Podcast distribution is a mysterious but vital part of podcasting. Making your show available in as many outlets as possible gives you the best possible chance to reach new listeners across the globe, on any device.
Questions like "How do I get my show into Apple Podcasts or Spotify?" are amongst the most common questions facing new podcasters. Each platform - or directory - has a different submission process, so it can be quite the challenge if you're doing everything manually. That's why it's always best to use a podcast host like Captivate to take care of it all for you!
Captivate's distribution center takes away all of that confusion and makes it easy (and free!) to submit your podcast to each directory, with handy quick links for submission (and one-click submission for the podcast platforms that support it.)
This article is an overview of the distribution process. For specific guides for each directory, check out our dedicated tutorials.
How to distribute your podcast to the popular podcast directories, streaming services and apps
There are a few things you'll need to do before adding your podcast to the directories.
- Set up your podcast and publish an episode. You won't be able to submit without at least one episode in your RSS feed.
- Submit your show's RSS feed URL to the podcast directories. You only need to do this once using Captivate's distribution center.
- Your podcast will be approved and added to each directory. From then on, listeners will be able to subscribe and download every new episode of your show automatically.
How does podcast distribution work?
Once you submit your RSS feed URL to the directories, each directory will monitor the feed and display every new episode as soon as its published. Listeners will be able to browse your feed, download your episodes and enjoy your content whenever they like!
Although submission processes vary from directory to directory, there are some things that remain true regardless of where you are submitting your podcast to:
- Every directory uses the information from your RSS feed.
- You only need to submit your show to directories once - from there, you will be accepted or rejected (really rather rare) and the directory will not require submission again.
The different distribution channels
We're always adding more and more channels for podcast distribution and broadly speaking, they can be sorted into one of three categories:
- Supplementary catalogs
How to get your podcast in the major directories
These are the main source directories within the podcasting space and they typically require manual submission.
Captivate distributes your podcast to all of the following directories:
- Apple Podcasts (Guide)
- Spotify (Guide)
- Google Podcasts (Guide)
- Amazon Music (Guide)
- Player FM
- Podcast Index
- Pocket Casts
- Podcast Addict
...and we're adding more all the time. Yay!
Some directories require you to submit a podcast show manually using a form or similar mechanism (Apple Podcasts, for example, and TuneIn).
We have added handy links to these forms within each of the "Submit Podcast" buttons within each sub-section of the distribution center as you can see in the gif above.
Clicking each button will take you to the page that you need to submit your podcast to that directory, with as much information pre-filled for you from Captivate as we can.
Other directories, like Spotify, JioSaavn, Player.fm and Gaana are much easier. All you have to do is click "Submit Podcast" and your show will automatically be submitted for you.
Once you submit your show and it's been approved, your Submit Podcast button will change to Published To.
Note: some podcast apps have a different process for notifying when a show has been approved. Google Podcasts, for example, won't update that information, so the Submit Podcast button will always be displayed, even after your show is live on their platform. You can always check if your podcast has been published by searching for it on a specific app.
Aggregators act like directories but don't require you to physically submit anything to them as they usually "pull" information from Apple's podcast API, so once you're in Apple you're usually within these listening apps/directories very shortly afterwards.
Supplementary catalogs are becoming more and more popular and provide various functions to podcasters.
Podchaser is one of the first and bills itself as "IMDB for podcasts".
Captivate works seamlessly with Podchaser to allow you to claim your profile and then "send" information from your podcasts to its directory, allowing listeners to follow you on Podchaser, rate and review your show, and much more.