PSA: Relationship between Amazon MP3 and webOS goes dysfunctional | webOS Nation

PSA: Relationship between Amazon MP3 and webOS goes dysfunctional 27

by Derek Kessler Sun, 21 Oct 2012 10:03 pm EDT

WP CentralWhen the Palm Pre launched on Sprint back in 2009, little 'ole Palm partnered with Amazon, offering the relatively new Amazon MP3 store (launched two years prior as the first online music store to offer tracks without DRM) as a pre-installed app. It was a good compromise for Palm, hoping to take on Apple's iPhone - remember when they were going back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth with Apple, making the Pre impersonate an iPod when plugged into a computer and Apple updating iTunes to prevent that bit of hackery? Those were fun - and quite hilarious - days.

Today, however, it's not so dandy as far as music on webOS is concerned. Sure, there's Pandora and Spotify, but if you want to download music onto your device, it seems you can now count Amazon MP3 out. As noticed by The Linked List, Amazon MP3 is no longer working as it ought to. The app will find albums and tracks just fine, but when it comes time to buy it, things start to fall apart.

There are two issues. The Amazon MP3 app can be found on a number of webOS smartphones that were sold in the US, including the HP Pre3. The first problem has to deal with Amazon's Cloud Player streaming music player, a service that ties in nicely with Amazon MP3. Until recently, buying and downloading a song from the webOS Amazon MP3 app would see that song also automatically added to Amazon Cloud Player (the same happens when you from Amazon's Android app or from their website on a desktop).

Now, it seems, that's not happening - the MP3 is successfully downloaded onto your smartphone, but the purchase isn't also transferred into Cloud Player. Sure, you can transfer the MP3 off your Pre via USB onto your computer and upload it to Cloud Player via Amazon's synchronization app, but that's just a pain.

The other issue is more of a headache, especially if it arises in conjunction with the above. Some users of the Amazon MP3 app have been hit with an error of "Failed to complete that request. Try again later." after hitting the buy button. You might shrug and try again later as suggested, but in the meantime your credit card has been charged by Amazon for the MP3 you wanted but you have not the song in your possession. If it's not on your device and not added to Amazon's Cloud Player, then things get even more frustrating. You're out the money, with no music to show for it (Amazon Cloud Player has become Amazon's backup music downloading solution - all of your purchases are supposed to be in there). Being a decent corporation, Amazon has at least made it easy enough to lodge a complaint and get your money back.

When we asked Amazon about the issue, they suggested that we make sure we have the latest version of the app installed from the Amazon Appstore for Android or Google Play (duuurh). It's clear that the webOS Amazon MP3 app has fallen off of Amazon's radar - the app hasn't seen an update since it's release in 2009, and we doubt it'll see an update ever in the future (especially considering that it's a first-generation Mojo framework app and Open webOS does not include support for that legacy framework). Our suggestion: just don't use the app. It's disappointing to not be able to download music anymore from Amazon or other sources, but thems the breaks when you're using a three-year-old-app on an abandoned smartphone.

Source: The Linked List


Minor point, on Amazon player site you can't even pause the song using Touchpad browser anymore.

Well, as a Canadian, I was never eligible to use the service, so I don't miss it, and I always put my music on my phone with a USB cable, but that being said, it's a chilling signal for other apps in the ecosystem, I love my Pre 3, for various reasons, I am still with it, and I will be for the foreseeable future, but I am aware that there will be other apps that will just cease to function in the future, and it just really sucks.

this article:
somewhat lol
a little =(
then some more lol
followed by =(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

Never used Amazon's cloud services, but I've downloaded plenty of their songs since I got my Pre-. Haven't had the want/need to for any new music via download recently, but I'm hoping that the download error Derek refers to is rare. Either way, what is the alternative? Besides, worst-case scenario, I lose .99; a small price to pay for the convenience of being able to download song to my Pre3 :-)

i'd bet it's not rare. if you really want to throw $.99 out the window though, you could always get an app from a dev who writes for webos.. such as myself or the preware homebrew documentation.... o.O

I don't think it ever worked correctly. I could buy a song and download it to my phone, but an hour or so later, I got an email saying that the transaction had been canceled because of some problem with my card. But I could go to the website and buy stuff with the same card without any problems and they didn't give me a way to edit the canceled order to use another card, so it was the opposite of the problem reported in this article.

so does that mean you got the song for free? or did they somehow take it away?

i wonder how long it will br before the App Catalog is out of service? anybody got any ideas?

Depends whether HP/Gram see fit to continue housing apps for unsupported and obsoleted devices instead of purging it to make way for Open webOS exclusively.
I mean, let's face it: The App Catalog's numbers are dwindling, devs have almost completely stopped updating and largely forgotten webOS (except for a tiny handful), and a great many apps are outright broken at this point although they remain for sale waiting for a sucker to buy it--without the security of a refund to inspire confidence. (Caveat emptor!)
If I were HP/Gram, I would ditch the Mojo-based apps once and for all and draw a line in the sand where only relatively recently-updated apps that were demonstrated to work in Open webOS could remain in the App Catalog. Otherwise, tough shit: Update to comply or you're gone.
Realistically, though, HP/Gram could just end up ditching the App Catalog entirely as part of the process of separating Open webOS Professional from the old webOS. Since it's not even released yet nor has OEM backing where it might succeed, I wouldn't expect them to pour money into keeping it alive while the mothballs keep things preserved for the time being. Once it's out, assuming it has a reasonable home in the enterprise segment, any market for Open webOS Professional would need to be geared toward that segment without broken apps and stuff like this cluttering it up:
Timing? Your guess is as good as mine; when it comes to webOS, you have no idea what's going to happen next...and that's typically not been a good thing around here.

If they were to ditch the webOS App Catalog, do you think it'd make sense to say goodbye to our backups too? Because if you ditch one cloud service, then might as well throw that away too... And do you think they'd notify us before they ditch us?

I'm not the one to ask; I'm just speculating.
Open webOS makes for great headlines amongst this community (but sorry, not so much outside of it yet), but when should the legacy users expect to find themselves forced to move on when someone turns off the lights to the underlying services powering their devices? Technically, they could do it at any time given that HP dumped device support over a year ago already; right now, it's out of the goodness of their heart that those services are even still on.
They could just kill off everything prior to Open webOS for all I know after giving people a chance to get their backups. At least, that's what I'd speculate as a prime possibility. All that data takes up space, and space costs money (hardware, bandwidth and maintenance by employees), Open webOS isn't geared for the general consumer market anymore (so you are no longer their target audience), and most of that data is sitting there in profiles for inactive, unsupported devices people have long abandoned or gotten rid of, so...
It's something certainly worth thinking about, and those services certainly won't last forever.
Derek should try and get some information out of the powers that be over Open webOS to figure out where all of this is going for the legacy users to provide some expectation so people can plan ahead if need be.

"...when should the legacy users expect to find themselves forced to move on when someone turns off the lights to the underlying services powering their devices?"

I think the answer to that is when they are given a viable option to move to. It would have made more sense for them to do it before Open webOS. People are closer to getting a form of webOS on new hardware now than they were 6 months ago (not that they are close, but it's relative). If you were going to kill it, then kill then.

As for the "all that data takes up space, and space costs money (hardware, bandwidth and maintenance by employees)", the amount of data and bandwidth that is being stored if probably very, very minimal. Google gives people 10GB of space with Gmail for free and there's no limit to the number of accounts you can sign up for. The bandwidth of the small number of legacy devices is inconsequential to HP. They've shown that they aren't putting much employee maintenance behind it. In any case, the sum total of all this to a company like Gram would be $200,000 a year... and I'm allocating around $120K for an employee in Silicon Valley.

This is a drop in the bucket in comparison to what HP will be spending with Gram. Since it seems like Gram is in the business of proving these services to potential hardware manufacturers. Since they'll need them anyway, might as well migrate everything.

man thats true we finally need to start thinking what are we going to do for apps well this one personally I never have purchased an mp3 ever not since I was 14 I think I bought my last cd and from that point on It was morphios and so on and so forth lol. but what about the apps that we really need or use and which ones are those any way?? I mean apart from the ones that are supposed to come with WebOS????

Well, I use Download That app on my Pre³ with Dilanndau's mp3 urls :-)
The HP App Catalog and the Back Up services are the ones that concern me the most. Even though we shouldn't cross the bridge until we get there, with HP (not webOS!) you just have got to expect the worst and be prepared for it. So, that being said, how feasible could it be for us (webOS users) to create a back up plan with the community? Be that: a monthly subscription for backing up and using Preware as the new App Catalog for webOS (legacy) and Open webOS (Homebrew Edition). Just asking.

I imagine App Tuckerbox is the closest you're gonna get.
So few developers would migrate their apps to another catalog (because they've long gone and forgotten webOS) that it wouldn't even make much sense. Plus, all the legal and financial obligations involved; I doubt webOS Internals would ever want to deal with such a thing...and it'd be a full-time job, to boot. webOS Internals is volunteer-based, so that doesn't jive with their mission.
In other words, I wouldn't count on it happening. Ask Rod on Twitter for yourself if you want a more definitive answer.

I noticed both these problems (no sync to Cloud for music, as well as completely broken purchases) at least a year ago on my Veer. Wonder how many people were actually using this app? If anything, it highlights the importance of the ecosystem in smartphone sales, and how palm/hp didn't have a chance in the market because they relied on others for their book, music and movie stores...

I've been saying the same thing about the ecosystem around here for a long time, except I usually got blasted by people around telling me either 1) webOS had a great ecosystem or 2) webOS didn't need an ecosystem.
Many of those also said they didn't need apps, which as we all know, runs pretty counter to just about 99% of folks out there evaluating platforms and buying mobile devices.
Well, we can see how well all that panned out.
As it turns out, that 99% (and I'm rounding down here) didn't care about multitasking and cards so long as they got a robust ecosystem, official apps they knew by name, and otherwise were able to get the insanely popular apps their friends and family had on their Android and iOS devices.

well was never functional in EU or at least germany.
So no loss here, though sad for users.

I run into dozens of websites that fail to function each time I pick up my TouchPad it seems. No big surprise a four year old app tied to a web-based service is among the casualties.

You should still be able to upload any music you've bought with the Amazon MP3 app back up to the cloud player to be stored for free - I've done this several times. scp the music off your device and then upload it with the Amazon cloud uploader. As long as Amazon sees that you purchased that song, it is still stored for free (doesn't count against your quota).

I generally don't make a point of buying a ton of music with the MP3 app, as this process is a little inconvenient. However, if it is music I want to keep on my Pre3 anyway, well it has to be copied to my device somehow.

Thanks for writing about this problem, Derek. I've posted about the "Try again later" problem a couple of times on the Veer discussion forum. Earlier this month, an Amazon rep investigated and then told me that Amazon does not support WebOS 2.1.2. As these comments suggest, we face bigger issues, but I wonder
a) might this be an easy fix for Amazon? (which they might do if they knew)
b) how many active WebOS users might want to purchase mp3s?
Might this be worth a poll from Webosnation? Or at least multiple contacts to Amazon to ask them to restore MP3 store functionality on their end?

I think some sort of official survey would be good, because I really did wonder if I was the only one who had problems with this app -- seemed odd that such a large part of WebOS' content ecosystem could go belly-up without anyone noticing. Imagine if the iTunes app on Apple's devices sort of stopped functioning -- the whole internet would be up in arms. On WebOS, it seems to occur with very little notice...

I ran into this last week on my US Verizon Pre2. I received the "failed to complete the request" error and noticed my account charged but the music wouldn't download nor was it in Cloud Player. I called the Amazon support phone number and the customer service rep re-added the songs to cloud player in a few seconds. That's all it took for me.

still using the 7digital mp3 music app on the touchpad, so far thats not broken.

Tired of the "disparity" of the forums and the website articles...


It's disappointing to not be able to download music anymore from Amazon or other sources, but thems the breaks when you're using a three-year-old-app on an abandoned smartphone.


Seriously, if you have no interest in Open webOS or webOS CE at this point, and you're not happy with the way your current webOS device works (and the selection of apps available to you) then you should just stop complaining and move on to another platform. There is no known commercial release of webOS on the horizon waiting for you.

-- Rod

I'm not going the false dilemma route (Spouting ultimatums like "you either cover Open webOS and legacy webOS or go all pro-HP/GRAM and stop reporting on legacy webOS"), you're all smarter than that. It's just that this cognitive dissonance among your ranks is getting a little irritating.

This is yet another reason not to use these services. Get good copies of the original music either by CD or flac, and encode it yourself. Then you always have the master, without DRM, to encode and re-encode, at whatever bitrate (I use VBR for everything) as often as you need as compression algorithms, tagging algorithms, etc change. You can also organize and tag your music as you wish, not as whatever service feels you need. The days of having to buy new copies of music you have already paid for just because the medium is changing should be behind us by now.

I've always refused to pay money for something that's already been compressed, likely not to the specs I want,, and certainly would never pay money for something that I then don't own the rights to meddle with as needed.

If you bought into this service, I don't have a lot of sympathy for you.

Why bother with it? I found a site that has just about every song you could want and it's only .40 each. I paid for a lifetime membership so I have access to everything including all new content that is add to the site. The Touchpad and the Pre can stream from it too.