Download music from Amazon with clamz

Jack Wallen
Apr 25, 2010
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Amazon, Companies, Linux

Lately I have been going on and on about the Ubuntu Music Store. So much so, it would seem I have forgotten the other music store that is friends to Linux. Not so. I am still a fan of the Amazon MP3 store and last night I took the opportunity to purchase something. I was looking for the soundtrack to my favorite TV show (Fringe) on the Ubuntu Music Store when I quickly realized they didn't have it. So I opted to check out the next best thing - Well they had it...BUT...the MP3 downloader doesn't work with Ubuntu 10.4 (yet). There have been a lot of complaints about the Amazon MP3 downloader  (it's proprietary) so someone came up with an option. That option? Clamz. Clamz is a command line tool that will allow you to download your music from Amazon, once you have purchased it. The installation isn't the easiest in the world, but it's certainly not compiling a kernel.

In this article I will show you how to install and use the clamz downloader for purchased music from

Meeting the dependencies

First things first. I will be illustrating the installation on a Ubuntu (10.4) machine. You can alter this installation easily for your distribution.  I am going to show you two different installation commands, one of which should work on your system. The commands are (depending upon your release and what you have installed):

sudo apt-get install libgcrypt11-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libexpat1-dev


sudo apt-get install libgcrypt11-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libexpat1-dev

On my Ubuntu 10.4 system, libcurl4-gnutls-dev wouldn't install. That's not a show stopper as you can use the second command to install without that application.


Now that you have the dependencies installed, let's install the application itself. We'll be doing so, from source. Download the latest, greatest from the project download page and save it do your ~/Downloads directory. Now, from a terminal window, issue the following commands:

tar -zxf clamz-0.1.tar.gz

cd clamz-0.1

./configure && make

sudo make install

That will install the executable command clamz into /usr/local/bin/. You are almost ready to download.

Make it ready

When you purchase music from Amazon, your browser attempts to detect if you have the downloader installed. If the browser does not detect the downloader, it will then direct you to a page instructing you to install the downloader. We have to get around that. You can do this easily by scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the page (the page instructing you to download and install the downloader) you will see a line that reads:

If you have already installed the latest Amazon MP3 Downloader, click here to enable it for use with this browser.

Once you have done this your browser should save the *.amz file to your ~/Downloads directory. Now it's time to use clamz.


Using clamz is simple. From within the directory you downloaded the *.amz file issue the command:

clamz -d ~/MUSIC AmazonMP3-XXX.amz

Where MUSIC is the directory you want the downloads to be placed in and XXX is the file name (it will be a random string of numbers and/or letters).

The files will then download from the Amazon site and be saved in the directory you chose. You can now use your Amazon MP3 files without ever having to have installed the Amazon MP3 Downloader!

Final thoughts

It may seem like a lot of work at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's a piece of cake. And for those who refuse to use proprietary software, it's a must-have if you want to download music from


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  1. Matt said on March 9, 2012 at 7:52 am

    This seems out of date. There is no longer a “If you have already installed the latest Amazon MP3 Downloader, click here to enable it for use with this browser” link at the bottom of the “Get MP3 Downloader” page, at least, not when I look at it in chrome. Do you have any suggestions on how to trick amazon into thinking I have the downloader installed so that I can get the .amz file?

    Thanks for writing this.

  2. Whodat said on May 27, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Very happy to find this tool as Amazon continues to stumble regarding providing a 64-bit client of its Album download tool. Quite annoying. Clamz is available via the Ubuntu Software Center and you can launch it directly from Amazon’s site (no need to open the terminal window and type the command line.

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