Archive for the 'iTunes' Tag

Tips for Changing a Podcast Feed’s URL in iTunes

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Update: This has been updated for Feeder 3.0 and later.

There may come a time when you want to move your podcast feed to another server, another location on your server or start using a service such as FeedBurner.

In their technical specification, Apple suggests two ways to change your podcast feed’s URL. The preferred method is to set up a redirect to the new URL. This will cause both the iTunes Store and existing subscribers to use the new URL and will work for other applications too, including RSS readers.

Setting up a redirect is not always possible; Apple’s alternative suggestion is to use the <itunes:new-feed-url> tag to inform the iTunes Store that your feed has moved.

For this to work, you need two different versions of your feed: the old version should contain the New Feed URL and the new version must not. First duplicate the feed:

  • Select your existing feed in Feeder and choose File > Duplicate from the menu.
  • Choose File > Publish from the menu. Click the Settings button and change the settings as appropriate to publish the feed to the new location. If you are doing this because you wish to start using FeedBurner for an existing feed, you simply need to change the filename.
  • Click Continue, then click Publish to upload the new feed.

Now test the new feed:

  • Click the Links button in Feeder’s toolbar.
  • Select iTunes Podcast and click Subscribe

If everything looks good in iTunes, you can now set the new Feed URL on the original feed:

  • With the new feed still selected in Feeder, choose File > Copy Feed URL from the menu. You don’t need to do this if you’re moving to FeedBurner.
  • In all cases, now select your original feed.
  • Click Feed above the list of items.
  • Select “iTunes Podcasting”.
  • Scroll down to the New Feed URL field and paste the URL. If you are using FeedBurner, enter the FeedBurner URL instead.
  • Publish the original feed.

Testing the New URL

You can test the New Feed URL by updating a subscription to your existing feed in iTunes and clicking the info button next to your podcast’s description. It should show the new feed’s URL.

The iTunes Store will switch to using the new feed URL the next time it checks your feed, and your iTunes-using subscribers will pick up the new URL the next time they update their podcast subscriptions. Apple suggests keeping the old feed around for at least two weeks to give everyone a chance to update.

Updated iTunes Spec and, er, Another One

Monday, December 19th, 2005

By pure chance I just noticed that the latest iTunes RSS specification at the usual URL has now been updated to one with the date 2005-10-06, which doesn’t seem quite as recent as the one dated 2005-10-20 that we saw on the Apple Syndication Dev mailing list.

However, the one at the usual URL, is no longer the most recent or the one you see when you click the “Technical Specifications” link in the “Submit a Podcast” page in iTunes itself. That now links to this page, last updated 2005-12-07. No changes to the tags themselves, as far as I can see, just a better presented document with more information. There is also a FAQ here.

I was going to post this after posting to the Syndication Dev List, with the usual “this has been updated and nobody has mentioned it!” rantette, but list moderator Ernie beat me to it.

iTunes Podcast Reviews

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

I notice iTunes has extended customer reviews in the iTunes Music Store to podcasts in the last couple of weeks (although they didn’t seem to be working at first). This is something I mentioned was missing before.

iTunes Ratings Screenshot

Currently there is no way to see the the top-rated podcasts in one place, but it’s better than the “Today’s Top Podcasts” for getting an idea of what’s good and what’s not.

I know many podcasters think it would be better still to replace that chart with something that keeps track of subscriptions over time, and I agree. That is where stuff like Podcast Alley‘s voting system works better, requiring listeners to make their views known on a monthly basis in quick and easy fashion.

But anyway, it’s good to see this addition in iTunes.

iTunes RSS Specification Update

Monday, November 7th, 2005

There has been some discussion on Apple’s Syndication Dev mailing list lately about an update to the iTunes RSS specification, available in the mailing list archives and FAQ.

The specification includes some new tags, changes to the namespace location and clarification on other items, and while it still needs some improvement it’s another step in the right direction and a much bigger one than the last time. It also includes useful information on iTunes submission timescales, missing image problems and tips on how to get your podcast featured on the iTunes Music Store.

All this sounds great, but I wouldn’t have known about the updated spec to ask to see it, had I not heard Madge Weinstein ranting about it in an excerpt from her show played on the Daily Source Code. We’d been promised a look at this new spec on the mailing lists, and this spec, dated October 20th, didn’t appear until requested. Anyway, thanks Madge!

The spec has not yet officially replaced the one dated 7/7/2005 but the functionality is live in iTunes and Sam Ruby has updated FeedValidator accordingly, which is great because FeedValidator practically runs Feeder’s support “department”. The changes are hardly major or screaming urgent; Feeder will be updated in due course.

iTunes Podcast Directory vs. Everything Else

Monday, October 10th, 2005

I like Yahoo’s podcasting directory, I think it works well and I was trying to work out why. I guess it comes down to giving listeners more “say” or control over their podcasts that is more in the spirit of podcasting itself, as shown by the likes of Podcast Alley and Odeo. You can rate podcasts, comment on individual shows and add “folksonomy” tags (i.e. chosen by users rather than a predefined list).

One of the biggest ways I’ve long thought iTunes’ podcatching support is “wrong” (lousy show notes aside) when compared to Safari’s RSS support is that while it’s easy to subscribe to a podcast in iTunes, it doesn’t make it easy for you use the iTunes podcast directory with another podcatcher application such as iPodderX or one of the many podcast-aware newsreaders (e.g. NetNewsWire, NewsMac Pro or NewsFire). With Safari you can choose your RSS reader in its RSS preferences and it always respects that – no world domination stuff. 😉

But now, looking at Yahoo’s directory makes me think back again to the way podcasting was prior to iTunes and has shown me what is actually missing from the iTunes Music Store approach at present. It’s the interaction thing, making you feel a part of your favourite podcasts rather than being a layer away. iTunes has its subscription charts (a daily aggregate?) but that’s about it; there’s no way to say how you feel about something after you’ve subscribed.

Of course, it’s early days and competition is always good. 😀