Explicit episodes should be labeled as such within your feed. Any episode that is not labeled explicit but includes explicit material MAY be removed by individual platforms (Apple, Spotify, etc.) at that company’s discretion.
Unfortunately, Apple does not provide clear guidelines on what is and is not explicit. While Apple does not currently have a webpage addressing this topic, in a previously published web page addressing Parental Advisory Apple wrote:
Per Apple’s iTunes guidelines, “explicit” means “has explicit or adult content.”
Typically, your episodes will only be removed if someone listening complains (flags your show for not being labeled correctly) or if it is blatantly clear from the title or description of the episode. However, with audio-search capabilities now in the podcast industry (meaning they can search audio files for individual explicit words) we do not suggest risking it. Here are your options:
Bleep out curse words, allowing your feed and the individual episode to remain labeled as having “Clean Lyrics”
Keep the curse words in and label those individual episodes where adult content appears as ‘Explicit’, the overall show will still be labeled as having ‘Clean Lyrics’ (see screenshot 1)
Make your entire show ‘Explicit’ which will automatically make all episodes explicit by default, we recommend this only if you curse or mention adult themes frequently (see screenshot 2)
Since the guidelines are not “set in stone” we will need you to make the determination for what you deem explicit. The Turnkey editing/post production team will not make this determination on your behalf. Any host that does not specify will default to option 2 mentioned above.
A note from Doug Sandler:
“Better safe than sorry — Apple will bump any episodes they deem explicit and we will need to resubmit that episode — potentially causing a delay in your community getting that specific episode. The actual guidelines are somewhat vague, and so we encourage content creators to mark questionable content as “explicit” to avoid being penalized by Apple.
Thanks for helping us get your show out to your communities.”