Canonical betas Ubuntu music store
Windows Media downloads 'not recommended'
Canonical is privately beta testing a DRM-free Ubuntu music store, slated to debut with the Lucid Lynx distro in late April.
According to an Ubuntu wiki FAQ, the Ubuntu One Music Store will offer DRM-free and watermark-free MP3s provided by the London-based online music outfit 7digital. The store will integrate with the existing Ubuntu RhythmBox music player, and at some point, it will also be available as a plug-in for Banshee, Amarok, and "a few other" third-party applications.
The existing Jamendo and Magnature music services will remain part of RhythmBox. "These are both great sources for creative commons and open licensed songs. The Ubuntu One Music Store extends the catalog of music available to Ubuntu users and will include mostly songs from minor and major label artists," the FAQ reads. "These are songs that you typically find on the shelves of your favorite record shop...except in a downloadable format."
Songs will generally use 256 kbps (or higher) MP3 encoding. You may also find some encoded in the WMA format, but Ubuntu is working to remove them and doesn't recommend purchases. WMA is Microsoft's Windows Media format.
The store will require a (free) account with the Ubuntu One storage service. More info is available from a beta tester blog post here. Currently, the beta is not public, but will be "soon." ®