Podcast filenames

Like many of you, I listen to some podcasts. There are various ways people get their episodes, but I do it manually on a PC: browse the podcast’s website and download the MP3 files using the browser or wget or curl. I listen on a variety of devices, including television and car audio which can only get the files via USB flashdisks, so I figure it’s better to organize the files on the PC and transfer them to other devices as needed.

Now there’s this minor (or major, depending on how OCD you are) issue of the various inconsistent ways the podcasters like to name their MP3 files. Me, I’m standardizing on this: each filename should include, in the following order, 1) the podcast name (preferably short, a few letters, initials); 2) the episode number in the form of at least 000, or date in YYYYMMDD format; 3) episode title (one to a few words).

This way, whenever I see a file lying around in some folder in some device I can immediately know which podcast this is and what the episode is all about (because on smartphones it’s usually a pain to move files around). The order and the format of the number/date let the files get sorted nicely (because not all apps can do natural sorting). And the short podcast name/initials will prevent the annoyance of not being able to see the date/title on narrower screens (sometimes an app will scroll the filename horizontally a la stock ticker, but sometimes not).

Oh, and I also stick to lowercase alphanumerical characters and dashes/underscores, avoiding whitespaces or other strange characters, for ease of typing, selecting, and tab-completioning.

Here are some samples of filenames which I will definitely rename:

  • The Secret Emotional Life of Clothes.mp3 (from Invisibilia): spaces in filename, no podcast name, no episode number/date. I’d rename it to invisib-20160722-the_secret_emotional_life_of_clothes.mp3.
  • obm20episode2016320-207_19_162C209.0420PM.mp3 (from One Bad Mother): no title, needless string episode as well as time of day, date not in YYYYMMDD order, also the space got mangled into 20 (probably from %20). I’d rename it to obm-163-when_kids_share_a_room.mp3.
  • ShmanQuestions.mp3 (from Shmanners): no episode number/date. I’d rename it to shmanners-20160722-etiquette_catch_all.mp3. Sometimes the title in the filename doesn’t match the title in the post, so I also correct that.
  • OhNoRossAndCarrie_47_RossAndCarrieRememberTonyAlamoPart1.mp3 (from Oh No, Ross and Carrie!): too long. I’d rename it to: onrac-047-tony_alamo_p1.mp3.

And here are some that are already good enough:

  • sm237_limabeans.mp3 (from Spilled Milk). Although before it reaches episode #10 and #100, it uses one and two digits for the episode number so I pad them with leading zeroes.
  • Sawbones146Tea.mp3 (from Sawbones). All the pieces of information are already there in the desired order, I just need to format and lowercase the filename.

How do you name your podcast files?

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