How to get your podcast listed on iTunes
So, having explained this to someone tonight for probably the 10th time this year, I decided to write this entry. I am sure other people have questions about this, and hopefully it helps.
When you start a podcast, it’s extremely valuable to get it listed in the iTunes Store. It helps random people discover it, and it also lets you say stuff like “Just look up [YOUR PODCAST TITLE] on iTunes” instead of giving a web address. That can be especially useful when you’re a guest on other podcasts.
What confuses some people though is that Apple have 2 things named iTunes: The iTunes Store, where they list all the podcasts, and iTunes the program, which you can use to listen to podcasts. And what doesn’t help, confusion-wise, is that you usually use iTunes, the program, to get to the iTunes, the store.
The iTunes Store of course sells music and TV shows and movies, but it also lists podcasts, in a big directory. When you say “I want to get my podcast on iTunes“, this is what you mean: you want to get in this directory. You still need to host your files somewhere, the iTunes Store doesn’t actually store any podcast files. They simply provide a big directory. (And obviously, I’d recommend Castmate as a host!)
Using a service like Castmate makes everything simple: You just create your podcast, upload it to our servers, and then use our iTunes Settings form to enter a few bits of info about your show (copyright info, category, etc, as well as a cover image.) Once you fill out that form we link you to the Apple Store and you just have to paste 1 line of code in there that tells iTunes where your RSS feed is (incidentally, it’s at http://www.castmate.fm/feed.php?u=yourusername for Castmate users, except you need to change the yourusername part of course.)
Once you submit it, Apple will look at it manually, and approve it. Castmate-hosted podcasts tend to get approved in 24-48 hours, sometimes faster. People can still access your podcast until it’s listed there though. Being listed on the iTunes Store simply makes it easier for people to find you, you can totally run a podcast without doing it. You can send people to yourusername.castmate.fm for instance.
If you self-host your podcast, or use another podcast host, the process is similar, albeit possibly not as streamlined and simplified: Your ultimate goal is to create a valid RSS feed with all the extra iTunes-specific fields that Apple wants to see (their specs here), and a cover image, and then submit the URL of that feed to them, inside the iTunes Store.
Hmm, having written that out, I fear it may not be as clear and succinct as I hoped, so let me totally simply and tl;dr it:
If you want to get your podcast listed on iTunes (and you almost certainly do):
- Make sure you realize the difference between the iTunes Store and the iTunes program/app. The iTunes Store is what you are ultimately looking for.
- Your goal is to create a complete, valid RSS feed, along with album art for your podcast, and submit it to the iTunes Store.
- If you use Castmate, we have an easy tool to do most of the work for you, as long as you enter a few bits of info (copyright info, author name, etc.)
Hope that helps, get in touch with me if you need any more info! Andrew *at* Castmate.fm