By | August 1, 2011

Sometimes it’s easy to see why almost no one uses Linux on the Desktop.

I just got a Spotify invite, so I decided to try it out. Step one is registering at No trouble! But then… how do I use it? Ah! The download link!

uh oh

Spotify for Linux - uh oh

Sweet! A Linux preview! It’s available for Ubuntu and Fedora. Hey! I run Fedora! Awesome. Except, there isn’t a package available. The directory is empty.

Okay. So I download the Ubuntu package and use Alien to convert the file. Amazingly, it installs!

Amazingly, it runs!

Spotify Login Bad Device

Spotify Login Bad Device

Oh. Linux Desktops are considered devices, not desktops. You need to buy an ultra-premium service to use a device. (OTOH, then I could use Spotify on my Android phone as well.) But, since I haven’t even been able to try this service yet, spending $$$ seems premature.

Okay, so the other option is to run the Windows version in WINE. (a windows emulator) Blech. But okay.

I run it, and get myself logged in with a small amount of fuss. Until I try to play some music. Oops! Nothing plays at all! Oops!

I need to read the directions to add a sound device for the Windows emulator. Of course, the directions are out of date on the Spotify web site. I need to add the “PulseAudio” driver with Full Hardware Acceleration. It works!

Until I try to play my own music on Spotify. Oops!

“There is a problem with the sound decoder. Spotify can’t play music”

So look around for solutions and find this page. The instructions are Ubuntu specific (talks about /usr/lib32, which doesn’t exist on Fedora.) The correct command for Fedora is:

$ su

# wget -O /usr/lib/wine/

But it still doesn’t work because the library depends on libmpg123 which isn’t installed by default. We need more software:

$ su

# yum install libmpg123.i686 libmpg123.x86_64

And now it works. Hopefully Spotify is worth it. How many people could have gotten through all those steps?

18 thoughts on “Spotify

  1. Alexander Bokovoy

    This is known thing — Linux client requires premium account.(and, I guess, they cannot guaranty system protection, whatever that means — Premium gives you offline playback too). On the other hand, there is opensource Spotify client on N900 that works with premium account.

    Yes, I do pay for it. Being able to download and listen without being connected to a network is good. For classic music I find my 9.99/month subscription more suitable than buying overpriced CDs (starting from 18-20EUR/CD).

  2. Daniel Alonso

    I’m sorry but this rant is a bit unfair as the Linux Desktop version of Spotify is still a beta product for the moment.

    The distribution model they are using for this beta version is to make it available to subscribers until it reaches the necessary quality standards in order to make it available to general public.

    By the way, I’m really thankful for having it and I’m happy to pay them what they deserve.

  3. admin Post author

    Alex, a lot of Linux users do use Ubuntu. They announced their 1 millionth Ubuntu One user 4 days ago: There are numbers one this page for Fedora for comparisons: There are likely less than the 32 Million users listed there. 🙂

    Daniel, I believe my rant is fair. Here are a couple of places where Spotify went wrong: (1) listing a Linux client but not mentioning that you have to be a $10/month subscriber to use it; and (2) listing a Fedora Linux client that doesn’t exist.

    Once I went off the reservation and tried WINE, I guess I deserve what I get.

  4. Daniel Alonso

    Hi Ben, yes they do advertise it. See last sentence of the following paragraph extracted from

    This is a preview build of Spotify for Linux. As a preview release this version is still unsupported, but we’re running it ourselves and will try to make sure it keeps pace with its Mac and Windows siblings, there are issues regarding decoding of local music on the Linux platform so we haven’t included support for local files in this version. As we haven’t found a reliable way to display ads yet, this version is only available to Spotify Premium and Unlimited subscribers.

    Best regards.

  5. Alexander Bokovoy

    Ben, on they clearly state “As we haven’t found a reliable way to display ads yet, this version is only available to Spotify Premium and Unlimited subscribers.”

    I’m not defending them, just pointing out weak points in your rants. Happy music experience to you!

  6. anonymous

    I know, nitpicking… but WINE ~ Wine Is Not an Emulator 😉

  7. admin Post author

    anonymous – ha! I wondered if anyone would pick up on that. OTOH, it’s a pretty good description of what WINE /does/, if not how it works.

  8. Robert Knight

    If you’re using Ubuntu and paying for the premium version of Spotify the experience is much smoother and given the small proportion of Linux users and ill-will that a locked-down system to show ads might generate, it seems reasonable that they restrict it to paying customers.

  9. stefan

    Just wait: next year is the year of the Linux desktop!

  10. SideEffffECt

    > Sometimes it’s easy to see why almost no one uses Linux on the Desktop.

    why don’t you just use torrents to download music? 😀

  11. Jack

    I had the same, completely ridiculous experience. Sure, WINE is great and allows many people to easily run their old applications on Linux. But for something like this, it would be nice if they work out the kinks that are preventing the free version to run on Linux. I heard it had something to do with advertising not working reliably on Linux or something.

    Either way, I found Spotify’s selection lacking in comparison to the web-based Grooveshark. So I’m not totally convinced by Spotify, although for stuff sold in the U.S. it’s more than sufficient. Just not overly impressive. I’d rather have a Spotify plugin in Banshee/Amarok than a full application dedicated to it.

  12. Frank

    Sound works for me, but I’m having problem with window rendering. When Spotify opens it takes background on the right side as part of the window and rendering is buggy overall. What version of Wine and window manager do you use?

  13. Andrew

    I would like to express my frustration that there is no source code available or a BIN file. I understand there are a million Ubuntu users, but why not publish the source code for the benefit for the millions of other Linux users? Seek help? Start a project with packagers from other distro’s?
    I myself use OpenSUSE 11.4 and converting to rpm with alien is not working anymore for me since Spotify 0.5.

    I think it’s a pitty the linux version isn’t made into a community effort, opensource style.

  14. Pingback: » Spotify + Wine + Fedora 16 64 bits (FC16) : Solution ! - The Troll's factory

  15. Pingback: » Spotify + Wine + Fedora 16 64 bits (FC16) : Solution ! - The Troll's factory

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