Parsing iTMS RSS w/Magpie

Apple kindly provides RSS feeds of “Top 10” and “Recently Added” items to the iTunes Music Store. The version linked above is for the general public. Partners/affiliates use a separate interface to generate RSS feeds with embedded affiliate IDs. Either way, the feeds they generate display by default as … wait for it … a series of HTML tables including all kinds of information you probably don’t want to display on your site — stuff like price, release date, and copyright holder all seem locked into the feed.

I’m using Magpie to display columns of genre-specific artist images on pages in The Archive of Misheard Lyrics. At first thought I’d have to scrape the feed to get just the data I wanted out of the tables, but then discovered that all of the data elements actually are atomic – they’re just stored in a subarray. Since this isn’t documented and Google turned up nothing useful, thought I’d share the code I came up with for the sake of future searchers.

Music: Pere Ubu :: Slow Walking Daddy

PHP chunk for parsing iTMS RSS feeds with Magpie.

foreach ($items as $item) {
$href = $item['link'];

/*
The crux of the biscuit -- to fetch album
cover data you need to
jump into a separate (sub)array --
the itms namespace.
*/

$itms  = $item["itms"];
$artist = $itms["artist"];
$album = $itms["album"];
$title = $itms["title"];

/*
Now that we're in the itms subarray and can get
the URI to the cover art, we find that Apple does
a pretty bizarre thing -- they put multiple coverart
img URIs into one long concatenated string.
I needed to extract the fourth (100x100) one.
*/

$coverart = $itms["coverart"];
$cover_pieces = explode("http://", $coverart);
$coverart = "http://$cover_pieces[3]";

// The Xs in the string below are  due to a weird
// quirk in WordPress. Remove them.

$ITMSImgString .= "
<a xhref=\"$href\"><img xsrc=\"$coverart\"></a> <br />
";

}

Simple stuff in retrospect, but sometimes it takes way too long to get to the simple solution (would it kill you to document this, Apple?)

2 Replies to “Parsing iTMS RSS w/Magpie”

  1. Thanks for this. It was driving me crazy trying to display ITMS cover art. Nice one!

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