(Updated on June 2019) iTunes, first introduced by Apple in 2005 was the first smartphone app to host podcasts. Not only is iTunes the first distribution outlet for podcasters, but it also is the most popular. In the world of podcasting, you can’t say you are a podcaster without submitting your podcast to iTunes. Though new syndication points have recently launched on platforms, like Google and Spotify (and it appears that Pandora will soon join the game as well) Apple remains the main and most popular podcast distribution outlet. In fact, in 2018 it rebranded to be named Apple Podcasts. With an entirely new iPhone app, it now holds 500k available podcasts and has reached over 50 billion downloads.
Can anyone get a podcast on Apple Podcasts?
Yes! Anyone can create a podcast and publish it on Apple Podcasts. In fact, posting a podcast on Apple Podcasts is completely free and the process is very simple since we introduced our one-click distribution method.
There are just a few steps in order to get your podcast on Apple Podcasts:
- Visit your CMS dashboard
- Select the show you’d like to publish
- On your show’s left-hand side panel, select the ‘Distribution’ option.
- To the right of ‘Apple Podcasts’, select the drop-down arrow and click ‘Submit’
For the next steps, we’ll walk you through exactly what you need to do directly via the CMS – don’t worry though it’s super simple. Once your show’s been submitted it’s just a matter of waiting, as soon as your show is accepted or rejected, you’ll receive an e-mail, either way, confirming the outcome.
If however, you don’t want to use our one-click system, you can also directly upload your podcast with your RSS feed, we will automatically create your RSS feed for you, making the submission process extremely straightforward.
What are the requirements for a podcast to be approved by Apple Podcasts?
Before submitting your podcast, do a quick check to make sure you have all of these elements crossed off:
- Your podcast artwork must be formatted as a square JPG or PNG image, and at least 1400 x 1400 to 3000 x 3000 in size in RGB color space. We recommend a 1400 x 1400 JPG image. Remember to design your podcast graphic for scalability. That way, even if your cover art is scaled down or blown up, any text is still legible. Start by creating your artwork with the smallest size first, like 125 x 125 or 55 x 55. If it still looks good and you can clearly make out what’s there, it’s perfect!
- Your podcast should not break any copyright or trademark protection rules. Any artwork you utilize to market your podcast will have to be either your original work or be licensed for use from the creator/copyright owner. If you’re not artistically inclined, you can browse sites like Creative Market, where you can license a ready-made graphic, or Dribbble, where you can source and artist to make a custom graphic for you. As with any work-for-hire, you will want to be sure that your agreement with the designer or artist gives you full rights to register the copyright for the art.
- If you’re submitting with an RSS feed, you need to make sure it’s publicly accessible. Password protected feeds are not accepted by iTunes.
Here are some additional steps we also recommend, so that your podcast is as successful as possible on iTunes:
- Choose a unique title for your podcast to avoid your show from being confused with others. The best podcast names engage your audience, educate them on the purpose of your podcast, and encourage them to keep listening. One of our favorite podcasts, The Morning Toast, follows these principles in their own title. As a daily morning news show, the title implies that listeners can tune in in the morning and can also expect a new episode everyday.
- Choose catchy artwork for your podcast— it’s the first thing people will look at. As the old saying goes, first impressions only happen once. Your podcast artwork is the first thing your audience will see, so be sure that it’s enticing and unique. Read our suggestions here for making great podcast cover art.
This is how Podcasts are listed on the iTunes app.
Test the RSS Feed and submit your podcast to Apple
When submitting with an RSS feed you’ll need to ensure that all the metadata is showing up correctly. To do so, you can use a Podcast RSS Feed Validator. Validating a podcast feed ensures that any other site or app is able to read your feed. For example, your podcast feed may work well in Apple Podcasts, but may not be readable to other sites. Running your RSS feed through a Podcast RSS Feed Validator, like this one, helps to resolve any problems in your feed’s readability.
Apple has a specific format that must be followed to submit a podcast. First, head over to Podcasts Connect, Apple’s portal dedicated for podcast creators. It’s important to note that you must have an Apple ID to log into the portal. If you’re a Mac or iOS user, it’s likely that you already have one. If not, you can create one here. Once you’re logged into the portal, you will find your Podcasts Connect dashboard. You can utilize the plus sign in the upper left-hand corner to add a new show to our directory.
Then, you will be prompted to enter and validate your RSS feed address. If your RSS feed is validated, you will then be able to submit your podcast for review.
After your podcast is submitted for review, you will be locked out and unable to make any changes. The review process isn’t long, it typically takes 24-48 hours at most. When your podcast is approved, you’ll receive an email from Apple saying so.
Getting iTunes errors while validating
When submitting your podcast to Apple Podcasts, there are a few submission errors that could occur, causing your podcast to be rejected. Here are a few other common validation problems:
- Bad RSS feed URL: This error is displayed if your podcast is hosted on a platform that isn’t HTTP compliant. You need to contact your web hosting provider for assistance.
- Inaccessible feed: Check your feed carefully. Make sure you have spelled everything correctly. Podcast connect doesn’t allow spaces in a URL. Make sure to replace them with underscores. If you are using WordPress, you may have to reset permalinks.
- Bad artwork: When you upload a podcast to Apple Podcasts, artwork matters a great deal. Check if your artwork meets the requirements for submission to Apple Podcasts.
- Timeouts: Podcast connect will display this error message if your feed takes a long time to load. You will need to reduce the size of your RSS feed. 1 MB feed size is okay. But, try to keep it under 512 KB for better results.