You’ve navigated the murky waters of podcasting equipment and traversed the scorpion-infested wastes of podcast hosting. You’ve even withstood the storms that weaken your resolve in the early days. You now have a podcast live, and you’re raring to create more content. What next? Podcast distribution, that’s what. It’s time to grow those listeners; for that, we’re looking at the best podcast directories out there!
Best Podcast Directory List: The Quick-Start Option
If you’re short on time and just looking to get started as quickly as possible, then here’s the thing. Just submitting your show to Apple/iTunes (which we cover in more depth below) means you’ll also automatically appear in most of the other places podcasts are consumed. So that’s the bulk of the work done already.
Then, take another minute to submit your podcast to Spotify. Spotify is widely considered to be the number two place for podcast distribution.
Finally, Google Podcasts will just find you in a sort of “don’t call us, we’ll call you” way. Google are pretty good at finding stuff, so that makes perfect sense!
So, in summary, do a soft launch of your podcast by publishing a trailer or Episode Zero. This gives you the “one published episode” podcast directories require before you can submit to them. Then, tell Apple and Spotify about it.
Bookmark this Best Podcast Directory List guide to come back to once the dust has settled. There are still a few gaps to fill in where you can list your podcast. Of course, if you’re ready to learn more about them right now, then read on…
Where Should I List My Podcast?
The world of podcast distribution is all about how to get your podcast from your host and out to the world. One of the simplest ways is to take advantage of the many Podcast directories and listening platforms on the market.
But, if you’ve ever had a look around, you’ll understand why I’m often asked the question: “Where should I list my podcast?” There’s no shortage of contenders…
To answer the question in an effective way, we need to find out where people are searching.
Podcast listeners consume podcasts in a huge range of ways, not all of them as you would think. In this article, I won’t cover every single option out there. Instead, we will apply the Pareto Principle, looking for the top 20% that will give us 80% of the results.
We’re all time-limited, so you need to know the best podcast directories, the ones that will give you the best distribution results.
What is Podcast Distribution?
Just in case this isn’t quite clear yet, let’s make sure we understand how it all ties together. Because there are two stages to podcast distribution, and I can understand why you’re confused! Here’s how it works:
- YOU upload your audio file to a podcast hosting platform. That’s where it’s stored on the web.
- YOU, with the help of your hosting platform, register your podcast with the top directories.
- The directories, below, handle distribution, while your host handles delivery.
In short, when people talk about distribution, they’re usually talking about a combination of podcast search and podcast delivery. The directories allow people to find your podcast, and the hosting delivers the audio to their device.
Best Podcast Directory List
So now we’ve got to grips with the difference between where podcasts are published, and where they are found and listened to, let’s look at the key places we can list our show.
1. Apple Podcasts / iTunes
It’s not going away – Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes) is, and always has been, the top platform for Podcasting. Other podcast directories are making inroads, such as the ones we’ll cover below, but Apple Podcasts / iTunes should still be your first stop.
On nearly all of my Podcasts, for example, over 60% of all downloads come through either iTunes or the Apple Podcasts app. You’ll get an idea of how significant this is when you read below.
To submit to Apple Podcasts, you need to go through the Apple Podcast Connect system and navigate to My Podcasts.
You can find a full guide on how to get into Apple Podcasts / iTunes here.
Being listed in Apple Podcasts / iTunes also gets you into Overcast, Podcast Addict, and Castbox (and tonnes more on top of that!) by default. Being listed in these three, combined with Apple Podcasts and Spotify means you’ve got the top 10 places podcasts are consumed covered, and your show is easily available on almost any platform.
Spotify were already giants in the music streaming space, so it was no surprise when they stormed into second place behind iTunes / Apple Podcasts. In fact, they now account for over 30% of total podcast downloads, according to media hosting giants Buzzsprout.
This makes a lot of sense. There is already a tonne of people using the app for their music, and who’ve been using it for years. This is integrated into people’s lives, and now having the option to listen to podcasts on there means they don’t need any other app. It’s a no-brainer. Add to that some really heavy promotion by Spotify (Podcasts are listed just a few rows down on the home page) then we’re on to a winner.
It’s also a great option for Android users who can’t access the Apple Podcasts app on their phones, and you want to make sure it’s easy for all your listeners to hear your show.
3. Google Podcasts
Google has had a bit of an on-off relationship with podcast distribution over the years. But there’s been high hopes of that changing recently with the launch of Google Podcasts. This shouldn’t be confused with Google Play Music, incidentally.
The app has faced a lot of criticism since its launch. It has been accused of being far too basic, and also the fact that it doesn’t appear visibly on users phones by default (like Apple Podcasts) has frustrated many podcasters too.
Nevertheless, having a company the size of Google pay attention to podcasts can only be a good thing, and fingers crossed they’ll be monitoring, reviewing, and upgrading the app as time goes by.
Here’s how to get your podcast into Google Podcasts – though you’re probably already in there!
Amazon has their finger in every pie and podcasts are no exception. They, along with their audiobook wing Audible, are an increasingly popular place to find and listen to podcasts. Here, we’ll show you how to join the party – How Do I Get My Podcast on Amazon and Audible?
5. TuneIn Radio
This is one of my favourite “extra value” platforms: an internet radio provider turned Podcaster’s friend.
I had long used TuneIn radio for general internet radio usage, but then they announced a new podcasting channel within the app. This is another application-based service, allowing people to find and stream your podcasts on the go, so it’s a good way to reach new listeners at a time when they’re looking to consume straight away. The best example, for me, is Amazon Echo. If you’re on TuneIn, then anyone can play your podcast, just by asking Alexa.
TuneIn ties into a range of other platforms, too, like Sonos. So it’s well worth the small effort.
TuneIn still accounts for less than 0.2% of total podcast downloads, but it’s definitely a useful option to offer your listeners, and a handy place to be discovered.
To get into TuneIn, go to this link and fill out the form: Submit to TuneIn.
iHeartRadio is a podcast and streaming audio platform with around 150 million active monthly listeners. If your podcast already exists in Apple/iTunes, it’s likely already showing in iHeartRadio too. But there’s no harm in making sure. Here’s where you can check the iHeart directory, and here’s how to get your podcast in iHeartRadio.
7. The Podcast Index
In short, The Podcast Index is an open-source podcast directory. This means that anyone can add to it, a lot like Wikipedia.
How big is it? As of late June 2021, it was over 4 million podcasts big. And it’s growing fast.
But like many open source projects, it gets technical and geeky fast. So we dive into the basics of it all in our Submit Your Podcast To The Podcast Index guide.
8. What About Stitcher?
Stitcher formerly occupied 2nd place with a share of around 5% of total podcast downloads. Sadly, the platform faded in recent years and announced it was to close in August 2023. So, unless you’re reading this from within your time machine as you head towards 2011, you can skip this one out. Thanks for the memories, Stitcher!
The video streaming giant is also a potential destination for your podcast. Some hosting providers (Transistor, RedCircle, Libsyn) allow you to publish episodes to YouTube. Once published, this creates a static image “video” on the platform and is separate from your normal podcast download stats on all other platforms. You can tag these videos on your YouTube channel as “a podcast”. Podcast performance on YouTube is a mixed bag, depending on who you speak to. But there’s certainly no harm in making your show available there. Check out our full guide on how to put a podcast on YouTube for more details.
Other Podcast Distribution Options
There are a plethora of podcast directories out there, with new ones starting up all the time. The good news is that you don’t have to spend loads of time submitting to every one you find, though, as most of them pull their listings from the Apple/iTunes store.
So, not only is Apple/iTunes the place where you’ll get the vast majority of your listeners, but being listed there also gets you into popular mobile apps like Pocket Casts by default.
The best Podcast hosts also tend to have great destination tools available so you can effortlessly publish to places like Youtube when you upload your new episodes. For example, Transistor has a ‘publish to YouTube’ feature, and Buzzsprout allows you to create short video clips for publishing on social.
Making your show available in as many places as possible lets your listeners decide where they want to listen. Make the top five listed here your priority, though, and you won’t go far wrong.
Next Steps: Promoting Your Podcast
Allowing listeners to find and subscribe to your show wherever they want to is hugely important. But there are many other proactive and innovative ways to grow your audience, too. Check out our full guide to podcast promotion next. Then, join us in the IndiePod Community and let us know which methods you’ll be trying out first!