In a move that may leave some podcast aficionados scratching their heads, Google Podcasts is packing its bags and heading off to greener pastures next year. Unlike its more illustrious peers like Overcast, Spotify, and the recently revamped Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, which first graced our screens in 2018, never quite achieved the same level of popularity. In fact, if you’ve never come across it before, you’re in good company.
So, where’s this beleaguered app off to? It’s making a beeline for the YouTube farm, where it’ll be under the watchful eye of Marc Maron and Sarah Koenig, metaphorically speaking. The decision to fold Google Podcasts into the YouTube ecosystem isn’t without reason. You see, YouTube is already a go-to hub for podcast enthusiasts. According to stats from Edison Research, as reported by Variety, a whopping 23 percent of podcast listeners in the US tune in via YouTube. In stark contrast, Google Podcasts languishes at a mere four percent, despite wearing its podcast credentials right in its name. It’s a bit like trying to attract fish to a secret fishing hole that no one knows about when you could just cast your line where the fish are already biting.
But fear not, podcast lovers, for YouTube has grand plans for the podcasting world in 2024. It’s gearing up for a substantial “investment in the podcast experience” once it says goodbye to its sibling, Google Podcasts. The lion’s share of this investment is slated for YouTube Music, which will soon boast “robust creation and analytics tools” along with smoother RSS uploads for podcasters.
Moreover, YouTube promises to expand the horizons of podcast listening. They’re vowing to make podcasts accessible “everywhere YouTube Music listeners are already consuming their favorite content — in the background, in the car, offline, and more.” There’s also tantalizing talk of exclusive “YouTube-only” features coming to podcasts on YouTube Music, though the details remain as mysterious as a suspenseful plot twist.
For those who’ve been loyal to Google Podcasts, a “simple migration tool” is on the horizon to ease the transition over to YouTube Music. You’ll even have the freedom to manually add podcast RSS feeds to your YouTube Music library. And if you’re feeling like a fresh start, Google is offering options to migrate your current podcast subscriptions to competing platforms. Keep in mind that Google is actively seeking feedback on the migration process, so there’s room for tweaks and improvements before the big move next year.
This isn’t the first strategic move YouTube Music has made in the podcasting arena this year. In April, the app introduced the ability to watch and listen to podcasts without requiring a paid subscription, although you might have to endure a few ads for Better Help along the way. Podcasts on YouTube Music already offer a host of features, including offline downloads, background playback, and seamless transitions between audio and visual content on smart speakers. The stage is set for YouTube Music to become a podcasting powerhouse in the not-so-distant future.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about podcast transition
Q: Why is Google Podcasts shutting down?
A: Google Podcasts is discontinuing its dedicated app to streamline its podcasting efforts. It’s merging with YouTube, where there’s already a strong podcast audience.
Q: What will happen to current Google Podcasts users?
A: Current users will have access to a simple migration tool to transition their subscriptions to YouTube Music. They can also manually add podcast RSS feeds to their library or switch to rival platforms.
Q: What improvements can we expect in YouTube Music for podcasts?
A: YouTube Music plans to invest in podcasting with robust creation tools, analytics, and better podcast accessibility, including background listening, offline options, and more.
Q: When will these changes take effect?
A: The transition is scheduled for next year (2024), and YouTube Music’s enhanced podcast features will roll out alongside the discontinuation of Google Podcasts.