RIP Google Podcasts! Youtube Music Podcasts?

Alphabet has announced the discontinuation of Google Podcasts later in 2024. This announcement comes with a twist –  allegedly users will be seamlessly transitioned to Podcasts in YouTube Music. This transition aligns with the evolving habits of both podcast listeners and creators. According to Edison Research, approximately 23% of weekly podcast users in the United States prefer YouTube as their most frequently used podcast platform, in contrast to a mere 4% for Google Podcasts. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the implications of this transition, as well as the unique features of YouTube Music Podcasts.

The End of Google Podcasts

Google Podcasts was introduced as a promising podcasting platform, offering users a way to access their favourite shows, discover new content and sync across devices. Despite Google’s reputation, Google Podcasts faced challenges in gaining significant traction within the competitive podcasting landscape. By failing to ensure the app was mandatory on all versions of android, as Apple had with its Podcast App on iPhone back in 2014.

In an official blog post, Alphabet  announced its decision to discontinue Google Podcasts later in 2024. 

A Smooth Transition to YouTube Music Podcasts?

As a listener, the discontinuation of Google Podcasts doesn’t mean you’ll lose access to your shows. Alphabet is ensuring that users are not left in the lurch by migrating their podcasting journey to YouTube Music, a platform already renowned for hosting a wide array of audio content, including music and, now, podcasts. Or so the theory goes. More recent info suggests the transition will require the podcaster to make a decision. This comes down to re-submitting the RSS feed for the show. Following the be everywhere you can approach to podcast promotion, this might seem a no brainer. The issue arising is one affecting shows using dynamic ad insertion. 

A quick explanation of dynamic insertion. A podcast producer designs their shows with gaps at predetermined time marks in the episode. Ads are then inserted by the dynamic ad provider depending upon, usually, location. This means those of us in Australia aren’t bombarded with advertisements for US mattress sales. It doesn’t stop a bearded individual like myself still receiving razor ads but, hey, this is still the early days of podcasting. 

Your more traditional ads, read by the host or dropped into the original .mp3 file are also an issue in the Youtube environment. Given Youtube relies upon those three to five second or longer pre roll ads on their videos, it’s possible competitor’s ads could be run prior to the episode. For shows like the JM Podcasting Services Show, there’s no real dramas. In fact the show is already listed as a podcast on YouTube through an unnecessarily  complicated process where my host Libsyn automatically creates a video file for the JMPS channel on Youtube every time I publish a new episode. YouTube now requires me to create a playlist from these videos and then import them into the podcast world. And update the playlist every time a new episode drops. 

The expectation is that by the time Youtube goes fully live re-submitting the RSS feed will end this time consuming nonsense. We will see.

The Transition: What to Expect

 Alphabet is committed to making this shift as smooth as possible. Your subscriptions, episode progress and playlists will be migrated over, ensuring that you don’t lose any of your favourite content. With the above caveat that not all show will choose to transition. We will, as I say, see how this goes. Anyone who’s had to deal with changes like this in a work environment will know the horrors lurking in the code ready to leap into the light of day. Alphabet is, apparently, working to minimise any disruption to your listening experience, so you can seamlessly transition to YouTube Music Podcasts. Fingers crossed.

Alphabet’s decision, according to Alphabet’s press releases, to merge podcasting with YouTube Music is not just a reflection of user behaviour but also an acknowledgment of the evolving podcasting landscape. Podcasts have become a fundamental part of the media ecosystem and the convergence of audio content under a single platform makes sense.

YouTube Music Podcasts: A Closer Look

With Google’s emphasis on this transition, it’s essential to explore the unique features and offerings of YouTube Music Podcasts. While Google Podcasts served its purpose, YouTube Music Podcasts brings several changes:

Possible Benefits From The Change

YouTube Music Podcasts provides a diverse and extensive catalogue of podcasts, making it a fantastic platform for having your show “discovered”. The Youtube algorithm, however, designed to keep you watching/listening may not be as useful for podcasters. It’s likely to jump from one channel to another as YouTube music and video suggestions already do.

Community Engagement

YouTube Music Podcasts will also harness the social element of YouTube’s broader platform. You can like, share and comment on your favourite podcast episodes. Engaging with the podcasting community adds an interactive and collaborative dimension to your listening experience. This is, again, something we will need to observe and monitor. And we’ll have to check another set of stats, YouTube’s as well as our host’s until some arrangement can be made to reunify those. The problem arises because YouTube Music will take your mp3/mp4 files from your host and host them, themselves. In a new location and in a new ecosystem. As I say, hopefully there’s a way to unite the two systems.

Where and When Will This Happen?

Initially, podcasts were only available in YouTube Music in the US for listening. Any creator, as far as I can tell, could follow the procedure I outlined above to move a playlist into the podcast system. As of this post the following countries are also able to access podcasts through the YouTube Music app and web page:

  • The US
  • Australia
  • France
  • Canada
  • India
  • Japan
  • Russia
  • Finland
  • Indonesia
  • Israel

The plan is to have all countries up and running before Google Podcasts is laid to rest. 

As more information becomes available, I’ll continue to update could be the biggest change to podcasting in a while or another botched attempt by Alphabet. Time will tell.

The next episode will be episode 1 of season 9. The new season will be all about the benefits of podcasting for the podcaster. If you’ve ever considered sitting behind a mic, this season’s for you.

If you’ve found some value in this episode or indeed any episode please tell anyone you know, any way you can about the JM Podcasting Services Show, I really appreciate your efforts. Until next time, thanks.