iTunes

Making a Podcast

This document covers the following topics:

  1. Submission and Feedback Processes
  2. Formatting Video for the iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV
  3. An Example Feed
  4. iTunes RSS Tags
  5. Common Mistakes
  6. Additional Resources
  7. iTunes Categories for Podcasting

You’ll find more information in the following locations:

Submission and Feedback Processes

Podcasting on iTunes requires several steps:

  1. Creating your first episode, which can be an audio recording, video, or even a text document. Supported file formats include .m4a, .mp3, .mov, .mp4, .m4v, .pdf, and .epub.
  2. Creating an RSS feed (an XML file) that:
    • Conforms to the RSS 2.0 specification
    • Includes the recommended iTunes RSS tags
    • Contains pointers to your episode
  3. Creating your cover art file that is a 1400x1400-pixel JPG or PNG.
  4. Posting the RSS file, cover art, and your episode file(s) on a server with byte-range support enabled and a publicly accessible URL. Byte-range support allows users to stream your episodes.
  5. Submitting the URL for your RSS feed to iTunes.

The rest of this section covers the submission process. The remainder of this document focuses on technical aspects of preparing your RSS feed.

Back to top

Creating Your Feed and the Importance of Good Metadata.

There are a number of applications and online services that will assist you in the creation of your podcast’s XML feed; you can even create one by hand using nothing but a text editor. Refer to those services or other documentation for the details of creating a feed. However, here are a few tips:

  1. Pay very close attention to the title, author, and description tags at the <channel> and <item> level of your podcast feed, because these are the fields that iTunes indexes for search. This metadata, along with your cover art, is your product packaging. It will affect whether your podcast shows up in relevant searches, and whether users who find your podcast are likely to click the Subscribe button.
  2. Make your title specific. A podcast entitled "Our Community Bulletin" is too vague and will attract no subscribers, no matter how compelling the content.
  3. Take advantage of the <itunes:summary> tag. The <itunes:summary> tag (or the <description> tag if <itunes:summary> is not present) is your chance to tell potential subscribers all about your podcast. Describe your subject matter, media format, episode schedule, and other relevant information so that they know what they’ll be getting when they subscribe. In addition, make a list of the most relevant search terms that you want your podcast to match, then build them into your description. Note that iTunes removes podcasts that include lists of irrelevant words in the <itunes:summary> or <description> tags.
  4. Be sure to include a valid <itunes:category>. Podcasts that have a category can appear in more places in iTunes and are more likely to be found by users. Your category should be in English in your feed, but will be localized in the iTunes Store.
  5. Pick a reliable podcast host. Too many podcasters create a feed and then find that their ability to move or edit the feed later is limited by the podcast’s host. Make sure your podcast is hosted in a place where you are in control of the content.
  6. Create a graphic for your podcast that is easy to recognize when scaled down to 50x50 pixels. Good cover art communicates the value of the podcast with a simple picture and a few words. Before you create your podcast cover art, go to the Podcasts page in the iTunes Store, click Top Podcasts, and note which cover art works best and why. We require 1400x1400-pixel JPG cover art to be eligible for featuring on the iTunes Store. You can also use images at the episode level.
Back to top

Understanding the iTunes Client, the iTunes Store, and the Podcasts App.

“iTunes” is one word that is used to refer to two things: (1) a client application that people install on their Mac, PC, or device to manage their music, podcasts, movies, and more, and (2) a server-side online site called the iTunes Store (iTS). Before you submit your feed to the iTunes Store, it's critical to understand this difference. Most misunderstandings regarding iTunes and podcasting stem from a failure to clearly distinguish between the client application and the store.

When you submit your podcast, you are notifying iTS that you have a podcast feed that is located in a particular place (the feed URL). If your feed is accepted, iTS simply reads your feed each day and updates the podcast directory with any new or changed information about your podcast. Note that iTS does not cache or make a copy of your feed, nor does it cache or make a copy of your episode files. For podcasts, iTS is acting in a capacity similar to a web directory.

When users find interesting podcasts in iTS, they click the Subscribe button, causing the podcast feed URL to be copied from iTS to the user's iTunes client. The iTunes client reads the podcast feed that is located at the feed URL, then downloads the media file for the podcast's most recent episode from the web server where it is hosted.

One important consequence of the subscriber’s iTunes client reading directly from the web server where the podcast is hosted, rather than accessing the podcast via iTS, is that the user’s iTunes client does not look to iTS for new information about your podcast. If iTS is not yet showing your most recent episode, that doesn't mean your subscribers can’t download the episode. Furthermore, if you move your podcast to a new location, you need to communicate the new location not only to iTS, but also to all of the iTunes clients that are subscribed to your feed. For more information, see the “Changing Your Feed URL” section below.

Podcasts is a free app for browsing and playing podcasts on iOS devices. The app works like the iTunes client, allowing users to subscribe to your podcast through iTS or through the app and receive subsequent updates to your podcasts directly from the host feed. Follow the same instructions in the “Changing Your Feed URL” section of this document to migrate existing subscribers on iOS to a new feed location. The Podcasts app can be downloaded from the App Store here.

Back to top

Testing Your Feed.

When you have created your RSS feed and posted it to a server with a publicly addressable URL (i.e., not behind a firewall), you should test your feed to see if it works with iTunes:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. From the File menu, choose Subscribe to Podcast.
  3. Enter your feed URL in the text box and click OK.

iTunes displays your Podcast playlist, which shows all the podcasts to which you have subscribed. Next to the new podcast subscription, you should see a circle filling as iTunes downloads your most recent episode. When the circle turns blue, you should be able to see your podcast title, a list of all the episodes referenced in your feed, and a check next to the most recent episode, indicating that it has been successfully downloaded. Double-click the episode to play it in iTunes. If you can successfully play the episode, then your feed is working and you can submit your podcast to iTunes. For text-based podcasts, use the Apple iBooks app to view your files and ensure that they are displaying properly.

If the circle is replaced by an exclamation point (!) inside a black circle, iTunes encountered a problem with your feed or episode. You should troubleshoot your episode and feed before submitting it. Please do not submit your feed until you can successfully subscribe using the File menu.

Back to top

Submitting Your Podcast to the iTunes Store.

If you can successfully subscribe to your feed using the File menu in iTunes, you’re ready to submit your feed:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. In the navigation bar along the top, click the iTunes Store button on the far right to open the store.
  3. Once the store loads, click Podcasts in the navigation bar to go to the Podcasts page.
  4. In the right column of the Podcasts page, below the Podcast Quick Links header, click the Submit a Podcast link.
  5. Follow the instructions on the Submit a Podcast page.

Note that to submit a podcast, you need a valid iTunes account, and you need to be logged in to iTunes. If you are not logged in, iTunes will prompt you to do so before accepting your submission. By requiring you to log in, iTunes increases the likelihood of valid contact information for each submission. Your credit card will not be charged for submission of a podcast.

If you have created an RSS feed with all of the recommended iTunes tags, you will see a summary page immediately after you submit your feed URL. If you have not included <language>, <itunes:category>, and <itunes:explicit> tags in your feed, you will see a second screen prompting you for this information. Please note that you can change this information at a later date by including the tags in your feed. Your RSS feed is considered the current and authoritative source for information about your podcast.

Back to top

Submission Errors and Duplicate Feeds.

There are a variety of errors that iTunes can encounter when you submit your feed. Almost all of them can be avoided by testing your feed using the File menu prior to submitting your feed.

In some cases, when you submit your feed URL, iTunes will respond by saying that the feed has already been submitted. There are two possible causes:

In either case, iTunes blocks your feed to avoid listing duplicate podcasts.

If the submission is blocked because the feed URL has already been submitted, and you are in control of the RSS feed, then you don’t have a problem: your podcast is in iTunes and you can control it by editing your feed.

If you are the feed owner and the feed that is listed in iTunes is not under your control, you can attempt to contact the owner by finding the feed URL and examining the code for contact information. You can also contact iTunes by navigating to the podcast page (where all the episodes for the podcast are listed) and selecting the Report a Concern link. From the Concern menu, choose Remove a Podcast and provide a detailed explanation of the problem as well as contact information. See the Frequently Asked Questions page for how to determine the feed URL currently used by iTunes.

Back to top

The Submission Queue.

Upon submission, your podcast is placed in a queue for review by the iTunes staff. Your podcast may be rejected for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:

In general, if there’s something that you want to convey about your feed, please do so in the summary field in your RSS feed, not in the content of an episode.

Normally, podcasts that are added to iTunes will appear first in iTunes search, and later in iTunes browse. Appearance in the browse category that you specified can take up to five days. The image associated with your podcast may also require additional time to appear, because images are edge-cached by iTunes and must propagate across the caching servers.

Back to top

Linking to Your Podcast.

If your podcast is accepted, customers will be able to discover it in the iTunes Store via search or browse. But you can also create links directly to your podcasts and share them on your website or in email. There are two linking methods:

iTunes Store Link: The following link goes to a web preview of your podcast page in iTS, where users have the option of streaming an episode (audio only) or clicking through to iTS for download and subscribe options. This link can be found for any podcast by Control-clicking (or right-clicking in Windows) the podcast’s art on its page in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/ap/podcast/(PODCAST-TITLE)/id(FEEDID)?mt=2

Note that a shorter but functionally identical link is also available: https://itunes.apple.com/ap/podcast?id=FEEDID

Using this linking method to direct users to iTS results in actions (subscribe, download, stream) that will register with iTS and help drive your podcast up the various automated charts.

Furthermore, by linking back to iTS you have the opportunity to earn money though the iTunes affiliate revenue-sharing program. Learn more about the iTunes Affiliate Program

Direct Subscribe Link: The following link automatically subscribes the user to the podcast in iTunes. Note that this method fails for Windows users who do not have iTunes installed, so it should be clearly noted that the link is intended for subscription with iTunes.

itpc://FEEDURL

Also note that this method will not push your podcast up the various charts in the iTunes Store and it is not eligible for the iTunes Affiliate Program. It is a direct call to the user’s iTunes client software and sends no information to the iTunes Store. If you want to increase the visibility of your podcast and earn money through the iTunes Affiliate Program, we recommend that your website and other marketing materials use the iTunes Store link described above.

Back to top

Adding Episodes.

Whenever you create a new podcast episode, you should add a new <item> section to your podcast feed. The iTunes directory will list the episode the next time it reads your feed. The order in which the episodes appear is based on the <pubDate> for each item, with the most recent episodes appearing at the top of the list. You can override the <pubDate> using the <itunes:order> tag.

By default, the iTS directory reads every feed once per day, but the frequency adjusts automatically based on how often new episodes are posted to a particular feed. The subscriber’s iTunes client picks up new episodes based on the preferences set by the user.

Back to top

Troubleshooting Your Feed.

iTS should update your listing at least once every 24 hours. If you made changes more than 24 hours ago that are not yet reflected in your iTunes listing, there is a good chance that your feed has broken. When iTS encounters a broken feed, it ignores the feed and continues to display the old data. If a broken feed remains unfixed for an extended period, the podcast will be automatically removed.

Here is a set of recommended steps to fix your feed:

  1. Review the technical spec, particularly the example feed, to ensure that every detail of your podcast’s feed is supported by iTunes.
  2. Use a feed validation service like http://www.feedvalidator.org to check for particular problems. This may be helpful in determining a specific problem with syntax.
  3. If you used a software or online-based feed creation service, check to ensure that your settings there are correct and iTunes compliant. Review the section on iTunes Formatting below.
  4. Subscribe to the feed in iTunes to see if it works. Open iTunes, go to the File menu, choose Subscribe to Podcast, and enter your feed’s URL.
Back to top

Removing or Blocking Your Feed.

If you are no longer creating a podcast and you want it removed from iTS, you should:

  1. Log in to iTS.
  2. Find and select your podcast.
  3. Click Report a Concern.
  4. Select Remove a Podcast from the Choose a Reason menu.
  5. Explain why you want the podcast removed.

In most cases, we will remove the podcast from iTS, especially if we find that the podcast is no longer available at the feed URL.

If you want to remove your feed temporarily, you can use the <iTunes:block> tag described in the iTunes RSS Tags section below.

Back to top

Changing Your Feed URL.

Podcasters occasionally need to move their feed from one location to another. To do so without losing subscribers, you must convey the change directly to all users who are subscribed to your feed. If possible, you should do two things:

The <itunes:new-feed-url> tag will work for iTS and all versions of the iTunes client that support podcasting. The 301 redirect will work for most of your subscribers who do not use the iTunes client. We recommend that you use both methods to update the greatest possible number of subscribers with your new feed URL.

Be sure to maintain the <itunes:new-feed-url> tag and the 301 redirect for at least four weeks to ensure that most subscribers have attempted to download your most recent episode and have thereby received the new URL.

If you are not able to use both methods, you may want to include an audio note in your podcast, informing your subscribers that your podcast has changed locations.

Back to top

Being Featured on the iTunes Store.

At iTunes, we’re constantly on the lookout for podcasts that are breaking new ground with this medium, have new or unusual content, or just capture our interest. When we find them, we like to feature them on the Podcasts home page. While there are no sure-fire ways to get your podcast featured (and no, we do not accept payments or gifts for promotion), there are some minimum requirements. To be featured by iTunes, podcasts must have:

In addition, featured podcasts must be regularly updated with new episodes. We occasionally feature a podcast after its first episode, but we generally like to see podcasts with at least three episodes, and we like to see that the most recent episode has been added in the past month. Ideally, the episodes should be released on a regular and predictable basis. Many podcasts are submitted every day, so it is impossible to feature all of the good ones.

Back to top

Tracking Usage.

Please note that iTunes does not provide usage statistics, because we do not host feeds or episodes. Some podcasters have created mechanisms for tracking the number of times that each episode has been downloaded. iTunes does not provide support in how to track downloads, but the following notes may be helpful:

Back to top

Pausing a Subscription.

iTunes automatically pauses a subscription and won’t download further episodes if the following conditions are both met:

In addition to minimizing unnecessary bandwidth costs for both the user and the podcaster, the unsubscribe logic built into the iTunes client makes it more likely that episode downloads, as reported by a podcaster to a sponsor, are roughly in line with actual plays of the episode.

Back to top

Formatting Video for the iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV

Although iTunes can play a variety of .mp4, .m4v, and .mov video formats, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV all require more specific formats.

The maximum video size supported by each device is:

To optimize for the majority of Apple platforms, we recommend that your source file is at least 960 pixels wide and that you use the built-in iPod converters in Compressor (“H.264 for iPod”), QuickTime X (“Save in iPod/iPhone/Apple TV format”), or iTunes (“Create iPod/iPhone/iPad/Apple TV Version”). Each of these maintains the aspect ratio of your source file and results in an .m4v file containing H.264 video (Low Complexity version of the Baseline profile) and AAC-LC audio. If you want to maximize the screen area of a widescreen TV, iPod touch, or iPhone 5, your source file should have an aspect ratio of 16:9 (e.g., 960x540). If you want to maximize the screen area on the iPad and iPad mini, your source file should have an aspect ratio of 4:3 (e.g., 960x640).

Refer to the specifications below if you are not using the built-in converters in Compressor, QuickTime X, or iTunes.

iPhone 4 can play the following video formats:

iPhone 4s can play the following video formats:

iPod touch and iPhone 5 can play the following video formats:

iPad with Retina display, iPad 2, and iPad mini can play the following video formats:

Apple TV can play the following video formats:

Back to top

An Example Feed

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<rss xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" version="2.0">

<channel>

<title>All About Everything</title>

<link>http://www.example.com/podcasts/everything/index.html</link>

<language>en-AP</language>

<copyright>&#x2117; &amp; &#xA9; 2005 John Doe &amp; Family</copyright>

<itunes:subtitle>A show about everything</itunes:subtitle>

<itunes:author>John Doe</itunes:author>

<itunes:summary>All About Everything is a show about everything. Each week we dive into any subject known to man and talk about it as much as we can. Look for our Podcast in the iTunes Store</itunes:summary>

<description>All About Everything is a show about everything. Each week we dive into any subject known to man and talk about it as much as we can. Look for our Podcast in the iTunes Store</description>

<itunes:owner>

<itunes:name>John Doe</itunes:name>

<itunes:email>john.doe@example.com</itunes:email>

</itunes:owner>

<itunes:image href="http://example.com/podcasts/everything/AllAboutEverything.jpg" />

<itunes:category text="Technology">

<itunes:category text="Gadgets"/>

</itunes:category>

<itunes:category text="TV &amp; Film"/>

<item>

<title>Shake Shake Shake Your Spices</title>

<itunes:author>John Doe</itunes:author>

<itunes:subtitle>A short primer on table spices</itunes:subtitle>

<itunes:summary>This week we talk about salt and pepper shakers, comparing and contrasting pour rates, construction materials, and overall aesthetics. Come and join the party!</itunes:summary>

<itunes:image href="http://example.com/podcasts/everything/AllAboutEverything/Episode1.jpg" />

<enclosure url="http://example.com/podcasts/everything/AllAboutEverythingEpisode3.m4a" length="8727310" type="audio/x-m4a" />

<guid>http://example.com/podcasts/archive/aae20050615.m4a</guid>

<pubDate>Wed, 15 Jun 2005 19:00:00 GMT</pubDate>

<itunes:duration>7:04</itunes:duration>

</item>

<item>

<title>Socket Wrench Shootout</title>

<itunes:author>Jane Doe</itunes:author>

<itunes:subtitle>Comparing socket wrenches is fun!</itunes:subtitle>

<itunes:summary>This week we talk about metric vs. old english socket wrenches. Which one is better? Do you really need both? Get all of your answers here.</itunes:summary>

<itunes:image href="http://example.com/podcasts/everything/AllAboutEverything/Episode2.jpg" />

<enclosure url="http://example.com/podcasts/everything/AllAboutEverythingEpisode2.mp3" length="5650889" type="audio/mpeg" />

<guid>http://example.com/podcasts/archive/aae20050608.mp3</guid>

<pubDate>Wed, 8 Jun 2005 19:00:00 GMT</pubDate>

<itunes:duration>4:34</itunes:duration>

</item>

<item>

<title>Red, Whine, &amp; Blue</title>

<itunes:author>Various</itunes:author>

<itunes:subtitle>Red + Blue != Purple</itunes:subtitle>

<itunes:summary>This week we talk about surviving in a Red state if you are a Blue person. Or vice versa.</itunes:summary>

<itunes:image href="http://example.com/podcasts/everything/AllAboutEverything/Episode3.jpg" />

<enclosure url="http://example.com/podcasts/everything/AllAboutEverythingEpisode1.mp3" length="4989537" type="audio/mpeg" />

<guid>http://example.com/podcasts/archive/aae20050601.mp3</guid>

<pubDate>Wed, 1 Jun 2005 19:00:00 GMT</pubDate>

<itunes:duration>3:59</itunes:duration>

</item>

</channel>

</rss>

Back to top

iTunes RSS Tags

iTunes uses RSS 2.0 plus some additional tags. Note that the additional tags are not required (except to be eligible for featured placement on the iTunes Podcasts page), but are recommended where needed in order to provide the best possible user experience.

Back to top

Defining Tags with the iTunes Podcasting Namespace.

When using the iTunes tags, you must add a namespace declaration as the second line in your feed XML, like this:

<rss xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd" version="2.0">

The namespace declaration points to a document that defines the iTunes tags. Without the declaration, the tags are meaningless.

Note that the namespace definition is case sensitive, and the previous location of the namespace had capital letters in it. The old namespace definition is still supported, but the new (all lowercase) definition is preferred.

Back to top

Text Encoding.

Please use UTF-8 encoding for your feed. Other encodings are not guaranteed to work in iTunes.

All values should be plain text (no markup or HTML). Values are limited to 255 characters, except for <itunes:summary>, which can be up to 4000 characters. Whitespace in values is significant, i.e., it will show in iTunes, so don’t add leading or trailing whitespace to your values. CDATA sections are strongly discouraged.

Back to top

Use and Display of Common Tags in Channel and Item Sections.

The following table shows which tags apply to the channel (podcast) as a whole and which tags apply to individual items (episodes). The table also shows where the tag contents appear in iTunes:

xml tag channel item where content appears in iTunes
<title> Y Y Name column
<link> Y   website link and arrow in Name column
<copyright> Y   not visible
<pubDate>   Y Release Date column
<itunes:author> Y Y Artist column
<itunes:block> Y Y prevent an episode or podcast from appearing
<itunes:category> Y   Category column and in iTunes Store Browse
<itunes:image> Y Y Same location as album art
<itunes:duration>   Y Time column
<itunes:explicit> Y Y parental advisory graphic in Name column
<itunes:isClosedCaptioned> Y Closed Caption graphic in Name column
<itunes:order> Y override the order of episodes on the store
<itunes:complete> Y indicates completion of podcasts; no more episodes
<itunes:new-feed-url> Y not visible, used to inform iTunes of new feed URL location
<itunes:owner> Y not visible, used for contact only
<itunes:subtitle> Y Y Description column
<itunes:summary> Y Y when the "circled i" in Description column is clicked

<enclosure>

The <enclosure> tag has three attributes: URL, length, and type. An enclosure from the example feed above:

<enclosure url="http://example.com/podcasts/everything/AllAboutEverythingEpisode2.mp3" length="5650889" type="audio/mpeg"/>

The file extension of the URL attribute of this tag is used to determine if an item should appear in the podcast directory. Supported extensions include .m4a, .mp3, .mov, .mp4, .m4v, .pdf, and .epub.

The length attribute is the file size in bytes. Find this information in the file’s properties (on a Mac, choose Get Info from the File menu and refer to the size row).

The type element depends upon the type of file the enclosure refers to. Common files and their MIME type extensions are listed in the following table.

File Type
.mp3 audio/mpeg
.m4a audio/x-m4a
.mp4 video/mp4
.m4v video/x-m4v
.mov video/quicktime
.pdf application/pdf
.epub document/x-epub

<guid>

Every <item> should have a globally unique identifier (GUID) that never changes. When you add episodes to your feed, GUIDs are compared in case-sensitive fashion to determine which episodes are new. If you omit the GUID for an episode, the episode URL will be used instead.

Please note that a GUID should be assigned to an episode only once and should never change. Assigning new GUIDs to existing episodes may cause issues with your podcast’s listing and chart placement in iTS.

<pubDate>

This tag specifies the date and time when an episode was released. The format for the content should be per RFC 2822; e.g.:

Wed, 15 Jun 2005 19:00:00 GMT

<itunes:author>

The content of this tag is shown in the Artist column in iTunes. If the tag is not present, iTunes uses the contents of the <author> tag. If <itunes:author> is not present at the feed level, iTunes will use the contents of <managingEditor>.

<itunes:block>

Use this inside a <channel> element to prevent the entire podcast from appearing in the iTunes podcast directory. Use this inside an <item> element to prevent that episode from appearing in the iTunes podcast directory. For example, you may want a specific episode blocked from iTunes if its content might cause the feed to be removed from iTunes.

If this tag is present and set to "yes" (case insensitive), that means to block the feed or the episode. If the tag’s value is any other value, including empty string, it’s indicated as a signal to unblock the feed or episode. At the feed level, if there is no block tag, then the block status of the feed is left unchanged. At the episode level, if there is no block tag, it is the same as if a block=no were present.

<itunes:category>

There are two ways to browse podcast subject categories on iTunes: Click Browse under Features at the bottom of the iTunes Store window or select a category from the Podcasts pop-up menu in the navigation bar. The former method leads to a text-based table, while the latter leads to pages that include the podcast art.

All iTunes Store-supported categories and subcategories are listed at the end of this document. For placement within the older, text-based browse system, podcast feeds may list up to three category/subcategory pairs. (For example, "Music" counts as one, as does "Business > Careers.") For placement within the newer browse system based on Category links, however, and for placement within the Top Podcasts and Top Episodes lists that appear in the right column of most podcast pages, only the first category listed in the feed is used.

Categories and subcategories can be specified as follows. Use a top level <itunes:category> to specify the browse category, and a nested <itunes:category> to specify the browse subcategory. Choose from the existing categories and subcategories in iTunes. Be sure to properly escape ampersands. A complete list is included at the end of this document.

Examples:

Single category:

<itunes:category text="Music" />

Category with ampersand:

<itunes:category text="TV &amp; Film" />

Category with Subcategory:

<itunes:category text="Society &amp; Culture">
			<itunes:category text="History" />
			</itunes:category>

Entry with multiple categories:

<itunes:category text="Society &amp; Culture">
			<itunes:category text="History" />
			</itunes:category>
			<itunes:category text="Technology">
			<itunes:category text="Gadgets" />
			</itunes:category>

<itunes:image>

This tag specifies the artwork for your podcast. Put the URL to the image in the href attribute. iTunes prefers square .jpg images that are at least 1400x1400 pixels, which is different from what is specified for the standard RSS image tag. In order for a podcast to be eligible for an iTunes Store feature, the accompanying image must be at least 1400x1400 pixels.

iTunes supports images in JPEG and PNG formats with an RGB color space (CMYK is not supported). The URL must end in ".jpg" or ".png". If the <itunes:image> tag is not present, iTunes will use the contents of the RSS image tag.

If you change your podcast’s image, also change the file’s name. iTunes may not change the image if it checks your feed and the image URL is the same. The server hosting your cover art image must allow HTTP head requests for iTS to be able to automatically update your cover art.

Spend some time developing an attractive, original image that represents your podcast well. Potential subscribers will see it on your podcast’s page and a much smaller version of the image in search results and feature placements. Make sure your design is effective in both sizes.

The <itunes:image> tag is also supported at the episode level. For best results, we recommend using the <itunes:image> tag at the item level as well as embedding the same art within the media file’s metadata. To embed art within an individual episode’s metadata using iTunes, select the episode and choose Get Info from the File menu. Click the Artwork tab. Then click Add, navigate to and select the image file, and click Choose.

<itunes:duration>

The content of this tag is shown in the Time column in iTunes.

The tag can be formatted HH:MM:SS, H:MM:SS, MM:SS, or M:SS (H = hours, M = minutes, S = seconds). If an integer is provided (no colon present), the value is assumed to be in seconds. If one colon is present, the number to the left is assumed to be minutes, and the number to the right is assumed to be seconds. If more than two colons are present, the numbers farthest to the right are ignored.

<itunes:explicit>

This tag should be used to indicate whether your podcast contains explicit material. The three values for this tag are "yes", "no", and "clean".

If you populate this tag with "yes", an "explicit" parental advisory graphic will appear next to your podcast artwork on the iTunes Store and in the Name column in iTunes. If the value is "clean", the parental advisory type is considered Clean, meaning that no explicit language or adult content is included anywhere in the episodes, and a "clean" graphic will appear. If the explicit tag is present and has any other value (e.g., "no"), you see no indicator — blank is the default advisory type.

Note that podcasts labeled “explicit” are not supported in certain iTS countries.

<itunes:isClosedCaptioned>

This tag should be used if your podcast includes a video episode with embedded closed captioning support. The two values for this tag are "yes" and "no”.

This tag is only supported at an <item> level. If you populate this tag with "yes", a closed caption icon will appear next to the corresponding episode in the Name column in iTunes. If the closed caption tag is present and has any other value (e.g., "no"), you see no indicator.

<itunes:order>

This tag can be used to override the default ordering of episodes on the store.

This tag is used at an <item> level by populating with the number value in which you would like the episode to appear on the store. For example, if you would like an <item> to appear as the first episode in the podcast, you would populate the <itunes:order> tag with “1”. If conflicting order values are present in multiple episodes, the store will use default ordering (pubDate).

<itunes:complete>

This tag can be used to indicate the completion of a podcast.

This tag is only supported at a <channel> level. If you populate this tag with "yes", you are indicating that no more episodes will be added to the podcast. If the <itunes:complete> tag is present and has any other value (e.g. “no”), it will have no effect on the podcast.

<itunes:new-feed-url>

This tag allows you to change the URL where the podcast feed is located. It is added at the <channel> level. The feed format is:

<itunes:new-feed-url>http://newlocation.com/example.rss</itunes:new-feed-url>

After adding the tag to your old feed, you should maintain the old feed for 48 hours before retiring it. At that point, iTunes will have updated the directory with the new feed URL. For more information, please see the "Changing Your Feed URL" section above.

<itunes:owner>

This tag contains information that will be used to contact the owner of the podcast for communication specifically about the podcast. It will not be publicly displayed.

Put the email address of the owner in a nested <itunes:email> element.

Put the name of the owner in a nested <itunes:name> element.

<itunes:subtitle>

The contents of this tag are shown in the Description column in iTunes. The subtitle displays best if it is only a few words long.

<itunes:summary>

The contents of this tag are shown in a separate window that appears when the "circled i" in the Description column is clicked. It also appears on the iTunes page for your podcast. This field can be up to 4000 characters. If <itunes:summary> is not included, the contents of the <description> tag are used.

<language>

Because iTunes operates sites worldwide, it is critical to specify the language of a podcast. Accepted values are those in the ISO 639-1 Alpha-2 list (two-letter language codes, some with possible modifiers, such as "en-AP").

Back to top

Common Mistakes

Wrong <pubDate> Format.

The date and time format in <pubDate> must conform to RFC 2822.

The date must be "day-of-week, day month year". The time must be in 24 hour format (no AM or PM) and must include the time zone offset.

<! — date and time not in RFC 2822 format — >
<pubDate>7/6/2005 1:00:00 PM</pubDate>

<! — valid date and time format — >
<pubDate>Wed, 6 Jul 2005 13:00:00 PDT</pubDate>
<pubDate>Wed, 6 Jul 2005 13:00:00 -0700</pubDate>

Failure to Escape Ampersands.

<! — illegal xml — >
<title>Food & Wine</title>

<! — valid xml — >
<title>Food &amp; Wine</title>

Using HTML Named Character Entities.

<! — illegal xml — >
<copyright>&copy; 2005 John Doe</copyright>

<! — valid xml — >
<copyright>&#xA9; 2005 John Doe</copyright>

Unlike HTML, XML supports only five "named character entities":

character name xml
& ampersand &amp;
< less-than sign &lt;
> greater-than sign &gt;
apostrophe &apos;
" quotation &quot;

The five characters above are the only characters that require escaping in XML. All other characters can be entered directly in an editor that supports UTF-8. You can also use numeric character references that specify the Unicode for the character, for example:

character name xml
© copyright sign &#xA9;
sound recording copyright &#x2117;
trademark sign &#x2122;

For further reference see XML Character and Entity References.

Back to top

Additional Resources

General Information.

Help.

Back to top

iTunes Categories for Podcasting

  • iTunes Supported Categories

  • Arts
  • Design
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Food
  • Literature
  • Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts
  • Business
  • Business News
  • Careers
  • Investing
  • Management & Marketing
  • Shopping
  • Comedy
  • Education
  • Education
  • Education Technology
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • Language Courses
  • Training
  • Games & Hobbies
  • Automotive
  • Aviation
  • Hobbies
  • Other Games
  • Video Games
  • Government & Organizations
  • Local
  • National
  • Non-Profit
  • Regional
  • Health
  • Alternative Health
  • Fitness & Nutrition
  • Self-Help
  • Sexuality
  • Kids & Family
  • Music
  • News & Politics
  • Religion & Spirituality
  • Buddhism
  • Christianity
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Other
  • Spirituality
  • Science & Medicine
  • Medicine
  • Natural Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Society & Culture
  • History
  • Personal Journals
  • Philosophy
  • Places & Travel
  • Sports & Recreation
  • Amateur
  • College & High School
  • Outdoor
  • Professional
  • Technology
  • Gadgets
  • Tech News
  • Podcasting
  • Software How-To
  • TV & Film
  • Corresponding Programming

  • Arts
  • Design
  • Fashion &amp; Beauty
  • Food
  • Literature
  • Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts
  • Business
  • Business News
  • Careers
  • Investing
  • Management &amp; Marketing
  • Shopping
  • Comedy
  • Education
  • Education
  • Education Technology
  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • Language Courses
  • Training
  • Games &amp; Hobbies
  • Automotive
  • Aviation
  • Hobbies
  • Other Games
  • Video Games
  • Government &amp; Organizations
  • Local
  • National
  • Non-Profit
  • Regional
  • Health
  • Alternative Health
  • Fitness &amp; Nutrition
  • Self-Help
  • Sexuality
  • Kids &amp; Family
  • Music
  • News &amp; Politics
  • Religion &amp; Spirituality
  • Buddhism
  • Christianity
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Other
  • Spirituality
  • Science &amp; Medicine
  • Medicine
  • Natural Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Society &amp; Culture
  • History
  • Personal Journals
  • Philosophy
  • Places &amp; Travel
  • Sports &amp; Recreation
  • Amateur
  • College &amp; High School
  • Outdoor
  • Professional
  • Technology
  • Gadgets
  • Tech News
  • Podcasting
  • Software How-To
  • TV &amp; Film