A couple of family members got new MP3 players for Xmas. They don't need loads of GB of storage and the budget was tight so I picked out the Samsung U4. It offers 2GB of music plus an RDS radio in a very compact unit. A plus point was support for OGG Vorbis. The problems started when I plugged it into my PC to upload some music. It doesn't use the usual UMS storage protocol. I did get a 'USB Imaging Interface' in Konqueror, but it seemed to be read-only. A bit of research revealed that it uses Microsofts MTP instead.
Someone suggested Gnomad2 might support it. Indeed it did, but could not handle playlists for OGG in the version available from the Ubuntu repositories. I thought things were going to get complicated when something led me to find out that Amarok has a driver for MTP built in. It was merely a matter of adding a new media device and I could simply mark music for transfer then just synchronise. I'm sure I can teach the family how to use that and then they can manage their own music. Another victory for open formats and open source.
To supply them with some extra new music we made use of the Amazon MP3 Store offer of £3 of free music over Xmas. When they first opened I thought it would be unusable due to requiring software to download the music, but they support multiple Linux distributions. The software was easily installed and worked perfectly. I've held off from buying much downloadable music due to most having DRM, but there seem to be multiple stores offering MP3 files now. Prices vary a lot. Some albums are available for as little as £3, but others cost almost as much as a CD. Bit rates of 256 or 320kbit should give adequate quality. I can see myself buying more music like this. I like my CDs, but accept that they generally stay on the shelf once they have been ripped. Downloads can be considered greener too.
We still gained more bits on plastic in the form of several new DVDs and Wii games. Downloads do not fulfill all digital media requirements yet. I've seen some sites saying you can download Wii games on your PC to burn to DVD for a fixed fee. I doubt that these are at all legal.
There is plenty of music available to download, legally, for free. The problem is in finding the good stuff. Via subscribing to a band member's Youtube feed I was alerted to a free EP by Jo Webb & The Dirty Hands. Despite the song titles these are not covers, but are some great slices of pop that I have been enjoying. I may well buy their upcoming album. I also plan to buy some more music by Steve Lawson soon.