Google to end Google Podcasts; commits to YouTube Music for “increasing investment in the podcast experience”

“We want to make sure we get this right.” –Google YouTube Team


Google will discontinue the Google Podcasts app, and move its central podcast offering to YouTube Music. This will happen “later in 2024.”

That’s the eye-opening news in a calm and reassuring post on the YouTube blog. [Read it HERE.]

“We’ve seen creators and artists really embrace Podcasts on YouTube, and its incredible potential to boost audience growth across audio and video formats” the statement notes. While it is clear that YouTube Music — a subsidiary app to the main YouTube experience — will become Google’s main podcast delivery platform, we don’t yet know whether a podcast directory in YouTube proper will continue. (Of course, podcasters might still upload their shows to their accounts.)

Currently the Podcasts experience on YouTube (web version) contains a straightforward directory of 14 categories. There is a head-scratching randomness to it; one of those 14 directories is devoted to podcasts about the San Francisco 49ers.

The podcast experience in the YouTube app is worse: Basically no organization at all in our Android experience. In each case one might charitably say the experience has not received enough product development love, and that starting afresh is warranted.

The plan will remedy one glaring flaw in YouTube’s podcast presentation. YouTube does not use the RSS-driven ecosystem — the backbone of podcast distribution. YouTube mentions RSS twice in its short announcement, with clear reassurance that the new portal will give podcasters RSS fluency for adding shows. Analytics tools are also promised.

The soon-to-be-ended Google Podcasts audio app is (in our humble opinion) a clean experience with good usability. However, it lags well behind Spotify and Apple Podcasts in usage. It’s easy to understand how Google might size up the situation, with podcast listening growing apace, and decide to reboot its entire effort.

In choosing YouTube Music as the home base for podcasting, YouTube is emulating Spotify’s hybrid music/talk content model. Even so, there is a potential branding disadvantage: “YouTube Music” does not imply an important non-music block of content. It is perceptually simpler for Spotify to put its arms around podcasts and audiobooks without confusing its top-level name identity.

That said, there is a certain competitive equivalence in play: Both Spotify and YouTube Music apps have been downloaded over one-billion times (Android).


“We know this transition will take time, but these efforts will allow us to build an amazing product and a single destination that rewards creators and artists and provides fans with the best Podcasts experience.”

Brad Hill