Question

Podcast RSS Feed Rejected from iTunes

  • 22 October 2014
  • 65 replies
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Podcast RSS Bad HTTP Result.

I'm attempting to submit the Soundcloud provided podcast RSS feed:
http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:5438542/sounds.rss
to iTunes via the iTunes app. However, I get the following error:
"We had difficulty reading this feed. Bad http result code: -1". I've used the above link in a 3rd party RSS reader without any problems.

Hi Alan,
Unfortunately, still silence from iTunes' end. Have you by any chance reached out to them as well? If so, what did they say?

I'll make sure ping the relevant team on our end again.
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Like I said before to Alan (please see above), unfortunatly, we haven't heard back from iTunes yet, and I've now pinged the relevant team on our end again for an update / follow up on this. Our developers have again taken a look into the system from our end and everything is looking fine, so as it stands, this is something on iTunes' end to be fixed.
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Mathis - I have reached out to the iTunes support team so I should get an email back soon. I will keep you updated.
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Hi Alan,

Awesome, thanks! Investigation on our end is making slow progress (finally!) - we've received further details about the issue from iTunes that our engineers can now look into.

Please do let us know if you hear back from the iTunes support team on our end as well - any help in this matter is super welcome!

Cheers,
Mathis
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Mathis,
I'm going to copy and paste iTunes full response. Before I do that though I ran the Soundcloud RSS feed through the Feedvalidator link they provided, and it came up with some errors. Here here is their email in full:

Dear Alan,

Welcome to iTunes Store Customer Support. My name is Manohar. Before I begin responding to your mail, I would like to apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry. This is certainly not the customary wait time for a reply from the iTunes Store Customer Support. Your patience is greatly appreciated.
I'm sorry to hear that you are unable to listing your podcast in iTunes Store using the Soundcloud link and getting an error message says "The feed has already been submitted”. I know how you are looking forward to get this issue resolved. I will provide necessary information to you.

Alan, it appears that your podcast's RSS feed is not validating. To help find the problem, you may want to use a feed validator, such as this one:

http://www.feedvalidator.org

You can get help with many specific issues, learn how to test a feed, and view a sample feed on this webpage:

http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html

If you can successfully subscribe to your podcast and listen to each of the episodes, try resubmitting the feed to the iTunes Store. If you receive a message that the feed has already been submitted, the iTunes Store is detecting that the podcast is a duplicate. Please follow these steps to resubmit the podcast:

1. Change the title and link fields of your RSS feed to something other than what they are now.
2. Resubmit the podcast feed via iTunes.
3. Once you have successfully submitted the podcast, you can change the title and link fields back to what they were.

If you're still having trouble, consider consulting Apple Support Communities, which have a wealth of information about specific issues:

http://discussions.apple.com

Alan, please note that once submitted and rejected changes must be made and there is no way to unsubmit the podcast.

I hope this information will help you. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Thank you for being a valued iTunes Store Customer. Have a nice day!

Sincerely,

Manohar
iTunes Store Customer Support
http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/ww/

Please note: I work from Monday - Friday, 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM CST
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Hi Alan,

Thank you so much for sharing the response you received here. I ran your RSS feed through the validator page iTunes recommended, but the result was that the RSS passed just fine. http://cl.ly/image/1T0w0L131W40

Have you applied any changes in the meantime?

I'll make sure to pass on your response here to our product team and developers, but please do let us know if you have any news on your end as well.

Cheers,
Mathis
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Mathias,
I'm a dope. I was submitting the wrong link to the validator which is why I was getting errors. I tried it again, and like you it came out ok. I just hitup iTunes support with this info so I'll keep you in the loop.

Alan
Userlevel 1

Mathias,
I just got this reply:
Dear Alan,
Welcome back to iTunes Store Customer Support. This is Manohar again.

I am sorry to hear that still you have issues to listen your podcast. I am sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.

Alan, please let me know that, if you are looking to upload a podcast your self or Just enjoying someone else’s podcast? If you are working to link and view a podcast this could help submitting the podcast again will typically work out any issues. It can take up to 24 hours to index a Podcast with iTunes.

http://feedvalidator.org(Opens in new window)(Opens in new window)

Resolving your issue is important to us. I look forward to receiving your reply.

Thank you for being a valued iTunes Store customer. Have a nice day!

Sincerely,

Manohar
iTunes Store Customer Support
http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/ww/

I tried running the Soundcloud link through the validator again just to be extra-extra-extra-sure, and it is ok so I don't know what else to do.

Alan
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Thanks for your update. Hmm, ok, it sounds like Manohar might be confused as to whether you're trying to subscribe to someone's podcast, or if you're trying to submit your own podcast, so following up with him on that might be a good thing to do.

Now, I just looked at your RSS feed again to see if there are any other clues I could find. From what I can see, it looks like the artwork you've uploaded is 930 x 850 px in size. iTunes asks for 1400 x 1400 px - can you try and upload a bigger version to make sure this isn't what's keeping them from saying "alright, we'll let him in"? :-)

Just for clarifications how I checked for your image size: here's the part in your RSS feed that indicates the image:
http://cl.ly/image/0G3z1g27410J (I copied the RSS feed URL and put it in a new browser tab)

Taking the image URL and putting it into another new tab on my browser showed me the full artwork, which I then downloaded in order to take a closer look at the dimensions.

Hope this helps getting a bit closer to have that podcasting up and running on iTunes soon!

Cheers,
Mathis

Thank you Mathis. I'll change the artwork and let you know what happens.

I tried changing like you said but got the same error "...difficulty downloading..."
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Mathis,
I uploaded a new avatar that should be 1400x1400. I'm not a Photoshop guy, but that should do it. Can you double check to make sure that it's correct?

Thanks,
Alan
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Hey Alan,

Jup - the artwork looks good now, thanks for adjusting this. Yours really seems to be an extreme case here. Our developers have taken yet another look at your RSS feed in particular, and it looks like your XML file is too large, which might be causing iTunes to not accept the feed. As you can see, we're really digging deep in the troubleshooting realm here, I'm really hoping this'll help to get this through to iTunes after all. Most podcatchers set their limit at 600k.

Now, you can grab the XML file by going to your RSS feed (http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:5438542/sounds.rss), right clicking on the page and "save as".

I've done that from over here and it looks like your file is currently 716k in size.

In order to solve this, you have two options.
Solution 1: Be less verbose with your track descriptions (that's
what takes up the most data space in an RSS feed)
Solution
2: Remove some items from his RSS feed, which would have the same
effect

I think the less time consuming option would be to go with solution 2.

In order to remove a track from the RSS feed, just go to that track and click on the small pen icon under the waveform to get into the edit mode of that track. Then, choose the "Permissions" tab and untick the box that says "Include in RSS feed", then click "Save changes".

I'd recommend for you to do that to some of your newest tracks, then repeat the process of downloading the XML-file to see how this affects the size of it.

Phew - so many things to look out for just to get that podcast up and running! Let me know how this works out.

Cheers,
Mathis
I have the same problem. When do you expect it to be solved..? I really like SoundCloud, but if I have to wait for a month or more to get my podcast in to iTunes, I will have to find another podcast host...
- Michael

Hi Mathis.
Anything new? As far as I can see it, iTunes still won't accept my SoundCloud podcasts, when I'm using this link: http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:120129836/sounds.rss
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I have the same problem. When do you expect it to be solved..? I really like SoundCloud, but if I have to wait for a month or more to get my podcast in to iTunes, I will have to find another podcast host...
- Michael

Hi Michael,

Sorry to hear this still isn't working for you. Just like in Alan's case further down this conversation, it looks like your artwork is quite small. Can you upload a version that's 1400x1400px and try again?

Apart from that, we are working with iTunes on this issue at large, however fixing and optimizing the workflow to get your podcast up and running on iTunes seems much more complex then initially thought, so we still cannot provide an exact due date for when this will be ultimately sorted - sorry :-(

Curious to hear if uploading the bigger artwork does anything.

Cheers,
Mathis

Thanks Mathis. I tried what you said and got the same result. itunes would just be an extra audience and I'm just going to be content with being on SoundCloud.Thank you so much for all your help. God bless.
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Hey again,

Rest assured we'll keep working on this to be sorted. We'll update here once this is the case.

Cheers,
Mathis
I have the same problem. When do you expect it to be solved..? I really like SoundCloud, but if I have to wait for a month or more to get my podcast in to iTunes, I will have to find another podcast host...
- Michael

Hi Mathis.

Thanks.
I changed the artwork, and now I have a new message from iTunes saying, that there was an error, when they tried to get my episodes...
Userlevel 1

Mathis,
Ok I've done a lot of work here:
1) I've removed all the non-podcast related tracks.
2) I shortened up my bio.
3) I removed A LOT of unneeded text from each podcast (takes a long time when I have more than 150 shows).
I saved the RSS file to my computer, and it now shows up as 419k so this should work if iTunes sets the maximum file size at 600k. However, this prompts a bigger question: if iTunes does have the 600k limit, what happens when my RSS file exceeds that size? Would I get an email from iTunes or Soundcloud to let me know I don't want to unlist episodes if I don't have to, but I will if that's the only workaround down the road.

I also tried resubmitting the podcast via iTunes after I made all the changes, and I'm still getting the error "The fed has already been submitted". I verified that the podcast isn't listed on iTunes as well.

Thanks,
Alan
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Hey Alan,

Thank you for your update. It usually takes ages for the "average" XML file to become too large. Yet, you're question absolutely makes sense and I have to admit I currently don't know the answer to it off the top of my head. However, I'll make sure to follow up on this with the team on our end.

Now, if the error message still states that the RSS feed has already been submitted - have you applied the things that Manohar had recommended? Since this is an iTunes error message, I would guess that they can help with this most efficiently. Rest assured we're continuing investigation and working on bugfixes on our end to improve the podcasting experience asap.

Cheers,
Mathis
Userlevel 1

Mathis,
I corrected a couple potential errors with a special character, and the only error I get now is that the image title doesn't match the channel title. However, given that Soundcloud automatically renames avatar photos I don't see any way around that. I got the "This is a valid RSS feed" before I made the changes (and now as well) so I don't know what else I can do. My inability to resubmit the feed means I can't tell if iTunes finds anything wrong that prevents them from listing it. As per usual I'll keep you in the loop.

Thanks,
Alan
I just read through this whole feed! Any news on the "We had difficulty downloading episodes from your feed" problem? I am going crazy here. It's been weeks that I've been trying to get this submitted to iTunes. My feed is through Feedburner currently: http://feeds.feedburner.com/soundcloud/rZMn
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I just read through this whole feed! Any news on the "We had difficulty downloading episodes from your feed" problem? I am going crazy here. It's been weeks that I've been trying to get this submitted to iTunes. My feed is through Feedburner currently: http://feeds.feedburner.com/soundcloud/rZMn
Hi there,

Thanks for your post. Our developers continue to investigate how to best fix this from our end, however we're highly depending on iTunes providing details from their end in order to get this sorted once and for all. We'll update here as soon as we have news around this.

@ShowMeTheEvidence - I've looked at your RSS feed, and it looks like the Feedburner URL currently doesn't properly validate at the moment:



I've used http://validator.w3.org/ in order to test this. The original feed from SoundCloud does validate properly, so there might be something wrong with the feed you're getting from Feedburner.



Hope this helps!
Cheers,
Mathis
I just read through this whole feed! Any news on the "We had difficulty downloading episodes from your feed" problem? I am going crazy here. It's been weeks that I've been trying to get this submitted to iTunes. My feed is through Feedburner currently: http://feeds.feedburner.com/soundcloud/rZMn
Hi Mathis,

I just received my RSS feed today and cannot get Feedburner or iTunes to recognize it as valid. Considering I just paid for a pro account, it is frustrating that this issue has not been resolved yet. It was not made clear to me before my purchase that issues like this even existed. If it was made clear, I would have considered alternatives to SoundCloud. This is the RSS feed URL I was given:

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:105742394/sounds.rss
Userlevel 1
I just read through this whole feed! Any news on the "We had difficulty downloading episodes from your feed" problem? I am going crazy here. It's been weeks that I've been trying to get this submitted to iTunes. My feed is through Feedburner currently: http://feeds.feedburner.com/soundcloud/rZMn
Hey Rich,

Looks like your feed has a redirect loop. Go to http://soundcloud.com/settings/extra and delete the URL from the "New feed location" field. This should only be used if you want to leave SoundCloud and us a different podcasting hosting provider.

Cheers,
Jayme

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