Google Podcasts users will be migrated to YouTube Music.
The Google Podcasts app will be discontinued in early 2024. It’s being replaced by YouTube Music, which began offering podcasts to U.S. users earlier this year. To prepare for this transition, Google will offer a migration tool that copies your Google Podcasts account over to YouTube Music. You’ll also have the option to download an OPML file of your Google Podcast subscriptions that can be uploaded to any podcast app with OPML importing functionality.
Some people will be disappointed by this change. After all, Google Podcasts has a nice interface and plenty of useful features. But it’s insanely unpopular. In an Edison survey cited by Google, the Google Podcasts platform is used by just 4% of podcast listeners. Compare that to Spotify, which only launched in 2018 and is already the second-biggest podcast app. I’d say that Google’s reasoning is very straightforward.
And, oddly enough, YouTube Music may prove to be a fantastic podcasting platform. One of its headlining features is the ability to switch between the audio and video versions of a podcast. This is made possible by YouTube’s decades-long catalog of video podcasts—a catalog that Spotify and other competitors are desperately trying to build from scratch. While you may not be a huge fan of video podcasts, recent surveys suggest that you are in the minority. Video is now seen as the next frontier for podcasting. Once again, Google points to that Edison survey, which states that 23% of weekly podcast listeners get their fix from YouTube.
The fact that Google Podcasts is shutting down in 2023 is kind of mind-blowing. It seems that Google failed to recognize the potential of YouTube, which has been the premiere video podcast destination for as long as I can remember. Now, Google is making a course correction.
YouTube Music’s podcast functionality will go global by the end of the year. The YouTube Music platform is free to all users, though an optional paid tier is available for $11 a month. That said, I suggest that you buy YouTube Premium instead, as it costs $14 a month and includes a YouTube Music membership on top of ad-free YouTube.