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Kai Chuk and Steve McLendon make the announcement
Alban Brooke

YouTube Music to get podcasts (in US)

LISTEN · · Updated · 5.9 minutes to read
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YouTube, Google, and podcasting

Google YouTube

In its entirety, YouTube’s announcement as supplied to us:

We will soon start to bring both audio and video-first podcasts to YouTube Music for users in the US, making podcasts more discoverable and accessible, with more regions to come. This will help make the podcasts that users already love on YouTube, available in all the places they want to listen.

YouTube YouTube Music

We’re also rolling out podcast creation in YouTube Studio, making it easier for Creators to set their videos as podcasts. Podcast playlists will be eligible for current and upcoming podcast features on YouTube, such as eligibility for, podcast badging, and inclusion in the YouTube Music app.

YouTube YouTube Music

Later this year, we’ll offer support for creators to upload their audio podcasts via RSS feeds directly to YouTube.


The announcement from the company was not accompanied by a press release or any more detail.

YouTube Music is the music app for YouTube. “Listeners will be able to consume podcasts with a locked screen” (a feature currently only available on YouTube Music to paying customers, but will be available to all for podcasts). Some reports suggest this will be ad-supported.

YouTube YouTube Music

The product will “unify the audio and video experience for the audience”. This is likely to be achieved with a switch to turn on the video, as is currently seen in YouTube Music for songs.

YouTube YouTube Music

There will be a “podcast badge” to designate shows, and “enhanced library tools” (no detail was given).

Podcasts in YouTube Music will only be available in the US for now, though creator tools and features within YouTube will be available globally. (As one example, Podnews Daily is marked as a podcast, and plays globally).

YouTube YouTube Music Podnews

You can create a podcast in YouTube Studio in a feature being rolled-out: the YouTube Help website has a new page about how podcasts work on the platform.


Audio ads will be coming to YouTube and podcasts on YouTube Music. We’d expect monetisation to be available to larger shows, as currently happens for video creators. YouTube claimed to have paid out $50bn to creators over the past three years.

YouTube YouTube Music

The Google Podcasts app will continue to be available. It’s no longer linked from Google Search, however.

Google Google Podcasts

Is this big news? Our Editor’s thoughts

YouTube is a big service: with more than 2.5bn active users (compared to just 489mn for Spotify). However, YouTube Music, where podcasts will be mainly consumed, isn’t anywhere near as large: it has 80 million premium subscribers globally - Spotify has 205mn premium subscribers. And - these are global figures: and podcasts in YouTube Music won’t be globally available at launch.

Spotify YouTube YouTube Music

The US-only launch is puzzling. Podcasts don’t have rights issues, and open podcasts are available everywhere. US-only launches have been used in the past by YouTube’s predecessor Google Play Music (who’s podcast initiative failed/closed); Facebook (failed/closed); Pandora (failing); and Amazon Music (a market share of just 0.7%).

Amazon Google Amazon Music Pandora

Podcasts can’t market themselves as “available in YouTube Music” if most of their users globally can’t find podcasts in there. Podcasts need to be available in every territory YouTube Music is, for this to be a success - even if the editorial curation is only US-focused at first.

YouTube YouTube Music

Google Podcasts, meanwhile, continues in parallel: a baffling yet familiar pattern to watchers of Google products. That product is a real RSS podcast app; YouTube Music won’t be (though may use RSS to grab and cache audio it uses, breaking any dynamic ad insertion on the way).

Google Google Podcasts YouTube YouTube Music

YouTube Music could have a big effect on podcast consumption - or, at least, consumption of shows that we also upload to YouTube. In the short term, this is good news for companies like Adori, Vizzy or Headliner who all have services to help turn audio-first shows into video. As to whether it’s good news for podcasting, I’m not so sure. Hit reply if you’ve strong views either way, and we’ll cover your thoughts on Monday.

YouTube YouTube Music

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