have you tried making sure that firefox (or whatever you are using) will ask you what to do when you open an .amz file, so you can choose to open it with Banshee?
    – Carlos
    Nov 19 '12 at 4:33
  • Like I said, I used to do it this way, so I know it works, it just stopped working at some point. I wonder if our feedback actually caused them to revert to the old behavior... I will check this out next time I buy an album. Do you know if you can purchase from within Banshee and if the Banshee hook on that link will work? Nov 19 '12 at 10:18
  • Woohoo! It looks like our correspondence with Amazon worked! They reverted to the old system. You can now once again download the files from within Banshee by clicking on the "download your music now" link! Since you noticed this I'll accept your answer if you edit it to make it a little more specific and clear. Nov 27 '12 at 10:25

If you launch the cloud player (it's just a web app) and then find the music you bought, it can be downloaded as a file. It's way less convenient than having banshee do it all automatically, but less annoying than messing with user-agent strings in a browser.

Note though, that if you try to d/l more than one track at a time, you get a message saying that this is explicitly disabled for Linux users.

  • 1
    I'd actually only meant to comment on the previous post rather than add a new answer, I clicked the wrong link :) Edited now. Oct 16 '12 at 16:48
  • Good point, I had forgotten to mention that you can still download the files one by one. I usually buy music a couple albums at a time though, so downloading each song individually would take forever. In regards to your original commentary, I should point out that when I called them they were pretty responsive to my concerns and said they would pass them along to the developers and get back to me. Oct 17 '12 at 9:25
  • yeah, I was probably pretty harsh on them on the phone to be honest.. these things wind me up more than I should let them :) Oct 17 '12 at 18:17

Steps 1-4 of the "quick and dirty workaround" work for me, too, in order to get the .amz file in the first place (on Ubuntu 12.10).

But step 5 doesn't, at least for Cloud Player .amz files. Some posts suggest there's a difference between purchased .amz files and Cloud Player .amz files. Banshee (2.6.0) opens the .amz file, recognizes the tracks listed in it, indicates a download has started, indicates the downloads finished, without actually downloading anything.

I tried clamz 0.5 and pymazon 0.9.1 and these gave me a better indication of what's happening, they log a 500 Internal Server Error when downloading each track. The comments at the bottom of the Pymazon HowToAmzDownload pointed me in the right direction. Installing jsphslgr's clone of pymazon yields a Pymazon that successfully downloads tracks from a Cloud Player .amz file. Apparently it has to do with user-agent checking on Amazon's side. So in short:

  1. Install FF User Agent Switcher
  2. Switch user agent to IE 8 (before logging into amazon.com)
  3. Pretend to install Amazon MP3 downloader (the amazon link that sets the cookie)
  4. Clone the jsphslgr pymazon repo and install it
  5. Set /usr/local/bin/pymazon as the helper for .amz files in FF
  6. Select multiple tracks in Cloud Player and Download, FF will download the .amz and open in pymazon GUI showing the .amz's tracks
  7. Configure pymazon to save files to your Banshee music folder
  8. Click Download in pymazon, it will download and save all .mp3s listed in the .amz
  9. Rescan music library in Banshee
  10. Banshee has your new .mp3 files.

If you subscribe to the Banshee Team PPA then downloads are now working again as normal.

  • Ah, well I do use their PPA so that would make sense. Can you verify that the update hasn't hit the main repos yet and is only available from the ppa? Nov 29 '12 at 17:42

I wrote a Greasmonkey Script that works around Amazons restrictions on downloading .amz files on Linux you can get it here:


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