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Music sharing app sounds out Linux

Jul 13, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Spotify yesterday released a preview of its peer-to-peer (P2P) music application for desktop Linux, packaged as a Debian Squeeze/Ubuntu 10.04 package. The software shares most of its music sharing with the Windows and Mac OS X versions of Spotify, but currently lacks support for local audio files and is available only for Spotify Premium customers.

Based in Luxembourg, Spotify offers an application and related music service available in Europe on Windows and Mac OSX desktops. Spotify is also offered for Android (pictured at right), Symbian, and iPhone mobile devices, although for Premium customers only.

Spotify lets users share music tracks via P2P technology, and offers music search, customizable playlists, popularity listings, song purchases, and Internet radio. Other features are said to include artist biographies, related artist suggestions, and Facebook integration. There are also music library features such as "Artist radio," which searches Internet radio stations to play a continuous stream from a particular band or musician.

Most of these goodies are now coming to desktop Linux users, writes Spotify's Andres Sehr in his blog announcement. "A lot of our developers are using Linux; obviously they want to listen to music while they're coding away, and looking at the feedback we get it appears that they're not the only ones." Sehr also promises to "try to make sure [the Linux version] keeps pace with its Mac and Windows siblings."

Spotify for Linux, preview version

So far, the Linux version is a step behind, however. Due to "issues regarding decoding of local music" on Linux, local music files cannot be played in the current version, writes Sehr. In addition, the application is still not officially supported by the company, he adds.

Furthermore, "As we haven't found a reliable way to display ads yet," the Linux version is currently available only to subscribers of Spotify Premium, which costs 10 British Pounds a month (about $15). The company did not mention when or if these issues would be fixed by the time of the final release, for which it did not offer a timetable.

Meanwhile, Spotify on any platform has yet to launch in the U.S., although the company says it is working to "arrange licensing agreements with record labels and local publishing rights societies" in order to do so. Currently, Spotify is available in Finland, France, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K.

Despite all the drawbacks to the Linux version, the response from the Linux faithful on blogs and forums has ranged from admiring to ecstatic. On the Spotify announcement page itself, the responses include such bouquets as "Your awesomeness never seems to end" to "Ohhhh i love you :)."

With this sort of response, it's a wonder more developers don't cajole their companies into releasing Linux versions of their software. Then again, if like Sony, a company turns on its Linux users, it will find itself hounded until the end of time.


The preview version of Spotify for Linux is available to Spotify Premium customers in a Debian Squeeze/Ubuntu 10.04 package. The blog announcement may be found here. More information on Spotify for Android may be found here.

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