Looking to sponsor an Amarok internet service plugin

Nikolaj Hald Nielsen nhnfreespirit at gmail.com
Sun Mar 22 11:36:25 CET 2009

Hi Tom

> My name is Tom and I am the co-owner of online music store Polybonk.com. We
> are very big supporters of open source software and the free
> software foundation. One of our goals is to help the free software music scene
> by supporting audio projects that enable musicians to create high quality
> music.

Thank you for taking an interest in Amarok. One of our stated goals
with Amarok 2 is to create a completely vendor neutral framework where
any interested company/service can have their content added.
Magnatune.com was the first one (actually, I wrote the Magnatune.com
integration first and then decided that it should be possible to do
something similar for other sources of music/content) but we currently
have many other services as well, although no other stores currently
(We are in talks with a few others as well though).

> We are interested in building a Amarok plugin for our online store, similar to
> the one you created for Magnatunes. I would like to know if you would be
> interested in creating such a plugin for us. There are a few things I would
> like to know if you are able to create this plugin. Firstly what will it cost
> to create something like the Magnatunes plugin. Secondly is it possible for
> you to roughly layout what is necessary for us do in order for such a plugin
> to work for our shop?

Cool. We would love to have your store added.

About adding it: If by "you" you mean me personally, I will have to
say no, as I am currently employed full time  by Magnatune.com, and
while they have no problem with Amarok adding other stores, I cannot
directly work on it. (For full disclosure, Magnatune.com sponsors me
to spend some of my time working on Amarok, and they don't want to
directly fund the development of competing stores, which is fair I
think). If on the other hand by "you" you mean the greater Amarok
project, I am sure we can work something out. :-)

About scope and cost. Depending on what API's you already have in
place on your side. Amarok needs some way of talking to your site.
This can be either by downloading a static list of content or using a
dynamic REST like interface. And then there needs to be an interface
for handling purchases. The added benefit to you of adding such an
interface is that other free software players will likely pick it up
and use it as well. for instance, Magnatune.com music can currently be
streamed and bought from Amarok, Songbird and Rhythmbox (and possibly
others). The purchasing interface was originally created for Amarok,
but the specs were published and other players very quickly jumped on

Anyway. Because Amarok already has a fairly extensive framework on
which to build integrated services on, I estimate that it will take a
few months to create a solid, albeit somewhat basic integrated store.
The initial work would likely take about a month, and then allowing
another month to 6 weeks of testing, polishing and bug fixing. That
will allow previewing and purchasing of your tracks and showing basic
information about artist and albums in the context view of Amarok.
After that it is really up to you how much extra effort you want to
spend. The integrated Magnatune store, for instance, has a number of
additional features such as support for paying memberships that lets
you stream ad free tracks or alloy unlimited free downloads, and this
sis supported directly from within Amarok. But once the basic store is
in pace, this sis tuff that can be added over time if you feel like

As for cost... Well, that really depends on why you get to do the
work. Paying a student over the summer break will be much cheaper than
paying someone like me who is a professional software engineer.
Unfortunately, the Amarok project is not quite ready to employ its own
developers to work on stuff like this, even though this is one of our
long term goals.

Finally, you should be aware that Magnatune currently pays the Amarok
project a small (10%) commission on sales that we generate for them,
and I think the general consensus among the developers is that if we
directly generate money for other parties we wold like a small cut.
This helps us pay for hosting costs, conferences, promotional
materials and the occasional new hardware for developers who manages
to step on their laptop during a conference... As a side note,
offering this to all aps that integrates the store (like Magnatune.com
does) is great incentive for other players to add your store as well,
thus bringing it to a huge new audience.

> Please keep in mind that our budget is no where near the likes of Magnatunes
> but we do understand that this is a big job. Polybonk is currently run by only
> me and my business partner Darren.

Well, I think you overestimate the size of Magnatune.com, but I get
the point :-)

I am going to forward this reply to our closed Amarok developer
mailing list and then we will have a discussion about potential ways
that we can move forwards with this. Please let me know if there you
have any questions or comments to what I have written above.

As a last note, we will be releasing Amarok 2.1.0 Beta 1 in a few
days. This should give a really good impression of where Amarok is
headed. Unfortunately we are not quite ready to launch full force on
Windows or Mac just yet (mainly because of a few missing bits in the
KDE stack we rely on) but betas are already available on these
systems, something that will further expand the Amarok user base and
hence potential audience of included services once we get those ready
for prime time.


- Nikolaj

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