After the post I made about the Ubuntu One Music Store, I’ve noticed a couple of things which might indicate what’s coming.
Firstly as we know Rhythmbox is the music player of choice in Ubuntu and we can already see the placeholder for the music store in the app.
I noticed something new today though, the “Music” category has a little [+] expander, and when we open that up we can see two options “Music” and “musicstore”.
This is interesting as I’ve never noticed the ‘musicstore’ group before. Perhaps this arrived after I installed the rhythmbox-ubuntuone-music-store package on my system. Lets go and have a rummage.
alan@wopr:~$ dpkg -L rhythmbox-ubuntuone-music-store
Ok, so there’s a new Rhythmbox plugin added called “umusicstore” which makes sense. If we poke about in the python under that we see interesting stuff.
That path ~/.ubuntuone/musicstore gets added as a Rhythmbox library further down the code:-
Which we can also see in the relevant gconf key for Rhythmbox. The key that gets added by the code above.
Ok, so why is this interesting? Well there’s a couple of things going on here. Rhythmbox is being specifically told about a new location which it should monitor for new tracks. That folder is hidden (it starts with a dot) so it’s not one that an user is expected to be putting files in. If that’s the case then we can only presume that it’s a folder used by the ‘system’ in some way.
If we presume for a moment that the music store plugin will store purchased music in there – which would make sense given the name of the folder – and a user isn’t expected to be putting data in there then it must mean we aren’t going to be downloading music via a browser (given the difficulty of finding that location – it’s hidden remember), but instead this would happen in the background, directly from the store to that folder.
So assume that’s the case, that the music store will magically put your music in ~/.ubuntuone/musicstore. When we were at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Texas last year one of the items on the spec for Ubuntu One in Lucid was the ability for folders outside of ~/Ubuntu One/ to be synchronised with the U1 file syncing service. Assuming that is still on the cards then it’s not a massive leap to conclude that ~/.ubuntuone/musicstore/ could be synced with your U1 file syncing account.
Now, the next logical conclusion is if all that is true and it’s possible for users to nominate folders for syncing with U1 then it makes no sense for the user to have to manually nominate that hidden folder for synchronisation does it? It makes more sense for the folder to be automatically synced when you enable the Ubuntu One Music Store.
If that’s true then that would be fantastic news. If this conclusion is right then you will be able to navigate the store within Rhythmbox (just like iTunes does) and buy music directly inside Rhythmbox, and as soon as the download is finished, the music will automagically appear on every other machine you sync to.
A significant benefit to this theory is that it makes the ‘only 3 downloads’ limit of 7digital largely irrelevant. If you download tracks which become synced to the cloud for you and then optionally (if you have more than one computer) sync back down to other machines, you have a built in backup service. We get the benefit of an in-player store that the Mac and Windows have had for years, without the nasty vendor lock-in of iTunes, which causes issues if you break/lose your computer. With U1 you could lose your computer, get a new one, sign into U1 and bam you got your music back, and that won’t even eat into another one of the 3-download-only limit.
Of course the side-benefit of this for Canonical is the demand for space on the U1 file sync service will rise and thus so will their revenue. So everyone wins.
All this from reading a few lines of python. Is it a bit of a stretch of the imagination?