Respawned

When we flipped various switches around here on Tuesday morning to officially launch the fully-migrated Spawn On Me, we were banking on a SoundCloud backdoor working that would allow that migration to go easier on me.

Lucky me! That loophole got patched at some point by SoundCloud, who increasingly want to be the full-featured home of streamed audio content, not just a place to host it and point to for free.

Based on how they've presented their brand, they want a SoundCloud Podcast to live 100% there, and not integrated into a service like Squarespace. Good for them. Protect that brand. SoundCloud still works for plenty of podcasters out there who don't use Squarespace, and that's great for them.

I'm glad I was cautious about using them when I started the network in the first place.

I'm also glad I had a couple of backup plans, the most ideal (but also most time-consuming) is the one we started putting into play immediately.

Before (or after) you ask: yes, we tried three different flavors of generating direct links to the MP3's. Yes, the direct links allow anyone to directly download the file, but it fails on download when used in a Squarespace Audio Block. Yes, I've assumed the reason for this happening, but it's consistent with SoundCloud's policies and motivation as they've presented them publicly. If SoundCloud-hosting your podcast audio were a supported feature on Squarespace, then...Squarespace would have support documentation showing you how to use it.

Yesterday, a couple of people asked me "Why not just...use another CMS?" I use Squarespace as a CMS specifically because the benefits radically outweigh a company like SoundCloud deciding they don't want files hosted with them fed through a Squarespace podcast feed. I could make a list of all those features and reasons, but we'd be here all day. Moreover, migrating the entire network would take days, and it wouldn't actually save me any time, relative to the few hours that manually doing data entry did.

To address any "oh, you're just shilling for Squarespace" concern:

Squarespace has sponsored our shows previously, but I haven't even pitched them in a long, long time...mostly because all I hear are Squarespace ads on other shows that bore me (and I'm assuming everyone else) to the point of it being the hacky-est podcasting in-joke around. I did come up with a couple of ideas last week that I sent their way, so they may be back soon.

In general, I did not found ESN dependent on Squarespace or any other single sponsor as a lifeline.

Back to the process:

I tried various tactics to get around SoundCloud being jerks, but it was all taking more time than it would to do what I've just finished:

  • Manually re-edit metadata on all 54 previous episodes (no, this is not something Automator could do for me)
    • "manual click-click-edit" input of episode number
    • "manual click-click-edit" input of each episode name
    • batch application of current-and-ESN-trade-dressed-but-being-redesigned show art
  • Manually add Squarespace Audio Blocks for each episode
    • Upload individual files to Squarespace hosting
      • did this three at a time, doing the following while the progress bar slowly filled
    • copy/paste abbreviated and full summary text
    • "TextExpand" iTunes keywords
    • enter runtime (tab-switching back and forth from a Finder window)

It's all done now, and all episodes of the finest podcast "Made in Brookago" should appear in the feed without any issues.

-Mois├ęs