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I subscribe to several podcasts where the filenames of the downloaded mp3 files have no particular pattern to them. When I copy the directory of accumulated mp3 files into my mp3 player, the files play in alphabetical order. What I really want is to play the files chronologically by release date.

I currently use iTunes on Windows XP to download the files. What I do now is manually rename the files, adding the date in YYYYMMDD format to the start of each filename so that an alphabetical listing of files will correspond to their chronological order when I listen to them later in PocketTunes on my Palm Centro.

Is there some way to get the release date into the filename automatically? If so, I could automate or possibly skip the file renaming step. I would switch from iTunes to something else if that would solve my problem.

The file creation time on my local disk isn't a reliable indicator because sometimes I download a few days worth of content at one time, and the files don't necessarily get downloaded in chronological order.

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Do the files have ID3 tags indicating the release date? – djhowell Nov 4 '09 at 18:37
No they do not. – user14068 Nov 4 '09 at 21:00

No, sorry. There's no sane across-the-board way to do this to every podcast you're interested in, because there's no standard method for releasing podcasts. To do what you want, you'd need to tailor a script for each podcast you're interested in grabbing, and occasionally you might need to tweak that script for changes in the podcast's feed.

Here's some example feeds to examine for variations on how a feed might look:

  • StackOverflow podcast -- release date in the filename, though it differs from the posting date. Which should you use?

  • They Might Be Giants podcast -- date in the posting, no other dates available.

  • NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me podcast -- date in the posting, date in the tags, but it's not in TYER or TDRC, it's in TALB and TIT2 tags like this: "0911318: NPR: 11-14-2009 Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!". Both dates match, and it's easier to grab the RSS posting date.

Any software that claims to do what you want automatically will probably a) use the RSS posting's pubDate attribute, or b) use the current date. Here are some downloaders I found:

  • HiDownload -- can add a datestamp, but it's b), and not configurable beyond do-add/don't-add.

  • Juice and Doppler -- can run an external program after a download completes, but the external program is likely on its own for finding the right date to use.

Maybe the best way to automate this is to write your own RSS-parsing script. Let iTunes or another downloader download the podcast for you, then run your own script that matches up the downloaded filenames to the filenames in the RSS, and prepends the corresponding pubDate to the filename, formatted to your liking.

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A solution that incorporates pubDate into the filename would solve 99% of my problem. – user14068 Dec 3 '09 at 19:01

Take a look at GPodder.

It has a custom_sync_name configuration property which should allow you to do what you want.

Mine is:

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Just used it, with same root. This way, the podcasts are easily sorted in FileSystem view. Thank you for the help, as Gpodder wiki is a bit scarce on this option! – Joël Aug 30 '12 at 21:59

If the files contain ID3 tags with the release date you can use a tool like MP3tag to automatically rename the files based on whatever criteria you set. Even if they don't have the release date they probably have an artist and title tag specifying who released the podcast and what "episode" it is, most of mine do.

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I have plenty that always have the same artist tag and have a title tag that is a description of the contents with no episode number or date. And, the ones that have something like an episode number do not always put it in the same place, so there is no consistent rule that applies to podcasts from different sources or even to different episodes of the same podcast. – user14068 Nov 4 '09 at 21:07

If the podcast hoster has an RSS/Feedburner feed, & they happen to use a folder pattern based on date, then you can use DownLoadThemAll FireFox plug in & use the "Renaming Mask" tags. Sorry if this is very situational, but may work sometimes.

If they don't use a folder system, but do use RSS/Feedburner that have date stamps in the RSS feed, then you may have to roll your own script, or find a script that will rename the .MP3 file with the RSS info.

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