ID3 Tags: An Open Letter to Podcasters

9 Jan

If you’re not a podcaster, you have my total blessing to skip over this post, ‘cuz otherwise you’re gonna be way bored. But if you’re a podcaster in any genre, please read on, I’m talking to you! 🙂

I’ve been using an iPod Mini for a few years now, but recently made the transition to a Blackberry Pearl. Sure, it doesn’t have as snazzy an interface, but with a 6GB microSD card it actually has more storage capacity than my vintage Mini, plus now my media player and phone are converged into one device, which makes my life way easier (especially for travel . . . one less device and charger to care about!).

But see, here’s the thing. I’d gotten really spoiled by iTunes, which “knew” the difference between podcasts and plain old everyday MP3 files. (You’re a podcaster, so you know that technically they’re the same type of file, just typically being downloaded through a different delivery mechanism.) I guess iTunes knew this because the podcatcher was fully integrated, but now that I live in the world of plain-old-media-players I’ve got a separate podcatcher, and my Blackberry’s media player simply looks at the files using ID3 tags, sorting them accordingly. And since I listen to a truckload of podcasts in various genres, I’ve now developed a tiny little bit of opinion about ID3 tag usage. I can easily browse through my music library based on the ID3 tags for Genre, Artist, or Album. It’s not easy (and maybe not possible) for the media player to let me just browse through the file system, at least not on this particular version of Crlackberry software.

Now, what on earth does this mean? Well, the most important thing is that if you don’t use any ID3 tags at all, the only way I can find this week’s episode of your podcast is if I happen to know the file name (and of course, I usually don’t). If you’ve filled in Genre, Artist, or Album, I can find you way more easily. And if you use these tags consistently from week to week, I not only can find you this week, but can easily find you from week to week, since I know where to look. It would be really especially super awesome if there was some consistency among various podcasters (like, say, if they all used the Genre “podcast”), but I realize that would be asking for entirely too much.

I know a ton of podcast listeners use iTunes, so for them this isn’t much of an issue, but I also know that plenty of music players use ID3 tags, so there’s probably a good handful of us sorting through the files that way. So please, if you could take a few minutes to fill out those ID3 tags, it would make things a little easier on some of your listeners.

kthxbai!

3 Responses to “ID3 Tags: An Open Letter to Podcasters”

  1. Dan! January 10, 2008 at 12:09 am #

    Is our show working okay for you?
    -Dan!

  2. Jennifer January 10, 2008 at 12:10 am #

    Yessiree Dan! Thanks. 🙂

  3. spamandspam January 10, 2008 at 5:17 am #

    Finding a good way to tag podcasts was one of our number one priorities when we started up http://www.indietravelpodcast.com a year ago; it’s a great point and one that needs to be taken seriously.

    Consistency in file names can also be important, since some systems don’t show the ID3 info at all!

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