Apple is syndicating iTunes purchase history and user reviews as Flash widgets and Atom feeds under a new program called My iTunes Widgets. Any iTunes Music Store customer can opt-in to sharing their subscribed podcasts, purchased music, music video, TV shows, movies, and positive reviews through an account preference set in the iTunes application. iTunes customers can choose from 5 different Flash widget styles in three different height and width combinations for easy embedding on social networking sites and blog sidebars.
The underlying Apple Atom feed references custom iTunes descriptors under the “im” namespace. Podcasts are a
contentType of “Podcast” which is really just Apple’s take on nested
category elements without a declared
scheme. My recent music purchases include a 30-second preview as an enclosure, links to artist, album, and genre pages, release dates, price, and multiple album cover thumbnails. Here is a link to my 40 most recent iTunes purchases in Atom format and the associated My iTunes widget configuration page for the curious.
Apple syndicates its Flash widgets as one long URL served by Akamai. If the widget separated out its Flash file and its FlashVars the widget would be better cached across the Web as a single Flash object.
These new feeds from Apple make it even easier for external websites to integrate your purchase history into a recommendation engine. Apple is the most popular music store and podcatcher by a large margin, and these new Atom feeds power new types of music experiences. Apple is only syndicating iTunes Music Store behavior, not your entire music library history, which seems like a good privacy trade-off for the mass market.