This week, at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2019, Apple announced several changes to iTunes and Apple Podcasts. They are worth noting, but they are not worth panicking over.
iTunes For Mac is Being Split Up.
If you are a Macintosh computer user (as opposed to Windows), you will no longer use iTunes as your app for all things audio. Later this year, iTunes will be split into three separate applications – Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts. If you have an Apple device, such as an iPad or iPhone, you’ve already seen this change.
If you are a Windows PC user, your iTunes application will remain unchanged, at least for now. Nothing to see here.
Apple Podcasts Categories Are Changing.
This is the only item that may require action on the part of podcasters. Apple is changing some of their podcast categories later this summer. You can see a full list of what to expect here. I don’t recommend changing your categories in Apple’s Podcasts Connect portal just yet; we don’t have a release date on these changes. Also, you may remember, several months ago Apple threatened to kick out podcasts that had episode numbers in their titles. They backed off this threat within 48 hours; the backlash from the podcasting community was both swift and fierce.
Apple is already taking some heat for this latest move. James Cridland, editor of the industry trade Podnews, wrote a piece for Medium. In it, Cridland takes Apple to task for thinking they control the industry. While they are still the dominant listening platform (at about 62%), that share is shrinking. So, we will wait to see what kind of rollout, if any, these new categories get.
New Search Enhancements For Podcasts Are Coming.
There’s also some good podcast news coming out of Apple’s WWDC. In their Tuesday email to podcasters, the company announced the ability to search for shows by “transcripts, topics, and people.” They mentioned availability for top English podcasts soon, with more to follow. Again, however, the announcement is short on both details and timeline. If Apple can create automated transcripts of your show, and have your content be searchable, that would be a game changer. But for now, we are left wondering if, how, and when.
We will see if Apple actually follows through with these new features, and if so, when. For now, keep an eye out for an announcement regarding actual category changes. When they roll out, you may need to make a couple of minor tweaks within Apple (I will help my clients with this). But for now, exhale.
Email from Apple:
Below is the email sent to all podcasters from Apple on Tuesday night:
Dear Podcast Provider,
To improve your experience with Apple Podcasts, we want to share the following information and updates announced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2019.
Apple Podcasts for Mac
Apple Podcasts for Mac will launch this fall. Members of the Apple Developer Programcan preview the new Apple Podcasts for Mac now. Apple Beta Software Programmembers will have access this summer.
Apple Podcasts will allow listeners to discover shows based on audio transcripts, topics, and people. Moreover, show and episode pages will display images of hosts and guests.
These features will first be available for selected top shows in English; more shows will be added later this year. Sign in to Podcasts Connect, if needed, to review the latest Terms of Service in order for your show to be eligible.
Apple Podcasts Categories
Later this summer we’re adding top-level categories such as Fiction, History, and True Crime — as well as dozens of new subcategories. See the updated list of supported categories in Podcasts Connect Help.
Here are some scenarios to help you understand if you should consider updating your show’s category:
New categories. We’ll be introducing new top-level categories such as Fiction, History, and True Crime. Additionally, dozens of new subcategories will be available. For example, Fiction > Drama.
Renamed categories. For clarity, some categories will be renamed. When possible, shows will be mapped to the updated category or subcategory value upon launch. For example, Sports & Recreation > Outdoor will become Sports > Wilderness.
Discontinued subcategories. Some subcategories will be discontinued. Shows with a subcategory that will no longer be available will still retain its top-level category. For example, Sports & Recreation > Professional will be displayed as Sports until a new subcategory value is added to the RSS feed.
You can make changes to your show’s category now, and they’ll go live on Apple Podcasts later this summer. Contact your hosting provider for further support in implementing the updated Apple Podcast categories within your RSS feed.
Explore Resources and Help to stay up to date on the above developments.
The Apple Podcasts team
Big changes coming to podcasting: Apple is going to let the people who make podcasts learn what podcast listeners actually like — and what they ignore.