Truth about iTunes Subscriptions and Dropped pingPodcast – TAP032

What you’ve heard about iTunes’s auto “unsubscribing” and pingPodcast is probably wrong. Hear some truth plus two new launches for podcasters.


iTunes’s automatic “unsubscribing”

It’s an often-taught misconception that iTunes will automatically unsubscribe people from a podcast if they don’t listen to recently downloaded episodes. The truth is that, although they will not show up in any of your stats as a downloader or subscriber, their subscription is only paused until they listen to an episode or tell iTunes to resume updating the podcast.

Apple drops pingPodcast from iTunes directory

“pingPodcast” is a method for updating your podcast listing in the iTunes Store podcast directory. pingPodcast has nothing to do with how your subscribers receive your episodes. When someone subscribes to your podcast via iTunes, they are directly connected to your RSS feed and only have to rely on their iTunes software’s settings for how often it checks that feed for new episodes (the default is once daily).

More more information, read “Apple Drops iTunes Podcast Directory Update Listing/Ping (pingPodcast) Function” by Angelo Mandato and “Apple removes Ping Feature Podcasters Need from iTunes!” by Todd Cochrane.

For a laugh, here’s that actual response I received from Gary, iTunes Store Senior Advisor.

… Ping feature has been subsumed by Advanced in the self-calibrating RSS reader.

Blubrry PowerPress 2.0

PowerPress is the best podcasting plugin for WordPress, and it just got better with PowerPress 2.0! It’s best feature are HTML5 video and audio players, options for listeners to embed your episode on their site, and enhanced episode entry. Read the PowerPress 2.0 announcement for more information.

Podcast Perspective is a new podcast about podcasting

Steve Riekeberg comes from an audio-production background, so I look forward to what he’ll share in his just-launched Podcast Perspective (maybe I’m sharing this prematurely).

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  • J van Harling

    OS X Spotlight can search in the "current" folder go to : Finder>>Preferences>>Advanced
    -"When preforming search" select "Search the current folder"

    • Daniel Lewis

      Handy! That wasn't there in OS X 10.5. But it still defaults to contents rather than file name. Thanks for pointing this out!

      • J van Harling

        Sorry that i cannot be of more help, myself i usually begin by typing the file extension, and work back from there, (maybe there is a good 3rd party tool, but i honestly don`t know of any from personal experience)

  • Robert Herrington

    Thanks for the most excelent explanation on the iTunes pingPodcast dropage. Looking forward to a Blubrry PowerPress 2.0 review!

    • Daniel Lewis

      Thanks! Do you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch? Visit my site on it and play the audio. You should see the awesomeness that is included for free with PowerPress 2.0. (Hint: HTML5 audio/video player!)

  • Steve Riekeberg

    Thanks for mentioning Podcast Perspective, Daniel! I admit I was surprised to see this as I haven't done any promotion yet–though I'm kind of glad, because before I could record the second episode, I came down with a severe infection that grew into pneumonia, which is the reason for a brief delay in production.
    My passion is podcasting and new media, so I'm in this for the long haul. There are already a few "podcasts about podcasting," but I wanted to bring my own unique perspective.

    • Daniel Lewis

      Great to have you on the ride, Steve! Just like I mentioned in episode 31, we're all painting a three- or four-dimensional object of "podcasting," but each from our own perspectives. I look forward to hearing what you cover!

  • Completely Comics

    Was the Ping quote from 'Hunt for Red October?'

    • Daniel Lewis

      Yes, it was! You get 200,317 points! When I was a kid, The Hunt for Red October was my mom's favorite movie, and she would often quote the line, "One ping, and one ping only" (albeit not a verbatim quotation).

  • Acerimmer

    Great podcast! I've enjoyed it and learned much. Presently prepping my own podcast. Decided my UbuntuStudio gear would benefit from a mixer/mic addition. But will that work with linux?

    • Daniel Lewis

      Thanks! But I can't speak for Linux. If your new equipment connects to your PC via USB (which is what I suggest if you're not recording into a separate recorder), then you may need Linux-specific drivers.

  • kiatlc

    Hi Daniel, how to change how frequent the itunes check for podcast update? I don't see this option

    • Daniel Lewis

      To change your podcast download frequency, follow these steps (based on iTunes 10.x).

      Go to Podcasts in iTunes (not the podcasts directory, but your subscriptions).
      Click the "Settings" button in the lower-left.
      Switch "Settings for" to "Podcast defaults."
      Now change "Check for new episodes" to whatever frequency you want: every hour, every day (the default), every week, or manually.
      Click OK.

  • @salliegoetsch

    Good explanations of both your main topics. Though when you first mentioned "the truth about Ping Podcast," it seemed as though you were suggesting that podcasters shouldn't be upset that it had been removed, and was a bit surprised when you worked around to agreeing that we should. I knew exactly what it did and didn't do, but found it inconvenient not to have the option.

    I think the Apple engineer must have been referring to the RSS reader built into iTunes in that cryptic response (not so much "the truth about Ping Podcast" as "the obfuscation about Ping Podcast"). There's no RSS reader involved in *producing* your podcast feed for iTunes.

    BTW, "subsume" rhymes with "resume."

    And "Goetsch" rhymes with "sketch." Just so you know.

    • Daniel Lewis

      Hi, Sallie! Thanks for your comment.

      My point was to clarify to podcasters what pingPodcast actually did. Most of the podcasters I heard talk about it thought it meant their subscribers wouldn't get episodes as quickly.

      I don't see how the podcatching ability of iTunes would update a podcast's iTunes directory listing.

      "Subsume"? Yeah, after the episode, I asked myself, "Did I really pronounce that 'subsummed' the whole time?"

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