YouTube Music to Support Podcasts
Kai Chuk, head of YouTube podcasting, announced at the 2023 HotPod Summit that podcasts will be coming to YouTube Music in the near future. The platform is already home to a bustling podcasting community, but audio-only shows aren’t available yet. Speaking to TechCrunch, a YouTube representative explained that the multi-media platform “will soon start to bring both audio and video-first podcasts to YouTube Music for users in the US,” adding that there will be “more regions to come.” Unlike rival Spotify, YouTube Music is reportedly not interested in signing exclusive deals with popular podcast creators. “Our focus is on creators,” Chuk explained. “So as long as they find it successful and helpful, that’s success for us.” YouTube Music hopes that bringing podcasts to the platform “will help make the podcasts that users already love on YouTube available in all the places they want to listen.” The hope is that the new features will enable anyone watching a podcast on YouTube to switch to audio with a click of a button – although it’s unclear how well one medium can translate into another. For now, creators can use YouTube Studio’s podcast tools to turn videos into podcasts. YouTube Music will have a podcast badge for users to recognize audio-first shows easily. Later this year, creators will also be able to upload audio podcasts to YouTube via RSS feeds. While these features sound promising, time will tell whether YouTube Music can compete with the best podcast hosts. YouTube is increasingly interested in audio. Just recently the platform launched a Radio Builder on YouTube Music that enables listeners to create custom radio stations and a multi-language audio feature for dubbing videos. YouTube currently has 2.1 billion monthly active users and, as of late 2022, a total of 80 million paying customers, including those on free trials using YouTube Music and YouTube Premium services. That’s a sizable audience, yet far from the leading audio streaming service, Spotify, which has 205 million paid subscribers.