Calling All Podcasters: Be an ID3 Symphony “2”

Choose your feed title, show naming format, artists, genres and album text and stick with it!

For the sake of order in this new and frankly chaotic medium, it is essential that the producers of mainstream shows (I'm looking at you Fausto!) stick to what they have chosen to use for as long as they can.

Changing these details from show to show causes absolute chaos with iTunes and does my head in. As all of you podcasters are intelligent, understanding people who hope for podcasting to be big, I'd honestly take this advice and action it.

Want a perfect example of how podcasts should appear in iTunes? Take a look at Wanda Wisdom's past few 'casts:
  • playlist/feed title: Luck Bitch Radio
  • show nomenclature: Lucky Bitch Radio #[show no.]: [show title]
  • artist: Wanda Wisdom
  • album: Lucky Bitch Radio
  • genre: Humour
That is the ideal way to label your ID3 tags and feed. Everything is correct, understandable and the genre is spot on. You can have "podcast" as a genre if you want, but I prefer "humour" as a genre; it communicates more. Users will know if a file is a podcast or not from simply looking at the other information, especially the title of the track if it is done correctly.

Even if you have guests on your show, like Wanda does, don't put them in your artist tag, because they didn't make the show. DO put them in the comments tag or notes tag, a field which is searchable but people do not sort the files by. It is additional information, not important information. The same goes for the URL of your site (she even does this!).

Clearly there isn't much to do and it's all quite simple. If you're having trouble remembering what convention you want to use, just write it down on a card and put it next to the monitor.

If you aren't happy with the conventions you have been using, think about it, change them and then stick with that. Think hard before changing them, however. Magde Weinstein has recently changed her feed title to Yeast Radio, which is a positive, clever move. I hope it stays that way. Fausto Fernos has been playing with his feed title a bit recently (perhaps not knowingly, though), which has messed up iTunes for me.

Remember that the title of your feed is the title of your show, and that the tagline does not belong here, and you certainly should avoid special charecters like ":" and "@". For example, Fausto's show's feed should be entitled "Feast of Fools" and not "Feast of Fools: a show about everything". Firstly "a show about everything" isn't even consistently used by Fausto as a tagline, so why keep it up in the feed title? Secondly, it gets in the way of the meaning of the title of the feed. Finally, the colon isn't even rendered by iPodder in the iTunes playlist title, and on the iPod it makes the title too long to fill the screen.

Simple, logical changes like this will help podcasting, and improve the experience of podcasting for the masses.

2 Comments ~ Post a Comment

Anonymous Anonymous: Some good points - I would say tho make sure you have tags *full stop* (glaring at Madge's direction, then waving...!) - I'd be happy for anything to be in the tags at all sometimes as iPod software hates missing/corrupt tags...

Also one good point was raised by allthewhile and Mr Curry - on iPods you only have a small space when navigating MP3s - something like 11 characters - this is why I switched to naming my shows 'Radio Clash 30: blah blah blah' as when you're navigating only the first bit shows - when you play the file then the title scrolls. Wanda's (great!) Lucky Bitch Radio is unfortuantely too long so you see something like Lucky Bitch R.. for each file, and it's difficult to work out which one.

And consistency is king - I find it annoying when I have 20 different MP3s all by the same person and all in different albums - this is why Radio Clash has always been the Artist, and the Album (lately changed to tim @ but that should stay)...I don't want to put my name as people shouldn't have to remember my name, too. Album's a funny one really...

I diagree about the Genre: Humour thing tho; I've noticed this, I'd rather navigate all my podcasts by Genre as 'Podcast' - many things can be humour from different media, but only podcasts are podcasts.

tim @ Radio Clash

Blogger Fin: I've heard your pleas for tagging, Tim!

You might be right about the genre thing, and I definitely think that space is an issue.

Perhaps a good idea, which is used quite a bit when naming files, is to do initials like YR, FoF, LBR and RC.

I'd also like to add that I prefer episode numbers over dates, because you know where you are immediately with numbers.

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