Player FM 3.7: Full-screen and miniplayer redesigned, plus more

Our new release is here, Player FM 3.7! This update is made possible by the collaboration of our users and the team. Here’s the rundown.

Redesigned full-screen player
As always, you’ll see the full-screen player when you swipe up the miniplayer, or tap its thumbnail image. The full podcast thumbnail is now present in its un-blurred, square-shaped glory, rather than the stretched-out, fuzzy background image we had before.

Even on portrait mode, you will see an improved and cleaner version on this new design. The video will now be on top of the episode title, similar to YouTube’s portrait mode, with permanent controls displayed below.

And on landscape mode, you can watch your favorite podcast in full-screen. Playback controls will be visible when you tap the screen.

Improved miniplayer layout
A few tweaks have been made to clean up the miniplayer design. Episode status (streamed or downloaded) appears beside the title. The overflow (…) button is now laid out more like the other controls, and playback progress time appears directly below it. The sleep timer is now white (same with the full-screen player). The main benefit of the title separating the slider and playback controls is to prevent fat fingers from accidental playback oopsies.

Quick shortcuts for Android 7
We’ve also added quick shortcuts on the app’s home screen icon, allowing direct access to Discover, Search, Subscriptions, and Play Later. This update is currently available for Android 7.1 (Nougat) users.

Unread counter on the home screen icon
For those who are not using Nougat, here’s something to rejoice about – we’ve integrated with TeslaUnread! By using Nova Prime Launcher and TeslaUnread, you will now see the number of new episodes on the lower-right corner of the home screen icon. It can save you time when checking new episodes.

Episode detail screen layout and dialogs
The episode detail screen layout has been tweaked for consistency with the series detail screen. For example, there’s now a divider under the play button, an actionable Play Later option on the left, and the episode duration under the play button. This allowed us to clean up the metadata shown above the shownotes. Now, all metadata are grouped in one line.

In addition, when you tap on the “Stream” status, there is an option to download the episode.

And for episodes with “Downloaded” status, this dialog has a re-download option now.

Series detail screen showing subscription count
It’s a social app after all, so the series detail screen now shows the number of Player FM subscribers. This is useful for users to easily determine a popular podcast without going through the Discover screen. There have been a couple of minor interface tweaks in line with the episode detail updates mentioned above.

Better handling of duplicates in search results
Similar to the subscribers count on the series detail screen, search results will now show the number of subscribers of a podcast series. And as mentioned, search results have been updated to improve decision-making when there are duplicates or similar feeds present. It will also show the feed URL when duplicates are detected.

Simplified sort order for subscriptions and playlists
The playlist sort options now has “Latest added” as the first option, and the default recommended sort option since most users are more interested in listening to episodes they recently saved.

Bug fixes and more
Among other updates: played episodes are made darker in lists, so their status are more conspicuous. For users with dark theme phone settings, notifications can also be set to dark – there is a new option for those with dark theme to choose between phone theme and app theme when it comes to notifications.

Download Player FM in Google Play Store now!

Growing Player FM in 2017 and beyond: Gold Plan is coming

Player FM has continued to grow since its initial launch as a website in 2012. The app set out to do a lot of things differently from traditional podcatchers – a new kind of interface, an independent catalogue, sync between web and native. With over 2 million Android installs, a 4.5-star rating, and a ton of iterations, we’ve demonstrated these things were possible with just a couple of developers, but there’s still much more to do, and turn an app into a sustainable business.

In an ideal world, you’d slap on a price tag of few bucks and watch the cash roll in, but that’s not how apps work in 2017, nor how it worked when the app launched in 2013. Too many free options, they may not be the best available, but are “good enough” to bury newly launched paid apps into the netherworld of app store discovery. Furthermore, a one-time payment makes little sense for a product that relies on server resources 24-7 and aims to provide helpful human support, ongoing.

We will be introducing revenues with a recurring Gold plan subscription and limited advertising for free users.

Gold Plan

While we’re grateful to users have offered to donate to the app, it’s hard to build an app at scale purely from donations, especially one-time donations. For this reason, we are building a subscription-based Gold plan at $9.99/year [1]. It’s still a way for engaged users to support ongoing development, but will also work as a genuine premium experience.

We want to build a real premium experience with this, and we have a wide array of features in mind which would be too niche or costly to produce as part of the free version. Whether people will pay for this, we will find out, but one thing we do know is many people are happy to use the app daily in the absence of these features. That bodes well for the Gold plan, as it’s only viable to charge users who are happy, returning, users of the free app.

It’s still an important goal to keep producing a great free app. This is pertinent to the original goal of making podcasts easier and more accessible to a wide audience, and serves as the backbone for any in-app subscription model. The Gold plan will not be taking features away from the free app. It will be introducing new features. There are many genuine (i.e. “not contrived”) enhancements possible which aren’t present in the free version of the app, we hear about them every day. Some of these will become Gold features, some will become new free features, and the free version of the app will continue to be supported and improved upon.

“Cut to the chase, what are the Gold features?”

We’ll be sharing our plans for these in the beta community in coming months and building them out. Custom, cloud-sync’d, playlists will be first out the gate. This is a way to build a list of episodes in any order and optionally keep it offline. It may also be made public. Building and viewing these lists will be supported on both web and Android.

Also in the initial Gold plan will be local file management. This has been another often-requested feature, the ability to import media from the file system and manage and play it in the app. It’s convenient for people to keep their media within the one app, and will support the advanced audio controls – volume boost, silence skip, etc – for personal media.

The app’s most requested feature is full play position and play history sync, and this will also be delivered as part of the Gold plan later this year. Also in Gold plan will be the ability to import private/premium feeds. Both of these are examples of features which would be prohibitively expensive to operate for millions of free users – they entail significant storage and processing costs – but they are feasible for paid subscriptions. A lot more along those lines will be possible in the future.

Gold Plan will soft-launch as an early beta in a few weeks and we’ll be posting individual feature ideas and previews for feedback in the beta community.

Ads

We’ll also be experimenting with some advertising. Yes, ads can obviously be a terrible experience if not done carefully, and we’ll do what is possible to avoid annoyance or get in the way of the app’s main functions. The sad reality is that these kinds of ads don’t pay anywhere near as much, but we’d sooner delete the app from existence than make an app that spams users senselessly. Needless to say, we wouldn’t introduce ads without a way to turn them off, which Gold plan will make possible.

Player FM aims to make podcasting fun, intuitive, and personal. This next chapter should help us take more steps in that direction.

  1. The Gold plan was previously planned, but with limited subscriptions. We eventually decided that was too restricted, and put it on hold.

Player FM 3.6: Manage your podcasts with ease

We are pleased to announce Player FM 3.6!

This update will help new podcast users and even the seasoned podcast junkies manage their daily podcast habit. You can now organise subscriptions into categories and they will sync across Android and web apps. Player FM rethinks the podcast experience for the modern era, and categories are no exception. We aim to make categories “smart” with features like Suggested Categories when you subscribe to any series, recommendations to help you build up your categories, and Social Sharing.

Smart categories for your subscriptions

Rare is the “casual podcast user” … most people who get into podcasts quickly find themselves devouring hundreds of them! To help you organise all your subscriptions, Player FM 3.6 introduces categories, so you can keep a list of “news podcasts”, “morning commute” podcasts, and so on – create whatever categories fit your lifestyle. You’ll see categories as sub-tabs in your subscriptions screen and similarly in web app navigation. In addition, they have several unique features:

  • When you subscribe to any series, the app will automatically suggest a category among your existing categories making it a breeze for you to follow any new show. This is based on various cues, from our curated catalogue to publishers’ metadata. If there’s no good choice, it will still suggest some categories and let you immediately create the category and add the series, all in one tap.
  • Each category shows recommendations to help you fill out the category,. The recommendations are powered by a combination of curation, publisher metadata, and usage trends.
  • You can make any category public. The category URL will open in the app if the user has it installed, allowing other users to subscribe and play. More importantly, it will also work as a regular web page for anyone not using the app.
  • Series settings

    Related to smart categories, per-series settings has been updated. You now have a single popup dialogue allowing you to set categories, unsubscribe, and set preferences like notifications, playback settings, view sort order, and download order (can be used for downloading “binge-worthy” series from the start). A new setting will let you see the dialog whenever you subscribe.

    Enhanced Search

    The search interface has been redesigned to use the familiar “dial” interface used elsewhere in the app. As well as searching over 300,000 available series, there are tabs for: episodes – allowing full shownote and title search of over 16 million episodes; series you’re subscribed to; and topics. The topics is a list of over 500 curated catalogue topics to explore, and will expand in the future to include categories users have made public.

    Custom Artwork

    Many podcasters go the extra mile and provide custom artwork for each new episode. We’re pleased to finally be able to showcase these efforts. Player FM will extract artwork from episode files as well as artwork linked in publisher feeds. You’ll see this appear on episode lists, in the lock screen, and the full screen player. In addition, both series and episode detail screens have been updated to show you large images. Popular shows using custom artwork are TED Talks, No Agenda, and KCRW’s Left, Right & Center.

    Sleep timer

    Aside from setting the sleep timer at a specific time, the sleep timer can be set to stop at the end of your favorite episode.

    Intents

    If you want fine-grained control over your podcast experience and use apps like Tasker and IFTTT, try Player FM intents. We’ve added two new intents to let you choose when podcasts download: fm.player.update.conditional and fm.player.update.unconditional.”conditional” will respect your app settings (e.g. only download on wifi and while charging), “unconditional” will always sync and download according to your limits, so you will probably be choosing the conditions from the external app if using that. More on intents in the FAQ at docs.player.fm.

    Downloads management

    If a podcast app didn’t have any downloads, was it a podcast app at all? As well as the downloads-only toggle, we know some users still like to delve into their completed downloads and browse them directly. This screen now has sub-sections for All, Manual, Subscriptions, Play Later downloads. See total size and number episodes for any type of download and delete all in one tap.

    User interface updates and settings

    We’ve been busy cleaning up the interface since v3.5. As well as the above updates, here are a few other things you’ll notice:

  • Main settings screen now has more color and icons on the left to give each section a unique identifier. Gone are check boxes, replaced by toggles.
  • If you are using a custom theme, you’ll see more consistent styling in that theme. e.g. With purple theme, Downloads screen header will now be purple instead of the standard green. This is particularly important for night mode, where you’ll no longer see colored header bars. To explore themes, check out Display Settings, or just tap on the Player FM logo in the side menu.
  • You now have flexible series thumbnail layout. For phones, choose between 3, 4, or 5 thumbs per row.
  • For lock screen purists, you can now disable lock screen podcast artwork in Display Settings.
  • Notification settings has been redesigned and simplified, so you can turn everything on or off with a single tap. You’ll also see icons for each show in the notifications list.
  • Say goodbye to empty boring screens. We’ve added a friendly radio guide indicating when there are no search results or no downloads.
  • One more thing! That Icon!

    After 4 years of the red mic icon, it was time for an icon that didn’t lead people to think this app lets you record top 40 singles. We’ve been getting feedback on several icon options in recent months and we’re happy to settle on this one. Users can now rejoice that they will see the same icon on Google Play and on their homescreen!

    Download Player FM in Google Play Store NOW.

    Player FM 3.5 for Android: Enhanced search, discovery, series settings, and more

    Constantly updating and improving the app has always been our goal, in accordance with your feedback and ideas. Thanks to all who have left suggestions and special thanks to the beta community for ongoing discussions about how to keep bringing the awesome. We’re pleased to announce a major version bump from v3.1 to v3.5, and here’s a rundown of features.

    See it in a glance with unified search results

    1000+ topics, 100,000+ series, and over 5 million playable episodes are now searchable from the same, universal, result screen! Using the new series carousels and topics dial, get what you’re looking for right away. In addition, you’ll get a row of results matching your own subscriptions, so it’s a quick way to jump to your favorite show.

    Save time with autocomplete and search history

    An initial tap on the search field will now show you a dropdown list of recent searches and the results will update as you type.

    Explore over 100,000 series with the new Discover and Catalogue design

    There’s a podcast or 10 for every occasion, making discovery a key challenge for any podcast app. Player FM has from day one focused on the discovery problem, providing an independent, open-source catalogue covering hundreds of niche topics. The Discover tab has been redesigned to make browsing a pleasure, whether you to find shows to subscribe to or episodes to play right now. As with the new search screen, you’ll see a unified screen per topic – explore related topics, series, and episodes in the one place. It’s the simplest and cleanest navigation model since the app launched.

    Play Later is now in the cloud

    Just like your subscriptions and favorites, your Play Later list is now saved in the cloud and also available on the web app at player.fm, so no need to worry about syncing your favorite Play Later episodes even when switching devices. That episode you save on your web browser at work will be downloaded on your next phone sync, ready for your trip home!

    Binge all day with flexible download order

    So you’ve just heard about this hot new show and you simply have to hear all episodes before sunset! Player already lets you set a custom download limit for this series to make sure you get a bunch of recent items. But you probably want to start from the start if it’s a “serial” storyline, a multi-part documentary, or a lecture series. In that case, the usual “get latest N episodes” setting won’t work for you. With Player FM 3.5, you can now optimise any series for binging with flexible downloading order. Set your new obsession to download “oldest unplayed” and cancel your weekend plans.

    Be the first to hear it with custom notification settings

    Now that you’re all caught up on that bingeworthy show, you’ll be super-excited to know when the next episode comes out. You now have the control to be notified for any series when is a new episode lands. This saves you time asking “is it there yet” and brings the content to you fast. Set this from the individual series screen and you can manage all your notifications from Settings.

    Play it fast – or slow – every time

    Player FM already has advanced audio to let you listen exactly how you want, with speed control, silence skipping, and intelligent volume boost shipping since v3.0. With today’s upgrade, you can now customise these settings per series. If your favorite podcaster happens to need a new microphone, add the noise reduction filter every time. If you’re a language learner, you could slow down foreign shows to 0.5x.

    New languages

    Discovery doesn’t stop at niche topics. Player FM is always adding new langauges to its catalogue and with this release, the entire app has been localised to Korean, Portuguese and Chinese. They join English, Spanish, Russian, Italian, French, German, and Japanese as languages which are fully supported by the apps and its catalogue and docs.

    Below are some of the changes we’ve released since Player FM 3.0 in case you missed it…

    • Mini-player redesign.
    • Make your subscriptions public so others can see them on web and in the app and who knows? You’ll gain followers with the same interests as yours.
    • Sort your Play Later list by series and publish date.
    • Be aware of series with errors. A transparent fetch model indicates you when a series is failing to fetch or has been “closed” or “replaced”.
    • Check absolute dates in episode shownotes.
    • Be in control with your phone’s storage as the downloads screen now shows storage used and available play time.
    • Many new channels added and populated with interesting shows. You might want to check some of these out: https://player.fm/featured/filmmaking, https://player.fm/featured/comedian-interviews & https://player.fm/featured/the-blacklist

    Be the first to receive future updates by becoming a Beta Tester and follow Player FM on Twitter and Facebook for further updates, tricks, and recommendations.

    Player FM v3.1 revamps podcasting experience

    We’ve been listening to a lot of user feedback here and here, so after major features were introduced in v3.0, we worked on a design update based on feature requests by fellow podcast junkies.

    Night and AMOLED power-saving display themes

    A lot of us listen to podcasts at night. Enable the ‘Night’ theme mode under Display settings to reduce glare so looking at the screen in a dark room is easier on the eyes. There’s also the AMOLED power-saving ‘Black’ theme that helps AMOLED device owners prolong their battery life – less pixels to paint means more shows to play. You can also switch display themes by tapping on your logo/avatar in the side menu.

    New ‘Download-only’ switch in Side Menu

    We know that when you’re out and on 3G/4G, that you wanted a way to view & listen to just saved episodes while still being online. Save data by switching to a ‘downloaded-only’ view from the side menu so only episodes you’ve downloaded will be played. (Before, you can also make this happen automatically via Playback Settings.) A new “Downloaded only” indicator will be present on the top of the screen when this setting is active to remind you.

    Sort Series Order and Custom Left/Right Swipe Actions

    We heard you! After some time, our podcast list does get unwieldy – now you can sort your subscriptions series in grid view with options such as newest-first and alphabetical order, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. We’ve also received a number of comments on the default swipe actions so we made it so you can choose whether to swipe left or right to mark the episode as played or add it to the Play Later list. Now, you get to choose!

    Player Updates

    Adding to a polished Material Design interface, a new round-arrow design for the player forward and back buttons has been introduced that features the actual time value – so you always know you can go back 30 seconds to repeat or go forward 60 seconds. Also, you can now tap the time on the mini-player to toggle between played time and remaining time. On the full-player, tap on the right hand time-display to switch between total time and remaining time.

    A Global podcasting app

    We’re launching the app in the Japanese language, joining English, Spanish, German, Italian and Russian with more to follow. To coincide with this, we’ve revamped our Catalogue to add 25 featured topics (including Better Call Saul, Star Wars, Serial & Election 2016) as well curated shows for 30 countries including popular daily podcasts for Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, China and Japan.

    We’re Listening

    We sought to build an app to bring you the best podcast listening and discovery experience – we reached important benchmarks lately, having just reached over 1 million installs and given ‘Top Developer’ status on Play Store. Thank you for all of your patience and support but we’re pretty sure you have ideas too. Player FM v3.1 has just begun rollout and users should receive these features by the next day. Be the first to receive future updates by becoming a Beta Tester and let us know what feature you’d like to be added in the next update.

    Player FM 3.0 is here: Video with Catalogue, Enhanced Audio, Related Series, International curation

    It’s been 1.5 years since 2.0 launched and it’s time for another big update! Before we run down the new features, thank you to all the users who have taken time to leave reviews and spread the word to their friends. And a special thanks to the awesome beta community for putting with our crazy polls, experiments, and the occasional hand-drawn scrawl.

    Video

    Call them vodcasts, videopodcasts, or “a bit like that tube site but somehow in a podcast app” … videos have always been part of podcasting. Sometimes presented as companions to an audio podcast, other times a pure-play video series or a TV show reformatted for the world of video podcasting. Player FM now downloads and plays video, and we’ve added a couple of other features to help with this. The catalogue now features a video filter so you can pick any topic and see the latest video series and episodes available. You also have a new setting to decide if the full-screen player opens after you hit the play button. We reckon you’ll want it to open when playing a video, so that’s the default, but it’s up to you now.

    Enhanced Audio

    Player FM already has a variable-speed control, with the unusual capacity to work while streaming (not just on a downloaded episode). With 3.0, we have enhanced the playback experience in two dimensions. Firstly, you now have enhanced audio settings to automagically boost volume, skip silence, and reduce noise. The great thing about podcasts is they are recorded by so many different people in so many different environments, and not always audio engineered to perfection. With these new capabilities, you’ll be able to play your favorite shows without compromising on audio quality. Second – formats! While MP3 is the staple of audio podcasts, there are other formats out there, and you’ll now find the custom player is more broadly compatible with them.

    All this continues to work on both streamed and downloaded episodes.

    The advanced player control has been updated to accommodate these features as below, and you’ll also find the speed control and sleep timer easier to operate now. (No more sliders!)

    Related series

    Player FM is all about solving the hardest question in podcasting: “What should I listen to?”. A great source of inspiration is to figure out which shows are like the ones you are already digging. And so, Player FM 3.0 introduces Related Series. Open the series detail screen, tap on “Related”, and see a list of similar shows. (Note not all series have related series yet; it depends on how much metadata is available.)

    To support quick access to this feature, as well as series descriptions, the series screen has been updated. With a smaller header, you now have more room to explore its episodes from the get-go.

    Localisation

    Following the recent Spanish release, Player FM will now support users in German, Italian, and Russian. These are more than app translations, but fully-curated local catalogues. In addition, a new “Countries” feature is available to highlight a variety of podcasts from each country.

    More languages and countries are coming – let us know if you’d like to help contribute or give us feedback on the translations.

    Quick access from Discover

    Discover is the place where you get fresh recommendations on your favorite topics. But it’s also a front door to the catalogue. The earlier catalogue button has now been updated to jump straight into popular, trending, videos, and countries sections.

    Go get Player FM 3.0

    We’ve been enjoying these features in beta for a while now and we can’t wait for you to enjoy them too. Player FM 3.0 has begun rollout now and should reach all users in the next day. If you can’t wait, opt into the beta and get it right now.

    Player FM 2.8.2 gets more space to explore

    What else to listen to?

    We want you to find out more podcast shows that you will like.

    That is why we rolled out v2.8.2 with more space to explore podcasts to listen to and follow. From the Discover window – just click ‘More in Catalogue’ and you can choose from Popular, Trending and Latest to discover new podcast shows. You can also access Catalogue by clicking on the three bars on the upper right.

    So is it downloading?

    We’ve also updated the Downloads screen to help you monitor progress and browse downloaded as well as queued episodes. So you never have to ask.

    We’re currently working on a lot of updates to the service, based on your feedback and some things we’ve wanted to do with the app that we think would improve your listening experience.

    Live life on the fast lane and be a beta tester.

    Player FM 2.8.1 Gets a Download Button plus more

    It’s time! Player FM now has the most awaited download button. While Play Later performs a similar function by keeping latest playlist items offline, the new download button is more familiar to users of traditional podcast apps.

    The download button also adds several advantages over adding to Play Later, namely the ability to “just download now” even on 3G and battery, and the ability to keep episodes permanently on the device without worrying about auto-cleanup. Play Later is still recommended for most users to keep episodes offline, because of exactly those points – it helps you manage bandwidth and power by only downloading when your settings say so; and it cleans up to keep a fixed amount of stored episodes. But for full control, you now have a download button and a corresponding delete button for any downloaded episode.

    Swiping

    We’ve added a new feature which is swiping. Enable it in Display Settings to use Play Later and Mark as Played with ease. It’s still an early feature, so you’ll need to enable it in Display Settings for now. You can still use the overflow menu for all episode options too.

    Additional Bug fixes

    Be the first to receive future updates by becoming a Beta Tester.

    All new web navigation bar

    Player FM’s toolbar has been updated with a top-row navigation bar to use the web app more efficiently. The first categories are your starred topics (if logged in) followed by the main topics.

    Also, on the right most part of the web’s toolbar you will find “ALL TOPICS”. Clicking it will launch an overlay to browse all topics, podcasts by country, what’s trending and popular and lastly networks.

    We hope that this helps you navigate easily within the web app and make it easier for you to locate your favorite podcasts.

    Featured on Google Play

    Shortly after v2.8, Player FM was recently featured in the main section of Google Play globally for the first time. High five!