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Player FM Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Overview: About Podcasting and Player FM

What's Player FM?
Player FM is a podcast player you can use in your browser
What's a Podcast?
Short definition: A podcast is a recurring audio programme delivered over the internet. Now let's clarify that. Podcasts don't have to be audio, but I'm focusing on audio for now, and particularly spoken-word audio such as news and conversations. They can cover any topic from technology news to business to fashion trends, and they can be created by an individual barking passion-fueled opinions at their phone or a global news organisation recording in a professional studio. People sometimes use "podcast" to refer to an individual show or a whole series of shows, so where possible, we use the terms "series" and "episode" to make the distinction clear.
Who made this?

Michael Mahemoff. I'm a full-stack web developer who has been into podcasting since it began in 2004, on both the publishing and listening side, with occasional forays into the developer side too. I left my last full-time job at Google in 2011, did some contracting, tried some experiments, and really got going on Player FM in early 2012. I have since worked with a great team of freelancers for specific tasks, e.g. managing content and delivering specific software components. Podcast Of The Day is also run by a researcher with my close supervision.

Why did you make Player FM?

Like many people who love podcasts, I had a hard time finding podcasts to listen to. The "top 10" podcasts don't always hold much interest for me, and it's in the millions of little niches that podcasts shine over traditional radio. I wanted to build a service to help discover podcasts and let me keep subscriptions in the cloud so I can share them with others. I've blogged about various ideas and frustrations with podcasting over the years and I decided to do something about it.

Why play podcasts on a website?
Podcasts were originally designed to be downloaded, and that's still a fine idea. But most podcast apps these days, including iTunes, provide the ability to stream shows on demand. The nice thing about this is you can try a podcast a few times before subscribing to it. Player FM takes it a step further by letting you listen to podcasts without even downloading and installing an app. Even less friction for people getting into podcasts. Some publishers already provide their own interfaces to play podcasts, but the experience is different on every site and it's not possible to listen to all of your favorite podcasts in one place. Many don't provide play links at all, just offering a "Subscribe in iTunes" link. Player FM aims to make podcasts simple.
Then why did you develop a mobile app?
I initially expected people might play their subscriptions channel through third-party apps, since each Player FM channel has an RSS feed. However, the stats indicated even early adopters didn't show much interest in this, so I decided to investigate if a mobile app was feasible. Early discussions, then early prototypes, indicated demand for such a thing, so we proceeded with it.
Can you make Player FM do ... ?

I hope so. Please click on Feedback & Support and add the suggestion or visit our Suggestion Parlour. Or get in touch directly at mike@player.fm and @playerfm on Twitter.

Please add my (favorite) podcast.

Sure, why not. Please submit as many podcasts as you like and we'll usually add them within a day.

Signing Up and Logging In

It says "account was already connected to a different Player FM user" when I logged in via Twitter/Google. What should I do?

This message means you attempted to connect to Twitter/Google while logged in (e.g. from the signup or settings page), but the account you connected was in fact already connected to another Player FM account. This could happen if you had connected via Twitter and then connected again via Google in another browser. If you'd rather have one account, please mail mike@player.fm for assistance.

Player FM in Mobile Devices and Integrating with Third-Party Applications (e.g. iTunes)

How can I add a podcast series to my channel?
Just hit the subscribe button beside any podcast series. Your channel is a public collection of your podcast subscriptions.
How can I add a podcast series to my channel if it's not already in Player FM?
In your channel, hit the "Edit" tab and you'll find instructions there.
How can I import my iTunes subscriptions, or subscriptions from other apps?
As with previous question - in your channel, hit the "Edit" tab and you'll find instructions there.
Can I listen to Player FM on my phone or tablet?

Player FM runs nicely in most modern smartphone and tablet browsers, including iPhones, iPads, and many Android devices. Just point your web browser to http://player.fm and you're good to go. In most cases, you can switch to another app and the track will keep playing. On iPhones,iPads, and iPod Touches, you can also control playback on the lock-screen, just like with iTunes.

Can I add Player FM to my phone/tablet's home screen?

Yes, browsers on both iPhone and Android let you add any website to your homepage. So you can add Player FM and it will look just like an app you installed from the device's store/market. Instructions for iPhone. Instructions for Android.

Can I listen to Player FM when I'm not online?

If you're on Android, this is now possible. For other devices, you can still subscribe to your channel - or any other - with any mobile podcast app. Read on!

How can I subscribe to a Player FM channel in iTunes or Google Reader?

Just click on the iTunes or Google icon just below the channel button. These are the second and third icons in the screenshot below. For iTunes, you'll need to do this on a computer with iTunes installed as it will open the channel as a podcast in iTunes. For Google, it wil bring up a subscription button in another browser window.

How can I subscribe to a Player FM channel in my favorite podcast app (other than iTunes or Google Reader)?

All the major podcast apps let you add an RSS feeds. The RSS Feed is shown in orange on the list of link and we also provide a convenient short URL to the RSS link. Please consult the player's documentation if you're not sure how to add it. Or ask us, we'll try our best to help!

What's the OPML export for?

Each channel has an OPML link, and it serves as an alternative to RSS. The OPML format is a list of all your subscriptions, so you can re-subscribe to them all separately in another podcast app. In contrast, the RSS format is a live, always-updated, stream of new content from your channel. It combines all episodes into a single feed.

Should I use RSS or OPML?

For typical use, we'd recommend RSS. But read on for more detail ...

The benefits of the RSS method are:

  • The channel entry in the other podcast app will be "live", meaning that it will reflect any new series the channel owner discovers and adds to the channel. It will also reflect series they remove.
  • It's linked to the channel page at Player FM, so with most podcast apps, you'll easily be able to jump back into the channel.
  • It's super-simple and will work with any podcast app. (Not all support OPML importing.)

The benefits of the OPML method are:

  • In your podcast app, you'll get a separate entry for every podcast series, with its own archive of episodes.
  • By downloading and storing the OPML, you'll have a permanent list of the series in a channel, should you ever wish to stop using player fm. (In contrast, the RSS feed is only a snapshot of the latest episodes across all series.)

User Interface Issues

Why are the fast-forward and rewind buttons sometimes hidden?

This occasionally happens on iOS (iPhone/iPod/iPad). If we determine that fast-forwarding or rewinding is not possible, we hide the controls to avoid confusion. But why would fast-forward and rewind not be possible? It can happen for various reasons concerning the connection and the server sending out the show. Since Player FM streams directly - and in real-time - from third-parties, we don't always have control over the precise communication details, so we can't do much to prevent it at this time. Over time, we will hopefully be able to develop workarounds and, when necessary, work with publishers to enhance their streams.


I'm a developer. Can I make a podcasting app with Player FM data?
We have an API under development. For now, you can access a basic JSON-formatted payload of channels and users by appending ".json" to their respective URLs, e.g. http://player.fm/featured/cooking.json and http://player.fm/user.json. Please mail mike@player.fm with any suggestions or comments.


I'm a publisher I have a comment/suggestion/question.
Please mail mike@player.fm. I'm very interested in feedback from podcast publishers about how Player FM can help to promote their podcast.

Privacy and Sharing

What's public and what's not?
To keep our initial service simple, all channel data is public. This means your subscriptions and favorite channels are public. We do plan to support private subscriptions in the future. Your listening data is not public. We may in the future make it possible for you to let others know what your listening to.
What's available to third parties?

We want to help open up podcasting, so content is released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, the same license used by Wikipedia. This license applies only to our catalogues and public, user-generated, content on the Player FM website, such as reviews and subscriptions lists. This is analogous to StackOverflow's Creative Commons license for data such as users' questions, answers and comments. We feel this data can be put to use to make podcasting a better medium for everyone.

To be clear, the Creative Commons license explicitly does not apply to any audio content, show descriptions, titles, and other material belonging to the podcast publishers. Player FM aggregates podcast content based on public syndication feeds and does not own the audio content it showcases, nor the metadata such as descriptions and titles.

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