Google wants YouTube Music to be the 'ultimate destination' for podcasts

YouTube Music widget for Android 13 on a Pixel 6
(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • After shutting down Google Podcasts for good, Google shared an interview with YouTube's chief product officer to discuss the future of podcasts on YouTube Music.
  • YouTube Music wants to become the "ultimate destination" for podcasts, both for creators and listeners. 
  • Unfortunately, the interview did not include much to address concerns podcast users have with YouTube Music, such as the absence of core features like new episode notifications. 

Whether we like it or not, YouTube Music is the future of podcast hosting at Google. With the company shutting down Google Podcasts once and for all earlier this month, YouTube Music is Google's focus moving forward. In an interview published by YouTube, the platform's Chief Product Officer Johanna Voolich explained the plan "to make YouTube Music the ultimate destination for podcasters and fans alike."

Despite podcasts being an audio-first medium, YouTube wants to lean into what it does best: video. YouTube says it has made changes to the YouTube Music app to better support audio-centric content, but it adds that video can provide extra value to a podcast. "The second way we think about podcasts is [as an] eyes-optional experience," Voolich said. "So, stuff that's great to hear and listen to, but also can be great to watch as well."

Voolich emphasized the possibility for users to start listening to a podcast and finish it by watching the video version or vice versa.

Again, leaning into its strengths, YouTube thinks the platform's experience in building algorithms will come in handy when serving suggested podcasts to users. "YouTube's secret sauce is our recommendations," said YouTube Creator Liaison Rene Ritchie in a blog post. "They help people discover something new or go deeper on what they love, while helping podcasters reach new audiences only found on YouTube."

Aside from the typical features offered by YouTube, Voolich emphasized the changes that have been made to YouTube Music specifically for the benefit of podcasters and listeners. "We've rolled out several new features including support for third-party RSS podcasts, updates to the Android Auto experience for easy in-car listening, enhanced download options, and customizable playlist sorting," the blog post added.

However, the interview didn't address some of the major concerns that YouTube Music users have had with enjoying podcasts on the platform. There were few clear mentions of the platform's future plans, with the only notable one being that YouTube Music is not planning to support RSS out feeds anytime soon.

"Over the past year, we've been working to build in all of the traditional podcasting features to YouTube Music," Voolich said. "The first thing we did was actually just pull in podcast content, but then also traditional things like being able to play in a series, continue watching, [and] have a shelf for discovery."

There appears to still be a long way to go for YouTube Music. The platform still lacks essential podcast features, such as new episode notifications and mark-as-played indicators. Presumably, those features are coming, but this interview doesn't give us much in terms of a concrete roadmap as to when we can expect them.

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.

    So they should do what they are best at, make ANOTHER app. Google Music means well, do I need to explain what the suffix means?

    Otherwise Google Podcasts.

    Stop butchering the butchered further. GPM was crippled with YTM and now they want to destroy what little YTM is.

    Improve YTM, add lossless, add better algorithm.

    I cant believe the Googles CEO is still in power. He needs to be replaced and Google restored to the tech rebel and not Apple 2.0 money pigs.

    So that's my rant. Just rid yourself from Google products while there are options and to keep those options alive. It's inevitable Google will kill something you love.