Following Apple’s announcement of a new podcast subscription offering yesterday, the Apple Podcasts directory appears to be having some issues.
Some podcasts are missing entirely from Apple Podcasts search right now (9to5Mac Happy Hour included).
In other cases, the shows are still being listed in the directory but their feed URL is missing in the catalog. This means the API isn’t reporting where to find the actual podcast episodes. This is important as the large ecosystem of third-party podcast clients relies on the iTunes Store API for their data.
If the iTunes Store stops reporting feed URLs, then third-party apps might stop working altogether, at least for the rather fundamental feature of adding a new podcast to your library.
Presumably, Apple is experiencing some backend issues as it transitions to new Podcasts infrastructure ahead of the new Podcasts app experience in iOS 14.5. This would explain mysteriously disappearing shows and such.
However, a second layer of this is that the new Podcasts Connect portal has a prominent checkbox for feed URL visibility. As pointed out by Overcast developer Marco Arment, podcast publishers may not realize the consequences of leaving that box unchecked. So in addition to the ongoing technical issue, Apple should also consider making the UI of these screens clearer and ensuring that the true implications are clear; if your feed URL is listed privately, your podcast will not be accessible in any app other than Apple Podcasts.
At Apple’s April event, the company unveiled a set of new initiatives for podcasts including integrated premium subscriptions for creators, new content channels and a redesigned Podcasts app.
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