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How to Upload Your Podcast to Apple Podcasts (iTunes) [2021]

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How to Upload Your Podcast to Apple Podcasts (iTunes) [2021]

Once you’ve recorded your podcast, you want to get it out there for the world to hear. For maximum exposure, you should be distributing your podcast to all the mainstream listening platforms including Apple Podcasts. 

With the recent additions of Apple Podcast Subscriptions, as well as the move away from iTunes, newbie and well-seasoned podcasters alike can find the whole process confusing. 

In this guide, we walk you through how exactly to upload your podcast to Apple Podcasts from all major podcast hosting services. Let’s get started. 

TL;DR

  • Apple Podcasts is the new iTunes podcasts
  • Apple now offers Podcast Subscriptions which allow creators to monetize their podcasts in new ways and attract new listeners 
  • To upload your podcast to Apple Podcasts, all you need is your RSS feed which you’ll find on your podcast hosting service dashboard

What is Apple Podcasts?

A place to listen to your podcasts. 

Apple Podcasts, previously known as iTunes podcasts, is Apple’s dedicated listening platform for podcasts. It’s free to use for both podcasters and listeners (although there are now premium options), and is available for download as a mobile and desktop app. 

Apple Podcasts is not a podcast host. 

Apple Podcasts does not actually host your podcast file. This means you’re not uploading your actual podcast recording to Apple Podcasts. 

Apple Podcasts locates your podcast file using an RSS feed. 

So when you publish your podcast to Apple Podcasts, you’re actually telling it where to locate your podcast recording using an RSS feed, which connects to your podcast host. 

What is a podcast hosting service? 

A platform that stores your podcasts. 

A podcast host essentially stores your podcast files and distributes them, via an RSS feed, to your desired listening platforms. 

Read this article to find out which podcast host is best for you and your podcasts.

The reason podcast hosts are necessary is because of the size of the media files associated with podcast recordings. 

There are a number of podcast hosting services out there suitable for all podcasters and their budgets. A few popular examples include Buzzsprout, Anchor, and Podbean

Learn how to upload your podcast using Podbean 

What is an RSS feed? 

An RSS feed contains all of your podcast’s metadata and its location on the internet.  

An RSS feed is essentially like coordinates on a map. It indicates where the original file is stored and means that you can distribute your podcast to multiple platforms from a single podcast host. 

To upload your podcast to Apple Podcasts, all you need is your podcast’s RSS feed, which you’ll find on your podcast hosting service. 

Recent changes to Apple Podcasts and what they mean for podcasters

Apple Podcasts has recently seen a number of exciting updates and additions which all aim to optimize the creator and listener experience. 

Enhanced search function 

Recent updates have optimized the Apple Podcast search tab giving quick access to the Top Charts and Categories. This means listeners can find your podcast in no time. 

Smart Play button 

With the smart play button, episodic shows will play automatically from the latest episode, whereas serials will start from the beginning. This means your listeners will enjoy your podcast exactly as you intended. 

Save individual episodes 

Listeners can now save individual podcast episodes to their personal library for offline playback. This means they can enjoy your podcast on the go and at any time. 

Podcast channels 

Apple Podcast’s Podcast channels will allow listeners to browse and subscribe to curated collections of shows put together by the podcast creators themselves. This means you can group a number of your podcasts together in a single channel. These collections will help podcasters build a stronger brand identity, connect with their audience, and allow listeners to discover new content with ease. 

Apple Podcast Subscriptions (coming soon) 

As we’ve mentioned, listeners will be able to subscribe to these new podcast channels to receive the latest updates and newest episodes. Podcasters will have the option to offer their subscription for free or for a small fee, creating a whole new way to monetize your podcast. 

Premium subscriptions 

With Apple Podcast Subscriptions, creators can offer paid subscriptions to their shows and podcast channels in exchange for premium benefits and exclusive access. 

The subscription model is designed to be flexible, meaning podcasters can choose exactly what benefits they want to offer, for how much, and whether it’s a monthly or annual payment. You can also offer a free trial, so listeners can get a taste of what’s on offer before committing. 

How it works

There are three pricing structures: 

Free

Listeners can access and listen to your podcast free of charge (like they did before). 

Freemium’ 

Listeners can listen to your show for free but can subscribe to receive exclusive benefits. 

Paid 

Your podcast is behind a paywall, so listeners need to subscribe to listen. 

Subscriber benefits

You can choose to offer all or some of the following premium benefits to your subscribers: 

Ad-free listening 

Your listeners can enjoy your content free of interruption, and you don’t lose out on the crucial income. 

Additional episodes

Entice your listeners to subscribe by offering exclusive episodes, so they feel like they’re getting a little extra something. 

Early access 

Offer advance access to your content, so that your subscribers are listening before anyone else. 

Archived episodes

Open your old and archived content up to subscribers, so they can enjoy even more of your podcast. 

Podcaster Benefits 

To offer paid subscriptions to your podcast, you need to be signed onto the Apple Podcasters Program. Once you’ve registered, you’ll take home 70% of the subscription price, minus applicable taxes. This rises to 85%, once a listener has been subscribed to you for one year. You’ll receive 100% of any other income stream from your podcast (including ads!) 

Apple Podcasters Program 

The Apple Podcasters Program costs $19.99 per year and is the gateway to a whole load of benefits, including the ability to offer premium subscriptions to your podcast. To sign up, you’ll need to sign in to your Apple Podcasts Connect account (Apple’s online dashboard for podcasters), agree to the Apple Podcasters Program agreement, and then set up your subscription. 
Note: In order to offer subscriptions to your show, you need to have created a podcast channel first. 

Apple Podcasts Connect 

Apple’s designated dashboard for podcasters has undergone some improvements, so creators can access in-depth data about their show, track engagement, and optimize their podcast’s performance. 

How to upload your podcast to Apple Podcasts 

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through how to upload your podcast to Apple Podcasts. 

The most important thing to note is that you’ll only have to do this process once. Once you’ve linked it, your podcast RSS feed will keep your show automatically updated on Apple Podcasts. 

This process is the same whether you’re using Libsyn, Podbean, or Soundcloud. For those using Anchor - luckily for you, this process is automated. 

Note: Unless you’re using Anchor, you’ll still need to upload your podcast manually to other major streaming platforms. 

  1. Upload your podcast recording (mp3 or WAV) to your podcast host. 
  2. Add your podcast details: title, description, cover art, and transcript. It’s vital to ensure everything is correctly configured and filled out. 
  3. Locate your podcast’s RSS feed URL and copy the link
  4. Log in to Apple Podcasts Connect. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create an Apple ID first. 
  5. Click the purple ‘Add Show’ button in the center of your screen or the ‘+’ button in the top left, and then ‘New Show’ 
  6. Click ‘Add existing show (RSS feed)’ 
  7. Paste your RSS Feed URL into the field provided
  8. Upload your podcast artwork 
  9. Verify your show’s details 
  10. Click the ‘Validate’ button in the top right corner of your screen 
  11. Wait for Apple to verify and approve your show. Podcasts, channels and subscriptions are all reviewed separately. 
  12. You can find your Apple Podcast URL under Show Information in your Apple Podcasts Connect dashboard. 

Note: it can take up to 72 hours for Apple to approve your podcast. You can monitor its progress in your Apple Podcasts Connect dashboard. 

Top tip: to avoid Apple rejecting your podcast, ensure your artwork meets Apple’s specifications:

  • Not blurry, pixelated, misaligned or mismatched
  • Does not contain Apple logos or Apple Hardware 
  • Minimum 1400 x 1400 pixels and maximum 3000 x 3000 pixels

The process is fairly simple and painless, and the benefit is that once you’ve done this once you won’t have to do it again. Plus, many other podcast directories and listening platforms use Apple Podcasts as their source of information. So once you’re up on Apple Podcasts, your show will also appear in apps like Overcast and Castbox. 

FAQs

Why did Apple reject my podcast?

This could be for a number of reasons, so there’s no single answer. It could be because: 

  • The language of your podcast is different from the one you indicated
  • Your podcast artwork doesn’t fulfill Apple’s requirements
  • Your podcast breaches Apple’s community guidelines with its content (racist, misogynist or homophobic) 
  • Your podcast contains explicit language and you didn’t indicate this 

Can I upload my podcast directly from Garageband? 

Although this would be incredibly convenient, unfortunately, the answer is no. You still have to export your podcast recording, upload it to your podcast host, and then submit to Apple Podcasts using the process outlined above. 

Can I upload a podcast from my iPhone? 

Yes, if your podcast hosting service offers an app (like Anchor or Spreaker), you can publish your podcast using the same process from your iPhone. 

Read this article to find out how to record your podcast using your iPhone 

Final thoughts 

With all these new changes and improvements, Apple Podcasts is gearing up to be a fantastic platform for creators. You’ll soon be able to harness your podcast to new levels, increase your income streams, and connect with your audience like never before. Beat the crowd, and get your podcast up there and ready now for the Podcast Subscriptions launching later this month.

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