The higher your podcast ranks in iTunes, the easier it is to grow your audience – so it’s crucial to keep up on and follow their recommendations.
This month, iTunes made a number of changes to the iTunes Store podcast directory that could have a direct impact on the success of your podcast.
Here’s what you need to know (and do) to comply with the new iTunes Podcast
iTunes Podcast Image Recommendation Change
Apple now recommends using a 3000 x 3000 pixel JPG or PNG in the RGB color space in a compressed format. Saving your image as a JPG with your favorite image editing software should automatically compress your image to optimize for mobile devices.
If you are saving your image as a PNG, please be aware that your image must be saved in the RGB color space. If the image is saved as a CMYK color space (used for printing), it will not be accepted by iTunes. (See our guide to logos, branding and theme for more information on color spaces and other crucial things to keep in mind while designing your cover art.)
The minimum size of 1400 x 1400 may continue to be used and will look acceptable on a tablet or phone – but while it’s not an urgent change, the larger 3000 x 3000 size will look best when viewed in the Apple TV podcasts app.
iTunes Podcast Explicit Setting Change
Apple has changed the iTunes explicit setting. You must now select “clean” or “explicit” – the ‘no’ option is no longer available.
The “explicit” setting previously allowed for a 3rd option referred to as “no” (also referred to as “none” by some services). Nothing was displayed next to your podcast on iTunes if neither “clean” or “explicit” were set. With this change, there is no longer a neutral option.
If you don’t set your podcast as either “clean” or “explicit,” it appears that Apple will now make that determination for you. To guarantee that your content is marked correctly, please update your explicit setting as soon as possible.
The explicit setting is available both at the program/show level as well as the episode level. If all of your episodes are explicit or clean, you will only need to set this attribute at the program/show level.
We are still waiting on a response from Apple staff how to handle the situation with mixed explicit and clean episodes. We assume the previous behavior still applies:
- If your program is marked “explicit,” then all episodes within that show are also considered explicit. A “clean” episode for an explicit show/program is not applicable.
- If your program is marked “clean,” then all episodes are considered clean unless otherwise marked explicit.
The explicit setting is very important to maximize your distribution on iTunes. Some territories and countries such as India do not allow explicit content.
iTunes does enforce its explicit settings. Do not assume you can mark content as clean even though it includes explicit content – many podcasters have learned the hard way that mis-labeling your show will lead to being removed from the iTunes podcast directory.
Managing Podcast Submissions to iTunes has Changed
Podcast submissions to the iTunes podcast directory are now managed by the new Podcast Connect website. The new website allows you to submit new podcasts, as well as refresh, hide and delete your current podcast listings.
In February, 2011 Apple dropped the update listing protocol, leaving podcasters with no way to refresh their podcast listings on iTunes. The new Podcast Connect website includes a Refresh Feed option, we applaud and appreciate the addition.
Check back here at the PowerPress Podcast blog weekly for important updates and information that can help you improve your podcast’s chances for success!
Podcast show listings are currently limited to 20 episodes because of a temporary issue in iTunes. Apple staff are aware of and working on the problem. The problem only affects podcast directory listings in podcasts’ iOS app and desktop iTunes.
Subscribed users to your podcast can still see all of the episodes available in your podcast feed. The issue is only with directory listings (when viewing your podcast from within the iTunes store).
Once the problem is resolved, iTunes will once again display up to 300 episodes, depending on what you have configured in your podcast feed.
PowerPress users wanting to change their episode limit
The WordPress default displays 10 items (episodes) in feeds. You can override this default by going into PowerPress Settings > Feeds tab and changing the value in the “show the most recent” setting to a larger value, as high as 300. Keep in mind that the higher you set this value the larger your feed’s file size will be. If you set this value higher than 50, we strongly recommend enabling the “feed maximizer” option, which ensures your large feed does not include blogging meta data that is not needed for podcasting.
Testing your podcast feeds
We recommend viewing your feed with the Firefox Web browser if you want to preview and test your podcast feed. Firefox specifically formats RSS feeds in a readable way and will display an error or a blank page if there is a problem parsing your feed. We no longer recommend using Feed Validator services. As of now, none of the feed validating services support secure (https://) URLs.
Blubrry is proudly partnering with Appendipity, a leading creator of WordPress themes for podcasters. The collaboration provides Blubrry.com’s podcast media hosting and statistics clients standout themes that keep audio and video podcasts front and center in the marketplace. The professional, unique themes are optimized to work with Blubrry PowerPress, the leading plugin for WordPress, to leave a lasting impression on podcast audiences.
“At Appendipity we create, design and develop Premium WordPress themes specifically for podcasters,” said Joey Kissimmee, founder. “All Appendipity themes are 100 percent compatible and integrated with PowerPress to make your podcasting efforts as easy and seamless as possible.”
In addition to the initial collaboration, RawVoice will continue to work with Appendipity to inform them when plugin changes and upgrades will be implemented. This allows for effortless transitions for podcasters using both of the companies’ services.
“We are delighted that Appendipity, a leading-edge creator of themes in the podcast space, is the first template creator to specifically work with us to ensure smooth integration between PowerPress and their podcast themes,” said Todd Cochrane, RawVoice CEO. “We are pleased to recommend them.”
Welcome to PowerPress 6.0! This major release includes a lot of new features, bug fixes and changes.
New Features in PowerPress 6.0
Subscribe Tools (PowerPress exclusive features): PowerPress 6.0 includes three new subscribe tools to help you convert your Web visitors into podcast subscribers.
- Subscribe Page and Shortcode Embed: With the new subscribe page and shortcode, you can create a static page using an embed that displays a box, which provides subscribe options for the most common devices. You can create the page with one click that inserts a subscribe page template. The shortcode embed is responsive and features mobile device friendly buttons designed for high resolution “Retina” displays. Learn more about the PowerPress Subscribe Page and Subscribe Shortcode Embed.
- Subscribe Sidebar Widget: We now include a “subscribe to podcast” sidebar widget. The widget features mobile device friendly buttons and includes a “More Subscribe Options” button that links to your subscribe page.
- Subscribe Links: Below each player we now include subscribe link options that include iTunes, RSS and a “More Subscribe Options” that link to your subscribe page.
We believe the new subscribe tools included in PowerPress will be key to growing podcasts. Android now makes up more than 84 percent of the mobile market; we believe it is important to provide options to help you capture those audiences. We also understand the importance of recommending applications that are free and do not include intrusive advertisements either in the app or inserted into the media content. We found two Android applications that meet this criteria — BeyondPod and Podcast Republic __ and included them as subscribe options.
Official iTunes Subscribe Banner: In addition to the subscribe options above, we are excited to include the new iTunes subscribe banner. You can add the iTunes subscribe banner using the PowerPress subscribe shortcode with the itunes_banner attribute set to true. e.g. [powerpress_subscribe itunes_banner="true"]. Learn more about the Subscribe Shortcode Embed.
Podcasting SEO (PowerPress exclusive feature): Search engine optimization (SEO) features have been added to help improve discovery of your podcast on search engines such as Google, and in the iTunes podcast directory. Learn more about PowerPress Podcasting SEO Settings.
Playlist Player: The new playlist player in PowerPress built upon the WordPress playlist player designed specifically for podcasting. Styling and functionality is the same, though shortcode options are different. Learn more about PowerPress Playlist Shortcode
Migrate to Blubrry Podcast Hosting in three easy steps: One of the biggest complaints we had received was that it’s too hard and/or complicated to migrate a podcast. Not anymore! So as long as your media is currently online, our three-step migration process handles all the legwork for you.
Changes in PowerPress 6.0
Get the Flash out! Because of a lack of browser support for Flash in recent months and because Flash players are no longer actively developed, we’ve permanently removed Flow Player, Simple Flash, AudioPlay and Flash Player Maxi from PowerPress. The 1 Pixel Out player remains, though we now display a warning against its use.
WordPress 3.6 or newer: PowerPress 6.0 requires WordPress 3.6 or newer. Key features rely on base code not found in older versions of WordPress. For security purposes, we strongly recommend always using the latest versions of WordPress. Specifically, PowerPress 6.0 has been tested with yesterday’s release of WordPress 4.1.
iTunes Image requirements: Your show’s artwork now must be at least 1400 x 1400 and not exceed 2048 x 2048 in size. The previous specification recommended at least 1400 x 1400 and had no maximum size limit. Please ensure your artwork is within the new required minimum and maximum to guarantee your podcasts’ ability to be featured in iTunes.
iTunes over the holidays
In case you hadn’t heard, from Monday, Dec. 22, through Monday, Jan. 5, new podcast submissions to the iTunes podcast directory will require additional time for review and processing. New episodes during this time also may require additional time (possibly longer than the typical 4 hours) to appear on iTunes Store.
We want to thank our PowerPress users for your generous support, your ongoing feedback, feature suggestions and bug reporting. You have helped us provide the most powerful and feature-rich podcasting plugin for WordPress!
We would also like to thank the team over at Apple for helping us with the Subscribe on iTunes affiliate link and banner.
Keep it coming!
We are extremely excited about the release of PowerPress 6.0 because of what these new features, bug fixes and upgrades mean to you, our podcast family. We’re also excited to hear back from you about what you think: what you love and what you don’t love and how PowerPress 6.0 is (hopefully) making your media creation, subscription, migration and monetization that much easier. We also want to hear your ideas for the future. At Blubrry, we will continue to evolve to make podcasting the most dynamic, enjoyable and fruitful experience possible. Contact us through our contact form, on Facebook or on Twitter @blubrry and let us know how we’re doing.
We are hard at work adding new features to PowerPress. Here’s a sneak peek at the podcast playlist shortcode feature for the video’s on the PowerPress Podcast. (There’s an audio playlist as well.)
This playlist was created by using the following shortcode in PowerPress 6.0 beta: [powerpressplaylist type="video"]
The playlist expands on the audio and video playlist already built into WordPress 3.9. Anything you can do styling wise you can do with the PowerPress podcast playlist as well.
For a complete list of options, please see our documentation on the PowerPress playlist shortcode page.
This weekend we made some minor changes to the DNS records that had been planned well in advance. For whatever reason, those changes resulted in a small number of ISPs to not update the name servers. When we use diagnostic tools, we are seeing a 99 percent success rate in resolving the sites.
We have received about six support tickets and most have been resolved in the past couple of hours. This morning we made some additional changes that we feel will speed things up in the remaining ISPs. If you’re are having ongoing issues, here are a few things you can do to mitigate the issue.
1. Reboot your PC
2. Flush your DNS
3. If that does not fix the issue remove the media re-direct for the next 24hours.
This is not something we ever want to happen, and in the eight years we have been doing this we have never seen an issue like this. We apologize for the inconvenience.
The 1 Pixel Out Audio Player has returned to PowerPress! Last month we removed the 1 Pixel out player due to concerns of possible security exploits. The author of this open source flash player has updated the player to address these concerns. Thank you Martin!
The open source players packaged in PowerPress are created by individuals who have a passion for our podcasting community. To show your support, please make a donation to the 1 Pixel Out Audio Player.
The 1 Pixel Out Audio Player is back! Last month we removed the 1 Pixel out player due to concerns of possible security exploits. The author of this open source flash player has updated the player to address these concerns. Thank you Martin!
These open source players included in PowerPress are created by individuals who have a passion for our podcasting and music community. To show your support, please make a donation to the 1 Pixel Out Audio Player.
Due to concerns of possible security exploits, the 1 Pixel Out Audio Player has been removed from PowerPress as of version 4.0.6. PowerPress users are strongly encouraged to update their copy of PowerPress immediately.
If you update your copy of PowerPress via the plugin update interface built into your WordPress wp-admin, no further action is required.
If you update your copy of PowerPress via FTP, it is imperative that you delete the following file in the wp-content/plugins/powerpress folder: audio-player.swf
The possible issue is with the 1 Pixel Out flash based audio player. The official 1 Pixel Out Audio Player was removed temporary from WordPress.org repository (link: http://wordpr
ess.org/extend/plugins/audio-player/) until the security issues have been addressed. Once a new version is available, we will review re-including the player in PowerPress.
If your site is currently configured to use the 1 Pixel Out audio player (pictured below), the Flow Player Classic player will be substituted in its place once your copy of PowerPress is updated.
UPDATE: The creator of the 1 Pixel Out player is working on a fix. Once updated, we will be re-including the popular player in PowerPress.
These open source players included in PowerPress are created by individuals who have a passion for our podcasting and music community. To give back, please make a donation to the 1 Pixel Out Audio Player to show your support for this very popular Audio Player.