You spend one hour digging through piles of digital tracks and finally settle on 3 gems that will work the dance floor. On your way to proudly paying for and downloading the tracks you are met with:
“One or more of the items you’ve selected for purchase are unavailable in your territory”
Dammit and that was my favorite track! A quick Google search reveals that the exact same track, in high quality, is available as a free download from a popular blog. Your left to ponder why anyone would be against you purchasing their music when its readily available through other means.There must be a way around this thing right? Yes, there is and its called using a proxy server. Read on bellow and we will show you how to bypass the territory restrictions by surfing on another persons digital passport.
Dial by Proxy
There are 2 forms of proxy servers available- the paid and free variety. To make things realistic, this tutorial is going to be performed using a free proxy. If you run up against a lot of restricted tracks, it may be wise to get a paid proxy service but for just a few tracks its probably not worth it.
THE TOOLS YOU NEED
Firefox Web Browser – http://www.mozilla.com/
Firefox has the best tools for cookie management, and the plugins are sweet.
FoxyProxy – http://foxyproxy.mozdev.org/
I’ve used SwitchProxy before, but there are some interesting options in this plugin that help us get a better experience.
PayPal account set up and ready to go (just in case).
After digging around, I found a track that was restricted to me here in the US. DJ Boris – The Breaks 2009.
First thing we need to do is take note of the artist, title, and label. This is important if we’re going to find a working proxy. Log out of Beatport and let’s go to http://www.discogs.com/ . This is a great resource for all music, and we’re going to use it to find out where the Duplex label is located.
Wow… there is almost NOTHING on that label. There’s a hit in the Czech Republic and another in Norway. DJ Boris is from Russia, so that’s the right ballpark. But this is a good example of a “worst case” scenario. Usually there are a ton of hits for any given label. OK, at least I have an idea of where I should be looking for a proxy now. So lets get to that.
Load up http://www.samair.ru/proxy/ . This is a list of free proxies. Even though it’s filled with CoDeeN proxies (which are mostly un-usable), this list has been lucky for me. So I load up the page and right there in front of me is a proxy in Norway.
If you installed FoxyProxy, you should have a little icon in the bottom right corner of Firefox.
- Click on FoxyProxy to open the Options.
- Click the ADD NEW PROXY button on the right.
- The first tab (GENERAL) will let you give the proxy a name. I just called it “Beatport”.
- Make sure ENABLED is checked as well.
- Now go to PROXY DETAILS.
- Go to the MANUAL PROXY CONFIGURATION
- in the HOST OR IP ADDRESS box, put in the IP address of the Norwegian proxy we found (220.127.116.11). Now fill in the port (8000).
- Now go to the URL PATTERNS tab
- Click ADD NEW PATTERN
- Let’s call the pattern “Beatport”
- In the URL PATTERN box, put “*.beatport.*”
Why are we doing this filtering? FoxyProxy allows us to “proxify” traffic based on these filters. Since I don’t want to get in the way of the ancillary sites that Beatport relies on (like buybutton.net/cybersource.com for payment processing, or Google), this filter lets me be selective about who gets the proxy. Using filters means that I no longer have to open IE while Firefox is proxied if I need to look at something. Press OK, then CLOSE to get back out to the browser. Now, let’s test the proxy to see if it’s working.
Right click on the FoxyProxy icon in the bottom right corner of Firefox and select “Use proxy “Beatport” for all URLs”.
Now load up Google. the page is going to take a long time to load, because proxies are slow. But if it’s working you should see something like this…
Nice! That means we have now been issued a digital passport from Norway and beatport will think that is where we hail from. One more change and we are on our way:
- First, let’s now set FoxyProxy to use the filter instead of a blanket proxy.
- Right click the icon again and select “Use proxies based on thier pre-defined patterns and priorities”
Now, lets clear out all Beatport related cookies.
- In Firefox, click TOOLS, then PRIVACY.
- Go to SHOW COOKIES.
- This will open up a small box showing all the cookies currently stored.
- Type in “beatport” and clear ALL of those cookies.
- Now do the same for “buybutton”, then press CLOSE, then OK.
Navigate to http://www.beatport.com/ but be warned – this is a SLOW process given the size of Beatport and the speed of the proxy.
If it looks like it’s getting stuck on a part of the loading (like the “initializing” screen), try clicking one of the genre buttons at the bottom of the screen or reloading. Eventually you should see the interface load.
Now, here’s the cool part. Right click on FoxyProxy and “Completely disable FoxyProxy”. That’s right! There’s no more multiple checks against your IP like there was in the old Beatport. It sets your session ID when you first load up Beatport and that’s you for the rest of the session.
DON’T log in yet. Let’s look for our song again…
So we got the country right! I was worried about that. Log in, then click the BUY button for the selections you want to grab, click your crate, and check out.
Now here’s the iffy part. If you forget to unload the proxy before checkout and try to use a credit card, the transaction will be declined. If you see that you’ve been declined (and you still have money in your account), use the PayPal payment option instead.
You might be wondering..
No, Beatport doesn’t at any time look at your account information as a location check. They do what’s called a reverse IP lookup. That is why the proxy solution works.
When you load up Beatport (even if you don’t log in), they set a cookie that tells them what country your computer is from, and that is your country for the entire session. This works out well for us, because we no longer have to endure the slow proxy for the entire session – just long enough for the cookies to be set. At that point we can unload the proxy and enjoy a normal session.
Just because you’re able to get around one proxy doesn’t mean that you’ve beaten them all. If you have restricted music from multiple countries, it’s likely that you’re going to have to end your session, unload your cookies, and begin a new session using a different proxy to access those songs. If you’re after music from many different areas, it might be a good idea to write down the music and try to group them according to area.
Proxy lists are generally bad. You get a lot of trash. Only experience will tell you what the good candidates are on a given list. But there are also other reasons why proxies don’t work for some people. Some proxies don’t pass signed content (like CoDeeN/ PlanetLAB), which will stop your Beatport session before it starts. I usually avoid proxies using the port numbers 3124-3128 for that reason. If Google loads fine proxied, but Beatport won’t load at all, you probably have some filtering going on and need to find a different proxy. If Google and Beatport load fine, but your song is still territory restricted, then you have a proxy in the wrong country. Do a little more research on the label and artist.
People that go through the steps above to purchase a track instead of downloading readilly available mp3s from blogs should be applauded, as they are trully dedicated to supporting the artist instead of taking a much easier short cut. Unfortunatly, they make up a minority, and I would argue that most artists end up losing more sales than they gain over these territory restrictions. We know there must be some good reason to have them though- so Beatport, if your out there, could you fill us in and perhaps help everyone understand this problem from your side?
Thanks to nemonic for the great article, please visit him on the web at http://www.nem0nic.com/ where you will find more helpfull tips.