New Apple Podcasts categories are live

TL;DR: if you’re a Podiant customer, your podcast will be listed in the existing categories until Apple decide otherwise (probably in September). If you’re curious about the new categories, read on, but with caution.


After the first day of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) event, the company announced changes to their podcast categories. It was… a surprise! But I’m delighted to say that we’ve implemented these new categories, so you can take advantage of them straight away…. but keep reading as you’ll need to decide for yourself whether to do so.

First, here’s an outline of what they’ve done.

New additions

Apple have added dozens of new categories (like Fiction and True Crime) and a few top-level ones which split out separate concerns (games, hobbies, sport and other recreation activities are now a little better represented).

  • Arts (added subcategory)
    • Books
  • Business (added subcategories)
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Management
    • Marketing
  • Comedy (added subcategories)
    • Comedy Interviews
    • Improv
    • Standup
  • Education (added subcategories)
    • Courses
    • How to
    • Self-Improvement
  • Fiction (brand new top-level category)
    • Comedy Fiction
    • Drama
    • Science Fiction
  • Health (added subcategories)
    • Fitness
    • Medicine
    • Mental Health
    • Nutrition
  • Kids & Family (added subcategories)
    • Education for Kids
    • Parenting
    • Pets & Animals
    • Stories for Kids
  • Leisure (incorporates some subcategories from other parent categories)
    • Crafts
    • Games
    • Hobbies
    • Home & Garden
  • Music (added subcategories)
    • Music Commentary
    • Music History
    • Music Interviews
  • News (formerly News & Politics; added subcategories)
    • Business News
    • Daily News
    • Entertainment News
    • News Commentary
    • Politics
    • Sports News
    • Tech News
  • Science (a replacement for the old Science & Medicine category)
    • Astronomy
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences
    • Life Sciences
    • Mathematics
    • Nature
    • Physics
  • Society & Culture (added subcategories)
    • Documentary
    • Relationships
  • TV & Film (added subcategories)
    • Aftershows
    • Film History
    • Film Interviews
    • Film Reviews
    • TV Reviews

Also: the Management & Marketing subcategory of Business has been split into two separate categories.

Moved

A few subcategories have moved house:

  • The Business News subcategory has moved from the Business parent category to News
  • The Automotive, Aviation, Hobbies, and Video Games subcategories have moved from the Games & Hobbies parent category to Leisure
  • The Medicine subcategory has moved from the Science & Medicine parent category to Health
  • The Science subcategory from the Science & Medicine parent category is now a top-level category of its own
  • The Tech News subcategory has moved from the Technology category to News

Also: Apple removed the Other subcategory from the Religion & Spirituality top-level category. We’ve interpreted that as a renaming of that subcategory to the newly-added Religion.

Renamed

The following top-level category names have changed:

  • Government & Organizations is now Government
  • News & Politics is now News
  • Science & Medicine is now Science
  • Sports & Recreation is now Sports

Removed

Apple have removed a few subcategories. Here’s what’s been removed, and how we’ve interpreted the change.

  • The Shopping subcategory of Business is now mapped to its parent category
  • All the previous Education subcategories have been removed, so we’ve mapped them to the parent category
  • The Other Games subcategory of Games & Hobbies is now mapped to the Games subcategory of the new Leisure category
  • The Fitness & Nutrition and Self-Help subcategories of Health have been mapped to their parent category
  • The Amateur, College & High School, and Professional categories of Sports & Recreation have been mapped to their parent category, now renamed to Sports
  • The Gadgets, Podcasting, and Software How-to subcategories of Technology have been mapped to their parent category

What this means for other directories

Stitcher tracks Apple’s categories reasonably closely, but this may change (hopefully it will, since Stitcher still thinks that “International” is a valid category for podcasts!).

TuneIn maintains a shallower category list than Apple and Stitcher. Your category is assigned to you when your show is submitted, so isn’t likely to change, and they should handle any migration for renamed categories as they have done in the past.

Spotify curates its own category lists, so if you have any questions regarding your placement in their basic categorised listing, you should contact them directly.

Apps that contain their own directories or discovery mechanisms may implement the new categories closer to the launch of the new Apple software platforms around September (if at all), but since most of them use the Apple Podcasts directory, there’s no way yet to know if adopting the new or renamed categories is going to cause a problem.

Implementing these new categories in your podcast

Apple gave no warning when they released the new categories, so we don’t know much about how they’re going to be implemented (see the above). To keep your listing safe, we’ve given you the option to choose whether to adopt the new category system or not.

Now when you visit the Settings page of your podcast and hit the Feed tab, you’ll be able to choose whether to stick with the original category list or adopt the new one, which we’re calling the “Q3 2019” list. If you switch to the new list, you’ll be able to choose from the new selection of categories, and your feed will automatically reflect the change. If you do nothing, there’s no change to your feed, and your podcast will be listed in the original category.

You can always switch back to the original category list, and changing categories doesn’t require re-submitting to apple or any other directories.

Why do it this way?

Speaking as Podiant’s founder and developer, I’m concerned about what these new categories will mean for existing podcasts. For example, you can’t browse the new Fiction category in the Apple Podcasts app or on iTunes, yet Apple have told us it’s OK to use this category. If that’s the case, how might your podcast be found? (I don’t think many people browse by category, but who’s to say I’m right?)

It almost certainly won’t cause a problem for search, but as I’ve mentioned above, it’s unclear how this will affect apps and services that use the Apple Podcasts directory.

I didn’t want to leap into adopting the new category system and risk your podcast being harder to find before they roll out fully around September (assuming they’re not rolled back or otherwise changed in the intervening time). So I’m giving you the option to choose whether you’d like to adopt the new categories or stick with the old ones.

When it’s safe to do so, we’ll migrate away from the old category list and keep the new one as standard.


If you’ve any questions, you can ask them in our support forum.