written by David Steffen
I’ve been listening to fiction podcasts for about 8 years, catching up on the backlog of one podcast before adding another. I’m currently keeping up with about 10 podcasts. I’m weird in that I prefer not to use a podcatcher, because I hate the iTunes podcatcher interface, so I manually download mp3s from the podcast sites and sync them as music tracks.
I don’t know how the podcatcher interface handles it, but for manually downloading episodes, mp3 metadata is everything for being able to find and play the songs on the iPod because it uses the metadata for sorting. I see some podcasts using these for ideal sorting, and others not so much or changing how they set the metadata from month to month and year to year. So, for certain podcasts I find myself manually editing the metadata over and over again, so I’m writing up this guide for suggestions.
So, here’s some tips for some metadata to pay particular attention to, if you want your metadata to handle sorting properly.
If you use the podcast name as the “Album” field that will put all of your podcast episodes in a single directory in the album level, so they’re easy to find together.
This may seem the easiest one to fill out, but I do find it especially helpful if the track number and the story title are in the name so that you can more easily pick up where you left off in a chain of episodes. i.e. “EP588: Rocket Surgery”
- Track Number
If you make this the episode number, it makes the sorting work very nicely. There doesn’t seem to be an upper limit on the number, or at least none of the podcasts I listen to have hit it.
- Album Artist
This is the metadata field that I see filled out badly the most often. Do NOT put the name of the author in this field because it is sorted by this BEFORE the track number–which means the album would be sorted by author name before track number, making episodes impossible to find. Also don’t use it for producer or anything else that might vary from episode to episode for the same reason.You don’t need to fill this field at all. I find myself deleting this metadata more than any other to get sorting to work properly.
If you want to put the author name in a field, use this one, because tracks are sorted by track number before this. (But again, not necessary, though it’s handy at a glance)