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General Discussions => General Discussion => Topic started by: Sawyer on September 07, 2019, 01:48:03 PM

Title: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: Sawyer on September 07, 2019, 01:48:03 PM
I will not rehash all of the reasons why I'm asking this question because it will simply take too long and be filled with profanity.  The short version is that iTunes seems to go to incredible lengths to delete old paywalled podcasts off my hard drive, and just generally has an awful user interface for a company that has spent literally billions of dollars on overall software design.  Some of this is probably a function of planned obsolesce for their own products (and certainly to cause more headaches for Microsoft devotees like myself), but I'm curious if they have any sort of financial agreements with premium Podcast/Audio Streaming companies.  I have never heard anything good about Stitcher, but since Apple actively deletes old content I may have to eventually give in and subscribe to listen to any of my favorite Earwolf shows.

I have no real morale leg to stand on here - if companies feel the need to paywall older content in order to produce new stuff there's no reason why I should get to keep listening to it just because I was savvy enough to download it years ago.  It just seems like Apple is an active participant in this process, despite the fact that they drive people off to *other* services.  I don't understand why this happens without them getting something in return.

#blowmeiTunes
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: Harry Black on September 07, 2019, 02:08:09 PM
I dunno.
If I got given a book for free to help promote it or just as part of a promotional offer, Id be a bit pissed off if I later recieved a bill for it.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: The Latinist on September 07, 2019, 02:45:59 PM
Without more explanation of the issue, I’m not sure I can comment.  I would guess that you’re running up against some sync feature that removes any episode that’s removed from an RSS feed. I highly doubt it is any sort of conspiracy. 
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: John Albert on September 07, 2019, 03:27:00 PM
This is why I quit using Apple products.

I bought an iPod once, and the agonizing experience of using iTunes to manage my media was enough to convince me that Apple is not a company that respects my consumer rights over media usage.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: bachfiend on September 07, 2019, 04:10:36 PM
As a very happy Apple user, I don’t really care if old podcasts are deleted from my library.  I’m not going back to listen to old podcasts, not that I listen to many (I’ve dropped the SGU too).

I’m more concerned with e-books and audiobooks, and as long as Audible and Amazon are in business, I’ll have access to my purchases for ever.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: John Albert on September 07, 2019, 04:45:37 PM
I'm specifically talking about the destructive method that iTunes uses (or used to use; I haven't touched it in years so I don't know if it still operates the same way) to manage its users' media collection.

When I used iTunes, it actually scoured my hard drive and deleted files of my own original music that I had created myself, presumably because it couldn't find any DRM information about them. When I contacted Apple for support about that issue, they told me it was most likely some kind of error in the process of synching my iTunes library between my computer and my iPod. They were useless in helping me resolve the problem. I ended up resorting to a professional data recovery program which took hours to complete.

After that experience, I uninstalled iTunes and replaced it with a 3rd party iPod management application (http://www.yamipod.com/main/modules/home/).

The app was clunky but served passably well until I eventually ditched the iPod altogether for Android phones, which I always outfit with a very large MicroSD card on which I keep all the media I desire to carry along with me.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: bachfiend on September 07, 2019, 04:57:45 PM
I'm specifically talking about the destructive method that iTunes uses (or used to use; I haven't touched it in years so I don't know if it still operates the same way) to manage its users' media collection.

When I used iTunes, it actually scoured my hard drive and deleted files of my own original music that I had created myself, presumably because it couldn't find any DRM information about them. When I contacted Apple for support about that issue, they told me it was most likely some kind of error in the process of synching my iTunes library between my computer and my iPod. They were useless in helping me resolve the problem. I ended up resorting to a professional data recovery program which took hours to complete.

After that experience, I uninstalled iTunes and replaced it with a 3rd party iPod management application (http://www.yamipod.com/main/modules/home/).

The app was clunky but served passably well until I eventually ditched the iPod altogether for Android phones, which I always outfit with a very large MicroSD card on which I keep all the media I desire to carry along with me.

I used to buy music from Apple.  They advised making copies of every download.  Nowadays, I subscribe to Spotify, which is very cheap.  Occasionally I lose access to downloads on a device (apparently because I haven’t used the device recently enough), but recovering them is no problem.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: Tassie Dave on September 07, 2019, 05:23:57 PM
Not a conspiracy, just some poor programming at Apple.

I like iTunes, but it has been a huge mess lately. Not letting me access my movie library via my Apple TV, not recognising my iPad and iPod (all fixed with last update)

BTW I am all Apple so stuff should work seamlessly. It used to until a few months ago, but it isn't as good now.

iTunes is disappearing sometime soon (either this month or next month) and is being replaced by individual apps for Music, Podcast, Movies and TV Shows.
I hope the problems I, and others, am having are just them getting ready to split the services.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: daniel1948 on September 07, 2019, 05:38:14 PM
I am very happy with my Apple devices. iTunes is crap and I don't use it.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: Sawyer on September 07, 2019, 10:20:05 PM
Without more explanation of the issue, I’m not sure I can comment.  I would guess that you’re running up against some sync feature that removes any episode that’s removed from an RSS feed. I highly doubt it is any sort of conspiracy.

There's like five different things it has done at this point.  The most frustrating cascade of mistakes is when I have attempted to unsubscribe and resubscribe because a podcast was not updating, and it boots everything not on the feed anymore.  To make matters worse I've copied those episodes back over from another hard drive, and it decides to split them into two or three separate podcasts.*  Then it sets them all to "delete after playing" by default.  I mark episodes as played.  They get deleted.  I recopy again and turn "delete after playing" off.  Itunes turns it back on.  Deletes the episodes again.  I recopy for a 3rd time ...
 


*I know I'm the last of a dying breed here, but the inability to organize anything manually in media software is infuriating to me.  I've begun to suspect I have a mild form of OCD, which has probably singlehandedly been brought on by Apple.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: Sawyer on September 07, 2019, 10:42:52 PM
This is why I quit using Apple products.

I bought an iPod once, and the agonizing experience of using iTunes to manage my media was enough to convince me that Apple is not a company that respects my consumer rights over media usage.

I actually think this is a much broader problem than with just Apple.  The overall shift with most forms of entertainment media has been away from a user ownership focus to a "renting" approach.  In several areas this is a clear net positive for consumers.  Netflix is a much better bargain than having to buy DVDs or even rent from a video store.  Of course if movies and television get fractioned off into a dozen separate streaming platforms this sets a very large fixed cost for consumers who want access to everything possible, but I don't think we're there yet.  Music is sort of a mixed bag - Pandora, iTunes, and even youtube allow you to consume an overall greater quantity of content, but you have less control and little sense of ownership (along with the je ne sais quoi of holding physical albums in your hands).  The creation DLC and "yearly passes" for games industry is clearly a net negative.  Even without stuff like DLC I'm beginning to realize the way that platforms such as steam encourage overbuying can be downright unhealthy.

What I think is odd is people just 5 years younger than me probably have far less issues with this overall trend.  As someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s the belief that if you like something, you should own it, and you should be able to organize it as you please is deeply ingrained in my psyche.  I would happily pay money for a lot of previously free media if I knew it was mine forever, but I fear that model will soon be gone forever.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: Desert Fox on September 07, 2019, 11:21:04 PM
This is why I quit using Apple products.

I bought an iPod once, and the agonizing experience of using iTunes to manage my media was enough to convince me that Apple is not a company that respects my consumer rights over media usage.

I had an old iPod with the wheel and the interface was horrible to me. I had a Zune prior to that and vastl preferred the interface. I also though the Zune software for your computer was superior.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: The Latinist on September 08, 2019, 02:33:02 AM
I wrote a long post but accidentally refreshed before I could post it.  To sum it up: I don’t see any conspiracy here; I just think your expectations of how a podcast manager or podcast subscription should work don’t match Apple’s (or, in my experience, the way most people consume podcasts). You see a podcast software and a podcast subscription as a way to obtain podcast episode files, and you then expect them to stay put until and unless you manually delete them; most people, I think, view a podcast subscription as an easy way to access new episodes of a podcast, which we will stream or listen to once and be done.  We are perfectly content to let our podcast manager manage downloading and deleting or (more commonly) streaming the episodes as we listen to them. We probably never think about it at all.  No conspiracy, just different expectations.

As for your other issues, iTunes does have some strange issues with managing libraries, and sometimes it’s behavior is not as expected. I’ve usually found, thorough, that when I had issues it was usually because I was expecting it to work in a way that it just didn’t. That said, on Windows it’s always sucked, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d had a genuine bug that deleted your files. I doubt it had anything to do with them not having DRM.

I have to say, though; what you bemoan I welcome. I LOVE Apple Music, which allows me legally to steam any song I want any time and anywhere for a low monthly fee. I don’t miss owning physical discs or managing gigabytes of music or syncing libraries.  To me, this is just how music should work.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: stands2reason on September 08, 2019, 11:00:11 AM
The only time I was using iTunes for podcasts, it was on the Mac version. Short answer: iTunes will keep podcast files around indefinitely if you tell it to. By default, it will purge them under various cases.

Without more explanation of the issue, I’m not sure I can comment.  I would guess that you’re running up against some sync feature that removes any episode that’s removed from an RSS feed. I highly doubt it is any sort of conspiracy.

iTunes will hold on to podcast files, even after they are gone from an RSS feed; once the file is downloaded, its in the iTunes database as a media item just like a local song file. But if you delete it, and it's not in the feed, you can't get them back. That applies universally, regardless of podcatcher.

And BTW, if the podcast has a premium-only archive, what makes you think you'd be able to download the old episodes even if you still had the hyperlinks? If their webserver is set up properly, you still wouldn't be able to download the old episodes without authentication.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: John Albert on September 08, 2019, 02:16:41 PM
It's not a conspiracy, just late-stage capitalism.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: arthwollipot on September 08, 2019, 08:37:56 PM
As I have said on numerous occasions previously, Apple products work extremely well with other Apple products, and very badly with non-Apple products. As long as you put yourself wholly within the walled garden, they work great. And this includes iTunes.

But if you're running iTunes on Windows, then... well, just don't do that. There are better products.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: daniel1948 on September 08, 2019, 11:32:16 PM
Even on my Mac I hate iTunes. But I easily avoid using it.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: The Latinist on September 09, 2019, 12:23:51 AM
Thankfully (at least on the Mac) iTunes is about to go the way of the dodo.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: arthwollipot on September 09, 2019, 01:19:23 AM
It already has on iOS.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: Tassie Dave on September 09, 2019, 04:52:07 AM
It already has on iOS.

Not fully. They still have the iTunes store as a separate app to buy or rent media. That is going to stay.

Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: Beef Wellington on September 09, 2019, 05:47:41 PM
It's my understanding that iTunes only keeps the 300 most recent episodes of any podcast. My rule of thumb is if I download a podcast I really like through iTunes, I go into my iTunes media folder (Music > iTunes > iTunes Media > Podcasts) and copy the file(s) off to a different drive for safe-keeping. The ONE time I didn't do this was for 5x5, the feed for which later broke. Thankfully (after a few emails and lots of waiting) the 5x5 feed has been restored, I was able to download them all via iTunes again and they're now copied off to an external drive.

As for premium podcasts, the only one I've had experience with was Skeptoid. Since they sent me a USB-drive with every episode up to that point (590or so), I only paid attention to the newer episodes in iTunes. I don't remember if all ~590 were in the paid iTunes feed or it it was just episodes 290-590. The only reason I paid for the membership was to have the back-catalog. I'd have paid for SGU Premium if they had a similar model, but luckily they have every episode available for individual download on their site. It's more time-consuming but at least it's free. Now that I think about it, I did subscribe to Coast To Coast AM's premium feed for a few years but that's a different story altogether. I can't remember how far back their episodes went as I've since tried to block it from memory...
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: The Latinist on September 09, 2019, 05:58:43 PM
It already has on iOS.

Not fully. They still have the iTunes store as a separate app to buy or rent media. That is going to stay.

I expect the iTunes Store App to be removed, too.  Everything that can be purchased through iTunes Store can already be purchased through Music or TV, which makes it redundant.  And the whole point of project Catalyst is to converge iOS and macOS apps.

But what I was really talking about was the iTunes software, which had become bloated and buggy and was generally well past its sell-by date.

My only concern with the elimination of iTunes is that some of its iPhine management functionality is being integrated into Finder, which is already a bit bloated and suffering from feature-creep.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: arthwollipot on September 09, 2019, 08:51:54 PM
It already has on iOS.

Not fully. They still have the iTunes store as a separate app to buy or rent media. That is going to stay.

Uh, no. It has Apple Music. And Apple Podcasts. They have been separate for some time. I haven't had something called iTunes on my phone for ages.

ETA: Well don't I feel like a dope now. I just did a search on my phone and indeed there is something called the iTunes Store. I have never opened it, never seen the icon before and literally didn't even know it was there. I must have shuffled it off into a folder on my back page labelled "useless shit" years ago and forgotten about it. So yes, you're right and I'm wrong.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: Tassie Dave on September 10, 2019, 04:48:51 AM
It already has on iOS.

Not fully. They still have the iTunes store as a separate app to buy or rent media. That is going to stay.

Uh, no. It has Apple Music. And Apple Podcasts. They have been separate for some time. I haven't had something called iTunes on my phone for ages.

I have that as well on my iPad and also separate Music, Podcast and AppleTV (for TV and Movies) apps

iTunes is redundant so it may well disappear with the next big update.
Title: Re: Does Apple Conspire With Premium Podcast Companies?
Post by: arthwollipot on September 10, 2019, 08:50:03 PM
It already has on iOS.

Not fully. They still have the iTunes store as a separate app to buy or rent media. That is going to stay.

Uh, no. It has Apple Music. And Apple Podcasts. They have been separate for some time. I haven't had something called iTunes on my phone for ages.

I have that as well on my iPad and also separate Music, Podcast and AppleTV (for TV and Movies) apps

iTunes is redundant so it may well disappear with the next big update.

Seems likely.