Friday, September 20, 2013

iTunes 11.1 is unable to browse some older podcast files - with a partial workaround (Fix)

The first hints of a problem with iTunes 11.1 came via an referral to Kirkville: Apple Has Broken Podcasts. A large numbers of older podcasts were no longer seen in iTunes. They weren't deleted, but iTunes didn't show them.

My first thought was gratitude for my multiple onsite and offsite backups. Unsurprisingly, I'm impacted too. I have 367 episodes of In Our Time in my iTunes Podcast folder, but only 311 are browsable in iTunes -- either via Podcasts or Music. On the other hand, a Smart Playlist searching on the album "In Our Time" finds them all even if I specify Media Kind = "Podcast" in the search criteria. 

Search won't find the lost podcasts however -- only Smart Playlists.

My guess on this bug is that Apple changed the rules on what shows up in Podcasts or Music so that certain older files with a Media Type of 'podcast' don't display in either category. They're still in the iTunes database, and so discoverable via a smart playlists, but iTunes can't browse them. If you remove these files from iTunes, then add them back in, they may be reclassified so they'll be browsable again.

I wonder if there's a way to do that via AppleScript.

I'm hoping this bug gets enough attention that Apple fixes it in the next month or two.

Update 2: The bug is related to Media Kind

Media Kind has long been an Achilles Heel of iTunes. It's an attribute of media that shows up in Smart Playlists and should be changeable via the Information (Get Info) window, but there's no 'column' option for showing Media Kind in lists. It looks like this is a Media Kind option.

I created two Playlists to identify my affected IOT podcasts.

I made one Playlist by dragging all the files that showed up in the Podcast view into a static Playlist.

I made another by Smart criteria: Album = In Our Time.

Then I made a 3rd to identify what was in the Smart Playlist, but not visible elsewhere:

Screen Shot 2013 09 20 at 9 09 42 PM

That showed my hidden podcasts.

Of the 50 or so hidden podcasts, I tried changing media type to Music. That worked for two of them. They were now visible for search and browsing. The other 48 appeared to let me change Media Type, but when I checked again they still showed as Podcast. It seems iTunes 11.1 is ignoring the Media Type attribute and using a different source of metadata to decide what is a "Podcast". That's bad, but what's worse is that podcasts of mine that used to show as Music no longer show there, but they are also omitted from Podcast.

Update 3: A workaround: Media Kind Podcast -> Audiobook -> Podcast

I couldn't change the media kind for the '48' to Music (seemed to change, but didn't work), but I could change to Audiobook! Problem is Audiobook UI can't scale this way.

Once I'd changed the Media Kind to Audiobook though, I COULD change it back to Podcast. After that all my IOT files were Podcasts and once again visible to browse and search. Note to do all this I had to use Smart Playlists -- these were the only parts of ITunes 11.1 that could display my 'invisible' podcasts.

Heavens, but iTunes 11.1 is a hot mess.

See also:

1 comment:

kirkmc said...

Hmm, that's very odd; I can't confirm here, because I already dragged my podcasts back into iTunes.

Rather than change media kind twice, it might be simpler to just drag the files to a folder, then drag them back into iTunes. Or, just drag your Podcasts folder back into iTunes; that fixed it for me.