How To Change Your Podcast RSS Feed In iTunes – iTunes Redirect

by Cliff Ravenscraft on August 27, 2011

Occasionally, I will have a client who has set up their own podcast, before finding me, where they had submitted the direct rss feed from their blogger, podbean, Blog Talk Radio, or any other 3rd party account to iTunes. These people typically call me when they are ready to take their podcast to the next level, which usually means moving their site and rss feed to their own hosted WordPress installation.

The question that comes up most often is, “How do I change my rss feed to a new location without losing all my subscribers?” The second most common question is, “How do I get iTunes to change my directory listing to pull from my new rss feed?”

The good news is that iTunes does have some code that you can put into your rss feed that, if added, will tell iTunes to change their listing for your podcast to a whole new feed address. This will also work for those who are already subscribed to your podcast in iTunes, in such a way that the next time they check to see if there is an update on your old podcast feed, it will see the redirect code and automatically change their subscription to the new rss feed.

Many times, these clients are with a service that will HOLD THEIR RSS FEED HOSTAGE. This means that the 3rd party services does have the ability to add this little line of code to your podcast rss feed on their server. However, they simply refuse to do so.

Since you do not have access to manually change your rss feed on their server, your rss feed, and all your subscribers are held hostage. If this happens to you, I encourage you to listen to episode 200 of Podcast Answer Man to hear the advice that I give to these clients.

There are a handful of people who have either hand coded their own podcast rss feeds or used a program like Podcast Maker to create a podcast.xml file that they have full control over. You might think if someone has complete control over their own rss feed, there would be no added benefit of using a service like Feedburner.

However, in the following video, I share where I had a client who had his own podcast.xml feed on his own server, but needed to change the location of the feed to another location. Had he taken his own podcast feed and sent it through Feedburner, before submitting to iTunes, it would be as simple as changing one setting in Feedburner to change the location of rss feed without losing a single subscriber.

This video is a little more geeky than usual. It shows only the iTunes Redirect portion of what needs to be done in a circumstance like this. I am posting this here because I know that there are several other people out there who do have control over their own podcast.xml file and will need to do an iTunes re-direct to point existing subscribers and their existing iTunes directory to a new rss feed location.

Here’s the video:

I am happy to announce that we implemented the new podcast.xml file and it worked perfectly! His iTunes Listing now correctly shows the Feedburner Feed and anyone who hits that feed over the next few weeks will get automatically updated and then he will take that domain and point it over to his new site. Anyone who may still have the old rss feed after that can simply go in and resubscribe from there.

UPDATE 1/1/2012: I had someone write to me telling me that they were confused because they were using Mobile Me which had given them a podcast.html file and they assumed that this “html” file was where I was putting the code. It took them a while to realize that their rss feed was actually listed as “rss.xml”. Once they updated their rss.xml as shown in this video, everything worked fine.

So the important thing to understand is that your RSS feed may be something other than podcast.xml. I suppose it’s possible that your rss feed could be something other than a .xml extension. Please just take note that adding the iTunes tag for redirect is going to go in your podcast’s rss feed file, whatever it may be called.

19 comments
wowcakesenterprises
wowcakesenterprises

I use podbean but my annual subscription expired. Trying to renew through Paypal but d link from podbean.com goes nowhere. I checked their Help section & requested for a special Paypal renewal link, but got no response. Even directly tweeted them, still nothing. Do u Hv a personal contact in Podbean.com? I do enjoy their service & want to renew. My Podcast name is WOW! You Notice! Or send an email to wowcakes@yahoo.com Highly appreciated

BrandonKrieger
BrandonKrieger

Hi Cliff, 


I have a weird situation. I have an old podcast called "Social Media The Truth" that I was doing a year ago. I stop doing it because I got to busy with my business and working with clients. I want to get back to doing it again and just found out the company I was using no longer is supporting me unless I pay, long story. 


How do I get access to my old iTunes Podcast to be able to 


1) Change the image, update the bio...etc

2) Start being able to upload new podcasts. 


Thanks Cliff 



jlacy12
jlacy12

What do you think about the rumors of FeedBurner being shut down?  Should I switch my feed from FeedBurner to the RSS feed on my actual website?

brettbum
brettbum

Hey Cliff,First great seeing you again at New Media Expo last week.  Think we first met in New York briefly outside of a session there.Second, There's a slight typo in the blog article above where it says, "How to I change my rss feed to a new location without losing all my subscribers?”  Should be "How Do I change" not "How TO I change" Third, my friend @mmcallen (whom may need your help or referral) has a 6 year old podcast.  It runs through wordpress and into feedburner.  The feedburner feed is the one listed in iTunes, but there seems to be something that has broken or become 'stuck' in Feedburner. When we look at the regular Wordpress feed (add feed after the domain or even /feed/podcast/ generated from Powerpress, the feeds are fine.Feedburner seems to be stuck showing a php error in the wordpress functions.php file and that error does not exist!  (Ergo it seems like Feedburner saw an error there, maybe a few days or a few weeks ago possibly as long ago as Novmeber.  The error is no longer there but Feedburner is not resolving it out.  We've tried re-pinging feedburner over and over and it doesn't fix things.At this point, if we can't fix feedburner(any tips or recommendations welcome), then it seems that our only step is to try to replace the feedburner feed listing in iTunes. Is that even possible since Feedburner doesn't seem to be working we can't add a line of code to the xml file that would run through it? Does that only leave us with the (bad) option of trying to submit a new show and losing past subscribers on iTunes?Do you think it might 'shake things loose' in Feedburner if we replace our current Wordpress feed abc.com/feed to something different  like xyz.com/feed just to get Feedburner to try to read things again and get past the error that is not there?  Then turn it back to the correct domain, and then run the line of script through abc.com/feed telling iTunes to stop looking through feeds.feedburner.com/abcfeed and instead go straight to abc.com/feed (bipassing broken feedburner)?Is this too screwed up to answer in a comment and maybe we need to call you on the phone for some pro help?  :) 

lydp101
lydp101

My client had setup and itunes account for his podcasts.  He was using the another persons server to hold his podcast.  He recently has found that he needs to move the files from that other person's server over to his server.   itunes still reflects the old server for the files.   How do I switch the url in itunes so that it access the podcast from the new server? 

Jwhosky
Jwhosky

My client has a new domain and hosting. He has a current itunes podcast that was submitted through the former server. I created a new feed on feedburner like you said to do.  I transfered all the files for the podcast over to the new server and used the itunes redirect tag to point the xml to the new feedburner feed.  But when I choose the subscribe button on itunes store for his podcast, it still tries to download the old server xml address, but there are no files on that server because the old host guy removed that domain.  I can manually subscribe to the podcast and it shows up just like your example, but If I take the old subscription from itunes store and chose to refresh it, it comes up as old url still, which of course has no media files on it anymore....thoughts?

RyanShepard
RyanShepard

I use wordpress with the PowerPress Plugin, I recently changed the Primary URL for my Host and I was wondering how can I redirect the subscribers on my old feed (which is no longer hosted) to my new feed

rebelbroker
rebelbroker

I use feedburner for my RSS feed to iTunes specifically so that if I move my show, I can easily point itunes to the new location. This has worked fine, up until I got a message in Feedburner telling me that the file size of the RSS feed was too large (500 and something KB was the limit) and I found that the result was that once it hit that limit, it did not add my new shows.

 

I fixed this issue my limiting the number of entries that my rss feed from blogtalkradio puts out. However, I then discovered that my ranking in my category in iTunes dropped. I went from being one of the front page shows to appearing toward the bottom of page 2.

 

I could solve this by pointing my blogtalkradio feed directly to itunes and cutting out feedburner, but I would then be possibly held hostage by blogtalkradio if/when I move my show in the future.

 

Any suggestions?

nerve
nerve

I am continuing an existing iTunes podcast channel, but I do not have samples of past xml files nor any information where the previous podcast maker uploaded the xml to get the URL feed. I need to add new episodes to the channel and I am wondering how to go about this? Can I just upload the xml to any site? I tried creating a new xml where I indicated the new audio file and included the URL of the existing iTunes channel, and uploaded the xml file to google sites. After getting the URL feed, I submitted this to iTunes but what happened was iTunes created an entirely new channel. I tried updating this new channel by adding another audio file and uploading the xml to the same google site, but iTunes won't accept the URL feed saying that this file seems to have been submitted already. I'm at a lost. I'm wondering what steps am I not doing correctly and what should I do to successfully update the existing iTunes channel? Thank you in advance for your advice.

RonaldRenwick
RonaldRenwick

I don't have an FTP uploader. I just have my pod at podOmatic. I submitted my podOmatic link to iTunes. How do i make iTunes point to my feed burner link?

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft

I've not used their service. If you have access to manually change the code of your feed there, then yes, you can do this. If not, you can ask them to manually edit the feed for you. They "CAN" do this, even if they tell you they can't.

If they tell you that they can't or will not.. Then I would recommend that you check out my podcast episode at http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/hostage

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft

I've not used their service. If you have access to manually change the code of your feed there, then yes, you can do this. If not, you can ask them to manually edit the feed for you. They "CAN" do this, even if they tell you they can't. If they tell you that they can't or will not.. Then I would recommend that you check out my podcast episode at http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/hostage

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

 @brettbum Thanks for the heads up on the typo. Just fixed it.  As for the issue you are sharing regarding @MMCallen, I'm afraid that would take some one on one time to investigate what is happening there.

 

I just returned from a seven day trip to Las Vegas for New Media Expo and CES.  As you can imagine, my email inbox is backed up with hundreds of questions just like this.    My own one-on-one consulting/coaching is booked through the end of May.  However, I do have a network of other consultants that I can refer folks out to.

 

If you could have your friend email me the information above at Cliff@PodcastAnswerMan.com, I would then forward that email on to someone who could provide assistance in this area.

 

I hope you understand.

Thanks

Cliff

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

 @lydp101 If you email me, I can refer you to a consultant who can help you with that move.  It's not something that I can easily answer inside a comment here on the site.  Every case involving moving a podcast requires specialized attention to the specifics of your current and desired setup.

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

 @Jwhosky This would take some one on one work to get into your situation.  My own consulting/coaching schedule is booked for the next month.  However, if you email me, I can refer you to another podcast consultant that can help.  My email address is Cliff@PodcastAnswerMan.com

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

 @RyanShepard Ryan, every setup is  a bit different.  There is no quick and easy answer to your question.  This is why I recommend using Feedburner to setup your feed as I show in video number five of http://LearnHowToPodcast.com.  

 

I might suggest that you reach out for some detailed help in the PowerPress support forum at http://forum.blubrry.com/index.php/board,26.0.html   This would cost you a lot less than my one-on-one coaching/consulting time which is $300/hr with a minimum of one hour per call.

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

 @rebelbroker You could create your own rss feed, manually or with something like "Podcast Maker," which would link to all episodes.  Then use that as your original feed.

brettbum
brettbum

 @Cliff Ravenscraft Yep I do understand!  I didn't stick around for CES this time and only barely starting to get out of the weeds from travel let alone regular business.  :)

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