If you’re a user of Google Podcasts, get ready to bid it farewell. Google intends to close down the app sometime next year as part of its strategy to consolidate podcast consumption on YouTube Music, which started supporting podcast channels in April.
In order to make YouTube Music a superior destination for both podcast enthusiasts and creators, Google plans to increase its investment in the podcast experience there starting in 2024. These improvements will include YouTube-only features for community, discovery, and seamless audio/visual transitions.
Earlier this year, Google revealed its intentions to introduce podcasts to the YouTube Music app in the United States, with a global expansion scheduled before the year’s end. Consequently, today’s announcement likely doesn’t come as a shock to many. Furthermore, Google reports that 23% of U.S. users utilize YouTube for weekly podcast consumption, unlike the mere 4% who use Google Podcasts.
However, this shift towards YouTube Music comes at the expense of Google Podcasts, initially launched on Android in 2018 and later on iOS in 2020. According to the Google Play Store, it has garnered over 500 million downloads and is also accessible on the web.
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Google announced the discontinuation of Google Podcasts.
Google intends to gather feedback during the transition process to ensure the shift is as straightforward and user-friendly as possible. Current Google Podcast users will receive instructions on uploading their RSS feeds to YouTube Music before the end of the year. Those who currently listen to podcasts through Google Podcasts are encouraged to switch.
In the same blog post where Google announced the discontinuation of Google Podcasts, the company states, “For users, this means having access to a straightforward migration tool and the ability to add podcast RSS feeds to their YouTube Music library, even for shows not currently hosted on YouTube. For those who prefer a different listening platform, the tools will also include an option to download an OPML file of their subscribed shows, which can be uploaded to an app that supports such imports.”
The move to consolidate audio, video, and podcasts on YouTube Music aligns with the strategy adopted by Spotify. However, long-time Google Podcast listeners may find this transition somewhat confusing in the short term.
When was Podcast support added to YouTube Music?
Podcast support was added to YouTube Music in April of this year. Google announced that YouTube Music would permit users to listen to podcasts without requiring a premium subscription.
All listeners now have access to YouTube Music’s on-demand podcasts, offline listening, background playback, and smooth switching between audio and video versions. Initially introduced in the United States, Google had pledged to expand this feature to other regions shortly. The search giant has committed to making YouTube Music podcasts accessible worldwide by the end of this year.