You probably know how you can link to items in the iTunes Store—Control-click on nearly any entry in the store, and you’ll see Copy iTunes Store Link appear in a contextual menu. While these copied URLs work just fine, they may not be ideal if you have documents that will be displaying the URL itself, as opposed to a link. As an example, copying the iTunes Store URL for the Nickelback album Curb places the following URL on my clipboard:
While the link itself works fine, it’s not really something you’d enjoy typing into your machine, if you were to read it in a magazine, for instance. There are many solutions to this problem, including URL-shortening services such as TinyURL. As it turns out, though, you can create your own iTunes Store links that are much simpler to type and easier to remember. The iTunes Store has a hidden URL format that’s much more logical. Depending on what you’re linking to, you just need to build a URL in one of these formats:
- Artist’s name or App Store developer’s name:
- Album name:
- App Store apps:
- TV show:
To build your own links, just follow the above templates—but don’t use the underscores which I used just to make things more readable. Instead, if any of the values contains a space, just remove it when adding it to the above URLs. As an example, I can link to the same Nickelback album as I did above by using this “pretty” URL:
That’s a much nicer link to read, and it works just as well as the above. Note that you may not get everything to work—I’ve had mixed luck with names that contain spaces, for instance. But most of the time, the above guidelines should help you build a “pretty” URL for an item in the iTunes Store.
Obviously, this hint is basically useless if you’re building iTunes Store URLs on your own Web site—you’d use the ugly URL, but hide it behind a nice link such as Coldplay’s Dark Horse. As an alternative, you could also use Apple’s own iTunes Store link maker to create links complete with graphical previews.