YouTube unleashes podcasts in YouTube Music app

Today’s loudest buzz is about YouTube music, which has enabled podcast listening. “We’re happy to share that podcasts on YouTube are now available in YouTube Music!,” the company declared in a celebratory announcement. (Read HERE.) It’s a gradual release, U.S. only.

Google has two preceding podcast distribution points: YouTube and Google Podcasts. The extension of RSS-driven podcast listening to YouTube Music enables web-based YouTube users to continue a partially heard podcast on one platform, to the other — in theory. One user complains: “From a quick glance, a lot of Podcasts are missing from the app (The Economist, NPR, SCMP, etc.).”

We found a large portfolio of NPR podcasts, but did not find any podcasts from The Economist.

Listeners can switch between the video version and audio-only versions of podcasts.

Importantly, YouTube Music Premium, a paid subscription tier, is not necessary; podcast listening is free and open.

A comparison of app downloads signals the importance of this launch:

Google Podcasts = 500-million downloads // YouTube Music = over one billion downloads.

The YT Music podcatcher works essentially as with Google Podcasts, enabling users to build a listening queue, download episodes for offline listening, and make playlists. You can switch between audio and video presentation. Importantly, the app allows continued listening while using YouTube Music in other ways — seems obvious, but YouTube videos are (in)famous for closing when the user switches to a different app.

YouTube smartly warns YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium users, who wouldn’t normally hear a commercial, that they will hear podcast ads.

Brad Hill