Friday, April 23, 2021

iTunes Podcast Directory Now Hiding Feed URLs

Marco Arment:

Something’s up with the iTunes API (that most podcast apps use). This isn’t the first missing feedUrl I’ve seen on a public podcast.

Removing this API will make Apple an enemy of open podcasting FAR more than optional paid subscriptions.

Benjamin Mayo:

Apple Podcasts Connect has a ‘Make my feed publicly available’ option so maybe the backend is screwed up whilst they transition databases or something.

Marco Arment:

This checkbox needs to be seriously rethought.

Novice podcasters won’t know the ramifications of unchecking it (not being visible to a huge portion of podcast listeners who use other apps).

Nathan Gathright:

For new shows, it’s checked by default. It looks like existing shows are getting accidentally opted out when they make any change in Podcasts Connect.

Stephen Robles:

Turns out, every one of the checkboxes were unchecked. Podcasters, double check your shows.

Art Crime Podcast:

Approx 15 hours after opting my podcast back INTO being discoverable, it still no longer appears in show results, only episode results.

Marco Arment:

Losing feed URLs from the iTunes API dramatically raises the barrier for new podcast apps to exist and increases the burden on new podcasters to be visible everywhere.

Removing feed URLs from the iTunes API does FAR more damage to the open podcast ecosystem, and changes Apple from a multi-decade benevolent protector to a destructive adversary, much more than introducing proprietary subscriptions.

Russell Ivanovic:

If you think this RSS feed thing going on with Apple Podcasts is just a launch glitch and it’s smooth sailing from here…my 12 years of App Development experience says otherwise. Have fun!


Update (2021-04-23): Justin Jackson:

Got a DM from someone at Apple.

I asked about the RSS submission bugs:

“We’ve been having issues with the crawler. Hoping to have it resolved today.” 👍

I asked why public RSS URLs were removed from the API:

“That’s a bug. There was no intention to remove feed URLs en masse.”

This is the sort of thing that would have been good to mention on the System Status page.

He wrote that yesterday, and it was still broken when I started writing this post, but as of now it looks to me like it’s fixed. (Or, I suppose, all the podcasts that I thought to check have manually opted in.)

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Never been a better time to switch to

Fortunately, all of the non-Apple podcasts I subscribe to have web home pages that include a direct RSS link. I've copied them all to a local text file, in preparation for the day when Apple decides to drop support for free podcasts (I think it's only a matter of time now).

The only podcast I can't get the URL from is the Apple Events podcast. But I don't care about that one very much, since I always end up watching those events over YouTube.

Anyone have recommendations for a third-party podcast download/player app for macOS and iOS?

FYI, I just found this great web site that is able to extract the podcast RSS URL from any Apple, Google or SoundCloud link URL.

Using it, I was able to get the Apple Events RSS feeds:



@David It’s too bad that Apple removed the OPML export feature when converting iTunes to Podcasts. I like Overcast on iOS and Downcast on Mac.

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