Downloading from eMusic on Linux

eMusic is an excellent, long-standing digital music store and one I’ve been a member of for years, but to say they aren’t friendly to GNU/Linux would be putting it mildly. They used to have an official (in permanent beta, but still) download manager but they’ve since done away with it so there is no official way to download music from eMusic on GNU/Linux.

Since I do some other audio/voiceover stuff on Windows it wasn’t a huge deal for me to suck it up and download from eMusic on Windows, but that has since stopped working for no apparent reason. I click download, the download manager pops up, and nothing happens. Perhaps not coincidentally this is precisely the time the Google Music Manager stopped working as well, and also when my Windows Media Center PC stopped downloading guide data. Methinks a Windows patch of some sort borked all this stuff in one fell swoop but I’d rather not be using Windows anyway so I took it as a wake-up call.

Thankfully there’s an unofficial, Java-based eMusic download manager called eMusic/J and though it used to work without any additional configuration in the past, due to recent-ish changes in how eMusic does their downloads it had quit working for me too. Today I finally had a few minutes to dig into the situation and get it figured out.

Turns out what you have to do is trick emusic into think you installed the official eMusic Download Manager even though you didn’t, at which point you can download the .emx files eMusic uses to tell the Download Manager what to download, and those .emx files can be used by eMusic/J to do the downloads.

Here’s the big secret on how to tell eMusic that you installed the Download Manager. You ready?

Go to this URL in the browser on GNU/Linux where you want to use eMusic/J:
http://www.emusic.com/dlm/install/

Congratulations! You just fake installed the Download Manager. Now when you go to download music from eMusic you’ll be asked what you want to do with the .emx file, and you can simply either download it or tell your browser to use eMusic/J to open those files.

Seriously eMusic, I love you guys but forcing people to use a Download Manager that apparently breaks at the drop of a hat when a Windows update is issued is pretty crappy. Luckily using this trick eMusic/J works … for now at least.

25 thoughts on “Downloading from eMusic on Linux

  1. Thanks — I tried Banshee a couple of weeks ago and it didn't seem to work but I'll try it again.

    If you didn't configure your browser to send the file directly to eMusic/J you should at least be able to download the .emx file and then open it manually with eMusic/J to do the download.

  2. Thanks for the tip-off on the URL. I just cam back to emusic after a 90-day hiatus.

    I think I'll be cancelling my subscription as soon as I've cashed in the money on my account. I used to love emusic because of the way that it didn't lock you in to particular DRM/operating systems/devices but now it seems like they've turned that completely on its head. Very disappointed.

  3. Thanks for the tip, it worked beautifully here. Until I stumbled on your blog post, I was nearly ready to give up and use a relative's Windows machine so that my monthly emusic quota would not be wasted.

  4. Thank you so much for posting this tip! I couldn't get eMusic to send the usual .emx file and was getting frustrated because it would only ask me to install the new Windows eMusic Downloader v6. Visiting the URL you posted fixed everything and I can get my .emx files once more. Thank you!

  5. Thanks for working this out. I've added a note about it to the troubleshooting section of the eMusic/J site.

  6. Super sweet! Got it running smoothly on Ubuntu 12.10. It's nice to be able to use this little gem of a program again.

  7. Add my vote of thanks. I'm actually going to cancel my eMusic subscription because of their lack of Linux support and the adoption of other un-user-friendly policies. Purchases via Amazon gets me a vaster catalog, the Amazon player, and I can download to local disk as often as I need to.

  8. Very nice! Thanks for sharing this.
    This trick also works for the binary download manager in the "previous/old versions" download page.

    Generally, I think emusic suck in terms of selection, and in business model … the ridiculous no roll-over policy, and the way that by accidentally clicking on the same link twice, you can buy the same album twice in 10 seconds … I'm cancelling as soon as I finish downloading.

  9. worked like a charm. I used to download the emx file, grep out the url's and wget them manually, can't get it any simpler. I like it that the track numbers are preserved, but not lexically (01,02,…10,11..) instead of (10,11,….,1,2,….) but it now puts spaced between words. I'm still very partial to that.

  10. Thank you for this. I've been a long time user and the linux downloader had been working for me until recently. This tip got the manager to work again.

    Thanks a lot, I really apprecaite it.

  11. LOVE YA!

    That was great. Thanks Peter also for the tip with the grepping. I am pretty fluent in sed so this worked a charm.

    MAYBE I could write me (and you guys) a small Python app which can catch the .emx and auto-initiate a wget with it.

    Took me a while to get the .emx'es running with current Linux downloader, but yes IT WORKS!!
    Unfortunately associating the downloader with a certain command line did not work, but I could at least call ./emusicdlm whatever.emx and it was displayed in the client! Had no idea that cmd-line parameters were actually accepted.

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