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Player FM 4.0
What's new in Player FM 4.0?
A lot! A new interface optimized for modern phones, feature-rich premium memberships, enhanced media importing, and faster interaction. These have been developed in the beta for many months now, so we've listed here a few questions that have come up so far. (Thanks to all beta testers! You rock.)
Why did you update the interface? The old one was perfectly fine.
It takes a lot of work to get such updates right and we're way too small and focused to make changes just because "it's time". There are real gains here in terms of everyday interaction with the app.
In an era of jumbo-sized phones, most thumbs could never reach the top of the screen, making one-handed use difficult. The new bottom navigation interface lets you get around comfortably with just your thumb. That's why the pattern has become popular on Android, where it's now an official part of the platform guidelines and even used by several of Google Android apps (e.g. YouTube).
Furthermore, we freed up your screen space to focus on what matters most: the content. The old screen had up to three top layers - the "Shows" label with some icons, the three tabs (Discover, Subscriptions, Play Later), and then your subscription categories. There is now just one top tab along with the bottom nav panel.
Furthermore, the new interface brings you settings and downloads directly on the main screen, instead of buried in the side menu. Settings toggles, like "show downloaded only" are now very prominent on the main settings screen. This helps to make features more discoverable and reduces a lot of jumping back and forth.
Was the mini-player update necessary too?
Yup. The mini-player was redesigned because it's now sitting above the new bottom navigation panel. With the previous design, its layout was too similar to the bottom nav, both with five evenly spaced symbols, creating an unwanted visual connection between them. The new design breaks that up to allow the two containers to sit adjacent while remaining distinct. The redesign also has the advantage of improving the region that can be tapped to take the player full-screen.
What other interface updates are there?
The full-screen player and mini-player now have animated controls and they are both swipeable to navigate tracks. From Settings | Import, there's a new "Import Media" tool to let you open local files directly within the app. You no longer need to share from a file explorer tool to play local files. Additionally, the app overall has been updated to become more snappy and stable.
Will you run ads? It says one of the premium features is "No ads, no nags"
First, let's address the "no ads" part. Our primary aim here is to fund ongoing service and development. If we can confidently maintain a high-quality app for all users without ads, just relying on premium upgrades, we'll do it. That said, this is a cloud-synced app with a support team, meaning that all users - paying or not - impose an incremental cost. To help cover that cost, we do intend to experiment with display advertising in some markets and on some platforms. We'll aim to do it unintrusively and in ways that respect user privacy. Premium plans will remove those ads.
Now to the "no nags". This is a reference to parts of the app promoting premium features, e.g. when you change to night theme, you'll see a promo for theme editing features. This kind of in-app promo is pretty much a necessity for any app with premium features. If you're reading this FAQ, you're the exception to the rule, because most users are oblivious that such plans are present and such features are possible. Upgrading naturally removes those messages, including even features that aren't part of the user's chosen plan.
We've promoted the app as ad-free in the past because ... it has been. For over four years. And continues to be, for now. The FAQ has always indicated we would consider advertising in the future if we can do it unintrusively. We've also indicated the app would be "free forever" and it will remain so, providing a high-level experience without an expiration date for all users. We're proud to receive regular reviews indicating the app is their favorite app on their phone, even without these advanced features, and we'll continue to make it great for everyone. That's part of our goal to open up podcasting and make it as accessible as possible, no matter what platform you're on.
What data are cloud-synced by the premium plans?
As a regular user, your subscriptions, starred topics, subscription categories and Play Later list are synced in the cloud. When you upgrade to premium, the following data will be cloud-synced as well:
- custom playlists
- play history, including episode positions and played/un-played statuses
- series "mark as played" status and "mark played until this episode" status
- subscription settings such as series-specific speed preference
Will play sync update downloads on other devices?
Yes! All premium plans will sync play positions, played/unplayed status, and series "mark played until this episode" settings across Android, iPhone (under development), and the web app. That means if you play an episode on phone 1 and it's also on phone 2, the file will indeed be deleted from phone 2 according to your download limit and "auto-delete played episodes" settings. It would be just as if you had played it on phone 2. Essentially, you will always have the same items offline on both phones, assuming they both have the same settings, which is of course up to you. This is generally desired behavior. You can still choose to keep an episode permanently on your device with a manual download. Also, premium plans introduce a better option for permanent downloads. There are now custom playlists and they come with their own download limit. For example, you could make a "besties" playlist with a download limit of 100 to keep all your favorites offline, even if they're played.
How does Pro and Patron plan differ?
The Patron plan is a way for enthusiasts to support the platform. Some users like the approach we're taking to podcast management and have in the past offered donations to help cover the cost, so we decided to make this as frictionless as possible with a separate plan. There are various perks offered as a "thank you", such as human recommendations for topics you're interested in, higher priority support, and insider access to new features. Longer term, we plan to add features and bundle content from publishers to make it a more typical top-tier plan. In its current form, there's no pretense that this is a plan oriented around the patronage model. Hence the name.
About Podcasting and Player FM
What's Player FM?
Player FM helps you discover and play podcasts on any device. We love podcasts because they are a great way for busy people to learn, laugh, stay informed while you're on the go. We started with the Player FM web app, which works on desktop, phone, and tablets; and now we have the Android app too. By logging in, you can sync your subscriptions across devices and applications.
Why make "yet another podcast app"?
Player FM is an opinionated app with its own unique take on the podcast experience ... our goals are:
- Be super-friendly. You shouldn't need a university degree in RSS feeds to subscribe to your favorite shows and play them offline.
- ... And yet, be powerful for hardcore podcast fans. We don't accept that "ease of use" should equate to "dumbing down" and won't compromise on either simplicity or power. There are many options for those who dig into settings, and advanced playback options such as speed control, skipping silence, and intelligently boosting volume.
- Cloud, Cloud, Cloud! Unlike a traditional podcast app, Player FM's nerve center resides in the cloud. Feeds are fetched on our servers, not on users' phones, saving precious battery and bandwidth, and getting those podcasts updated fast (typically within 15 minutes of publications).
- Sync across devices. Player FM's cloud model means subscriptions sync across devices, so you can easily get up and running on new devices or even use it on 2 devices simultaneously.
- Help users discover great shows. Instead of using an existing catalogue such as iTunes', we were determined to build a catalogue ground-up, so we could more adequately capture niche topics. Not just "Technology", but "Gaming", "Social Media", as well as "Java" and "Programming" categories. Users can follow these topics and see new episodes every day, even if they aren't subscribed. We view the catalogue as being community-driven, we're open to suggestions, and we make it available under a Creative Commons license (similar to Wikipedia's open source license).
- Spontaneous. Subscriptions are awesome for your favorite shows, but we don't think you should have to subscribe just to play an episode you come across. Playback is always a piece of cake - just hit the play button whether the episode is downloaded or not. And there's a "Play Later" playlist to save episodes for later ... it can keep them offline automatically and (in beta) sync across devices.
Why "FM"? Is this a radio app?
The "FM" is just a fancy way of signifying this is an audio app and "Player FM" is a convenient way to indicate the web address at player.fm. There's no live radio here - we are much more into playing what we want, when we want, and that rarely coincides with the traditional "appointment listening" model of radio. Player FM is on-demand content similar to YouTube or Netflix.
Is it really free?
Yes, it's free to install and the features you enjoy today will always be free, plus more to come.
Why free? Firstly, we view Player FM as an open platform. You can make your subscriptions public and share them on the web. The catalogue organization is also available under a Creative Commons license. These kinds of social and data sharing features would not be practical with an app that placed a payment barrier in front of every user. Secondly, from a practical perspective, it's difficult for a new app to charge an upfront fee when there are established alternatives, no matter how much innovation the new app brings to the table. Having launched later than other podcasting apps, it simply wouldn't have reached enough interest to make the project sustainable.
For those reasons, we decided to focus on making a great experience all users can enjoy. We will announce additional features for paying users later on.
What's a podcast anyway?
Short definition: A podcast is a recurring program delivered over the internet. They don't always have to be audio, and we support video too, but most are audio-based conversations. Podcasts span all topics from technology news to business to fashion trends, and they can be created by anyone at all, from an individual barking passionate opinions at their phone to a global news organization working in a professional studio. People sometimes use "podcast" to refer to an individual show or a whole series of shows, so where possible, we use the terms "series" and "episode" to make the distinction clear.
Where do shows on Player FM come from?
The shows are podcasts which publishers have made available for streaming and downloading from their own websites. We love podcasts, but we've found the whole process of subscribing and downloading podcasts to be highly complex and so we're re-thinking how it can be done in a more friendly and intuitive way.
Is Player FM available on other platforms?
As a cloud-first podcast app, we're always interested in adding more platforms and being demand-driven, we're happy to take requests from users. For now, in addition to the Android app, there's the web app which should already get part of the job done elsewhere, but we hope to build more native apps too. An iPhone app is in production - you may sign up here to keep you updated and participate in the beta test when it's ready. For the meantime, you may enjoy Player FM in your iOS devices with our web app.
Can you make Player FM do ... ?
How do I delete my account and leave Player FM?
I'm a developer. Can I make a podcasting app with Player FM data?
We have an API under development. For now, you can access a basic JSON-formatted payload of channels and users by appending ".json" to their respective URLs, e.g. http://player.fm/featured/food.json and http://player.fm/user.json, though it's unofficial and may change in the future. Please mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions or comments.
I can't work something out. Help!
Hopefully this FAQ answers your questions. But if not, please feel free to ask for help:
You're missing a podcast. How can I add it?
Why can't I successfully import a feed?
This may be due to either of the following:
- The feed is not a valid podcast feed, which means it doesn't contain any audio enclosures or playable media elements.
- The feed no longer exists, or its URL is incorrect or broken.
- The URL doesn't really point to a feed at all. Some users may mistake website URLs as RSS feed URLs.
- The inputted feed URL does not begin with "http://" or in some cases, "https://".
- The feed has been blacklisted as per publisher's request. This is true especially on premium/private feeds, since we currently do not support them.
- In rare cases, there might be a bug in our feed import tool. Should you need further assistance on this, feel free to contact us anytime via email@example.com.
Why do some series like "This American Life" only have one episode available?
The number of episodes shown is based on what is indicated in the series' feed. We remove old episodes if the publisher has removed them from their feed because we can't guarantee they will still be present and playable, though episodes will remain on your device if they are downloaded.
Why can't I see old episodes of some series?
Player FM keeps in sync with the publisher's feed, so if old episodes aren't there, it may be because the publisher removed them from their feed. We might later experiment with keeping them around, subject to publisher approval. But it would still need a warning flag because we have no way to guarantee the episodes are still served by the publisher if they've removed them from their feed. Oftentimes, they still are served and only omitted from the feed just to keep the feed small. Yet other times, they will have actually removed the files from their server.
A podcast show seems not updated and does not contain the latest episodes. Why?
When a feed isn't updating, it's almost always because the publisher has stopped updating the feed. This happens for several reasons:
- The feed is old or no longer active. The publisher has moved to another feed. In this case, please let us know as we can merge feeds for all users.
- Your current settings and internet connection might be preventing the app from retrieving updates.
- There is a bug with our server's fetching of feeds. This is very rare as we have a lot of checks and tests in place to ensure feeds are constantly fetched and processed, but if you suspect an issue, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it possible to filter the Catalogue by language or by country?
The catalogue supports a number of languages. By default, it will open in the language of your phone (if that language is supported). You can switch to another language from the catalogue top-right overflow menu.
Can you show the episode's image/cover art?
Showing episode cover art would be nice to have and we will probably support this later. However, it's a bit of a challenge for us than most podcast apps as we host the images ourselves. This is in order to prevent "hotlinking" (a.k.a. stealing bandwidth from the publishers, since Player FM is also a web app), and to help optimize bandwidth use in the app, since the images from publishers aren't always as small as they could be. Nevertheless, it should be possible if more shows provide it in the future.
Player FM Website
I just paused the audio for some minutes, and web player crashed. Why?
This may have something to do with the audio source, or the stability of the publisher's server or your internet connection. Furthermore, if you're using Chrome, we've actually reported a related issue some years ago, which is still open thus far - https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=158245. It means if an episode has a streaming interruption, Chrome can't deal with it and it must be restarted.
It says "account was already connected to a different Player FM user" when I logged in via Twitter/Google. What should I do?
This message means you attempted to connect to Twitter/Google while logged in (e.g. from the signup or settings page), but the account you connected was in fact already connected to another Player FM account. This could happen if you had connected via Twitter and then connected again via Google in another browser. If you'd rather have one account, please mail email@example.com for assistance.
How can I import my iTunes subscriptions, or subscriptions from other apps?
Why play podcasts on a website?
Podcasts were originally designed to be downloaded, and that's still a fine idea. But modern podcast apps also support streaming on demand, which is great for trying out a new podcast times before you subscribe to it. Player FM further removes the friction by making a podcast app available inside a web browser - no install required. Furthermore, for people who do use the mobile app, a desktop web browser can make it a lot easier to manage your subscriptions and find new shows.
Can I use Player FM's website on my phone or tablet?
Yes. Player FM is designed to run nicely in most modern smartphone and tablet browsers, including iPhones, iPads, and many Android devices. Just point your web browser to https://player.fm and you're good to go. On modern Android and iOS devices, you can even control playback from outside the browser. (On Android, there's a playback notification; on iOS, the standard system audio controls will work.)
How can I add Player FM to my phone/tablet's home screen?
Can I use the Player FM website when I'm not online?
If you're on Android, this is possible via the Android app. We are monitoring web technologies and hope to make an offline player possible when the browsers facilitate it. Presently, it's not possible because most podcasts aren't served from a secure (HTTPS) endpoint; thus standard techniques for offline web apps are ruled out right now.
How can I export my subscriptions?
OPML is the standard formatting for exporting subscriptions. Your subscriptions OPML are online at https://player.fm/˂your username˃/fm.opml (make sure you're logged in or your subscriptions are set to public).
You may also receive a "live" feed of your subscriptions at use https://player.fm/˂your username˃/fm.rss. This is useful if you want to access your Player FM subscriptions from another podcast app (e.g. on a platform where Player FM doesn't have a native app). By subscribing to this URL in the other app, it will stay up to date with latest episodes and any subscription changes you make in the future.