iTunes 4.9 has been released a full month early, and in order to optimize your podcast for it you need to do a little customization of your RSS feed. You can get the full specs of what you need to do directly from Apple:
For those of you keeping track, Odeo has expanded their beta program and sent out a round of beta invitations to those people who registered with the site. Check your inbox for an invitation.
At the moment all that's available for testing is the online directory and background subscription download app (available for Windows and Mac) that integrates with it. The podcast creation tools are not avaialable.
Well, it would have been three shows in three days if sleep deprivation hadn't affected my immune system...this show was actually ready to go back on June 10th but I've been sick seven out of the past 10 days so here we are. In any case, this is the first of two shows offering tips on how to get great sound out of less than great equipment. This one covers how to get an inexpensive mic (particularly a headset mic) to sound as good as possible. Next time we'll look at how to get yourself sounding smooth without the need for lots of post-production editing. Enjoy!
Current rumors are putting the release of iTunes 4.9 at the end of June or the beginning of July...a full 3 weeks ahead of schedule. All podcasters should make sure they have done the following to prepare for this release:
Make sure your podcast has "album" artwork attached, since iTunes will be using it to promote your show. You can do this in iTunes or using the latest version of Windows Media Player.
Make sure you are using ID3 tags properly for the same reason. At the very least your show name should appear as the album title and your name as the artist. The song name should be unique for each show and your URL should be in the comment tag.
Make sure you know what will happen with your web host if you exceed your monthly bandwidth limit. There are 3 possibilities: you'll automatically get bumped to the next account level, your account will be locked, or you'll be charged an exorbitant amount for the extra bandwidth. MAKE SURE IT'S NOT THE LATTER!
If you haven't already done so, either listen to the walkthrough below or watch the demo from the WWDC keynote at http://developer.apple.com ... don't be caught unprepared!
At first glance all looks well, until you start to read more carefully. Then you notice the following:
Out of roughly 6,000 podcasts, only about 20 have over 1,000 subscribers
Only "hundreds" have over 100 subscribers
The average number of subscribers per podcast is 33
Total subscribers to those 6,000 podcasts is around 195,000 listeners (assuming nobody listens to more than one podcast)
Read between the lines and you discover the following:
Roughly half (~2,900) of FeedBurner's podcasts have less than 5 subscribers each
So while the number of podcasts continues to grow at a rapid rate, the number of listeners is not keeping pace (despite well-reported surveys that have claimed otherwise). The good news is that in six weeks this should change with the release of iTunes 4.9.
Two Behind the Scenes in two days...unbelievable! This is another 10-minute show with a walk-through of the podcasting features in the upcoming iTunes 4.9 release, as demonstrated by Steve Jobs at Apple's World-Wide Developers' Conference this past Monday.
Here are the screenshots that go along with it.
This is the podcasting home page at the iTunes Music Store. The box on the bottom left is "Categories" while the one on the far right is "Today's Top Podcasts." The links in the box on the top left are leftovers from the Music Store home page but I can't make out the combo box text. The three white rows in the middle of the page are similar to the ones in the Music Store home page. The top one is "New Releases" but I can't make out the other two.
The main information page for the Daily Source Code. Notice the subscription button and the fact that this podcast is free (implying that iTunes will support podcasts that aren't).
The Podcasts subscription playlist. Notice that each subscribed podcast can be expanded to show the shows available for that podcast. Each show has a button next to it allowing you to download older shows on demand.
Finally, here's the popup menu for Apple's New Music Tuesdays podcast, demonstrating chapters within a podcast, each of which has its own album art!
As promised, here is the first edition of Behind the Scenes in the new format, promising much more than just the hope of new editions in a timely manner...the next edition will be tomorrow and will cover the demo of iTunes 4.9 at Apple's WWDC on Monday.
Why "Back to the Future?" Best response posted as a comment below wins a free t-shirt from http://www.cafepress.com/podcastshop. Deadline for entries is 7 days from the date and time of this post.
Beginning with the next edition, to be published later this week, Behind the Scenes will switch to a "Guerilla-Style" format. The show will be recorded directly to an iRiver iFP-795 in my car using either a $15 Plantronics .audio 70 noise-canceling headset mic during the commute home or a $25 Giant Squid Audio Labs Omnidirectional Mono Microphone during my lunch break. A minimal amount of post-editing will be done if any. The content will be more focused on podcasting news as it applies to the process of podcasting with a continued emphasis on podcasting tips and techniques.
There are several reasons for this switch. First, my schedule is changing for the summer and I'll have less time to devote to studio recording. Second, and just as importantly, I think there is too much emphasis being placed on the need for professional equipment and techniques for podcasts. We've lost sight of podcasting's humble roots and I want to bring the focus back to them for the majority of podcasters who don't necessarily have a lot of time or money to invest in their podcast but who still want to do the best job they can with what they have.
How many podcasts are there at the moment? Steve Jobs mentioned 8,000 during his demo of iTunes 4.9 at the WWDC on Monday, Adam Curry says ipodder.org has 6,000, iPodderX shows 5,000, and Podcast Alley has 3,400. So which number is most accurate? A new directory, PodNova at http://www.podnova.com may have the answer. Their initial directory base has been built by spidering ipodder.org and several other directories and filtering out duplicate URLs and category nodes (both of which ipodder.org apparently includes in its count). Their total? 4,008.
Tired of seeing the same podcasts in the Top 10/Top 50 at Podcast Alley? Want to discover some great shows that never make it to the Top 50? Check out The Podcast Outlaws Network, a great site where you'll find recommendations for shows (based on votes by a core group of podcasters, myself included) that are worth check out but have been lost in the shuffle at Podcast Alley.
If you want to submit your show to the Outlaws team for consideration (you must have at least 5 shows under your belt before doing so) you can do so at http://submit.podcastoutlaws.com
Note: Podcast Outlaws' picks range in content from "G" to "R" but are rated on the site so you can tell in advance what you'll be getting. I don't listen to R-rated shows (personal choice) so I don't vote on them.