Are Apple rewriting your podcast MP3 ID3 tags??

On today’s Daily Source Code, Adam Curry mentions that when a podcast gets downloaded and synced through iTunes, Apple are rewriting the ID3 tags in the MP3 file – editing it and replacing some fields with info from the RSS feed.

WTF?? – Was my initial reaction. But I do wonder what people think about this, if it;s true. It’s clearly just as bad as the feed manipulation Podshow were seen to be doing.

At least poshow fixed it. I doubt Apple will.

What do YOU think?

Apple still make it impossible to copy and paste a podcast RSS feed (hidden behind the ‘i’ icon, AFTER you susbscribe using iTunes) so you can subscribe using a different reader. I suppose the only thing to do is use another podcast feed reader (podcatcher).
The KoolAid effect around the iPod is staggering. No one who owns one has any idea how the rest of the world without an iPod or iTunes is doing things. It’s like AOL’s early walled garden kidding users that there was not a world wide web out there. So many people think that to get podcasts, they need an iPod. So many people are forced into using iTunes, which is one of the worst bits of software I have ever been forced to use. I mean it.

I got an iPod to just see for myself what all the fuss is about. Sure, I too can get swept off my feet my a lovely, well-built gadget but the user experience with iTunes and the iPod has been awful. I wonder if it would be different if I didn’t know as much as I do about the alternatives and freedom available.

I’m amazed Steve Jobs didn’t announce an iPadlock at yesterday’s WWDC. Foolproof lockin for the masses.

I do love my MacBookPro though. Can’t wait for the winter. Mmmm, toasty. 😉


  • I had a couple posts along these lines (while you were sunning yourself on the beach). My examples were the NY Times and the Gillmor Gang that “my” user exerience was much better when subscribing through iTunes, as opposed to NetNewsWire.

    While I have not completely committed all my podcasts to iTunes, it is pretty interesting to see how aggregators support/mangle the ID3 tags.

  • Actually itunes changing tags is an old story and only part of it. They also rename mp3 files. When I checked out this previously though I think I found that it only happens if you use the itunes feed. If you drag the native feed from the site onto itunes it doesn’t manipulate anything.

    As for getting feed info out of itunes, you can export your entire subscription list as an opml file. Just go your podcast subscription list, go to the file menu and export song list. You can export an opml file that can then be sucked into any other podcatcher or aggregator.

    Finally on the ipod interface, I have tried other players, and without a doubt the scroll wheel is far and away the best interface for quickly and easily navigating long lists of artists/songs on the device. It is vastly superior to any of the buttons, vertical scroll strips and other devices I have seen. The ui is not perfect but I do think it is the best out there at this time. The ipod may not have all the other features of other devices but the reality is that the majority of people don’t use most of those features anyway. When you have podcasts and thousands of songs, who needs a radio tuner? The only real feature I would like to see added is built-in bluetooth, for my wireless headphones so I don’t have to use a dongle.

  • Oh, I can not stand the whole “iPod” thing that has been going on for the past couple of years. There are so many, far more superior, mp3 players out there that DO NOT mess with the coding.

  • This is nothing new. iTunes has rewritten ID3 tags and filenames since podcasting support first came out over a year ago (and Curry noted it back then too). It sucks, But I just learned to make sure my RSS shownotes matched what I wanted in the end — the file gets renamed to the RSS Title, and the Album and Artist to whever are in the various elements in the RSS feed.

    But there is no way to change the genre from “Podcast,” though, and no way to make a podcast behave as one (keeping its place in an MP3 file, for instance) without downloading it via RSS. Lame. I keep writing feedback to Apple about it, to no avail so far. I have an indirect conduit into the iLife group, but that seems to deal with GarageBand and iWeb, but not iTunes, which lives in another development bunch, I think.