Open Source

Get Spotify on your Linux desktop (and why you should)

Jack Wallen not only shows you how to install Spotify on your Ubuntu desktop, but reminds us how important it is to install, use, and even purchase these titles!

Up until recently, my main sources of listening to music were purchased music from the UbuntuOne music store and/or Pandora (via Pithos). But both are somewhat limited. My music collection is finite and Pandora seems to have a serious issue with repeating music. was also an option but I received an email from them recently that a lot of the clients I use depend upon a protocol they are deprecating soon.

So, what was I to do for music? I know a lot of peers depend upon Spotify -- with good reason. And since long-time reader (and fellow lover of punk) Jonah Geib had been hounding me to give Spotify a try... I dove in.

I'm glad I did. Spotify is an incredibly powerful tool that offers plenty of ways to enjoy your life's soundtrack. But going to the Get Spotify site you quickly see they only support Windows and Mac. Or so it seems. If you read the short blurb on that site, you find out they do have a preview version of Spotify for Linux! Of course I had to try it. Since I have music playing in the background nearly every waking moment, I had to see if there was a better means of streaming.

In the end, I was very pleased. To be completely transparent, I had never tried Spotify before. In fact, I didn't even have an account. So I signed up for the free account, loaded up Spotify on my Ubuntu 12.10 desktop, and enjoyed.

How is it done? Simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open up a terminal window.
  2. Open up the /etc/apt/sources.list with your favorite editor with the command sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the file.
  4. Add the following to the end of the file: deb stable non-free
  5. Save and close the file with the Ctrl-X key combination.
  6. Issue the command sudo apt-get update.
  7. When the above command completes, issue the command sudo apt-get install spotify-client

Once the application has installed, open up the Unity Dash and search for "spotify" (no quotes). The launcher will appear, ready for you to open. Once the Spotify window appears, you'll be prompted to login (most likely with your Facebook account), and you're ready to begin enjoying the tool in all of its glory (Figure A at left).

I won't bother going into the ins and outs of using Spotify -- it's fairly straightforward.

What I will mention is this -- with the ever-growing amount of previously unavailable applications coming to the Linux desktop, it's very important that users actually download and install these apps (and even purchase them when necessary). You can use Spotify for free, but there are limitations. For $4.99 per month you can get the unlimited edition and remove the ads and enjoy unlimited music. That's a small price to pay to say thanks to Spotify for bringing their client to the Linux desktop.

I expect this trend will continue. Just like Steam has proved -- bringing apps to Linux is not only possible, it's smart. We just have to make sure, as the apps continue to pile up, that we use them and spread the word.

Now go -- get your Spotify on and feed your soul with some great music!


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website


I have been using Spotify for a while now through Linux Mint. I downloaded the Windows version, opened the .exe file using wine, worked right off.  Also there seems to be an advantage to this in that normally Spotify won't work in Canada, but this way it does work.  It appears that the Spotify system does not identify the user as being outside the USA for some reason.


Thank you! Worked like a charm. Good for Linux newbies like me.


Not available in your country. Guess I now run apt-get remove spotify-client. Would have been nice if Jack had mentioned this before I took the time to load....


"Spotify is currently not available in your country. Sign up to be first in line when Spotify launches in your country!". Its too bad that the online music industry outside the USA makes it difficult to actually buy anything.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

that causes the problems. Due to the US Music Industry thinking on-line music is all pirate download they got their bought parrots in the US Congress to pass legislation to make it unlawful for anyone to take any action that stops their anti-piracy measures working - even when what they put in is a rootkit, the laws can see you arrested for taking action to remove it. In most other countries you can legally take measures to stop their DRM etc from working, thus the US music industry is against allowing any on-line music service to access their stuff except in a country that supports their draconian measures. The sad thing is the cost of doing what they're doing greatly exceeds any small profit they may be losing through piracy.


Move along, nothing to see here.

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