The YouTube podcast is officially available here.
Instead of having a standalone app to work with YouTube, YouTube Music, YouTube Kids, and YouTube TV, podcasts will be part of YouTube Music. Google says App podcast support is rolling out in the US now. The move follows the launch of youtube.com/podcasts last year on the web.
YouTube Music gets a lot of criticism for being too limited unless you pay for it, with unpaid Google features like background play and offline play, but the company says, “This podcast-listening experience is different than the music-listening experience” and that this Features are free for podcasts.
Of course, people have been posting podcasts to YouTube forever, even without official Google support. It seems easy to set up on the official track, though, even for older content. YouTube podcasts are just video playlists with a special “Podcast” tag. In YouTube Studio, creators can mark existing playlists as podcasts to place episodes on their podcast pages and to have them appear in the YouTube Music app. It’s also easy to add new content to your existing podcast playlist at upload time. The only real requirement is to include a special thumbnail for the podcast. There is currently no support for uploading audio through RSS feeds, but Google says that is coming in the future.
Google says it will start promoting podcasts on the Home and Explore pages of the YouTube Music app, and beta screenshots highlight popular shows and episodes, with several categories for people to browse. All of the usual YouTube monetization options still apply, though YouTube Premium users, who pay a fee not to watch ads, will still have to deal with baked-in podcast ads. It doesn’t seem possible to pay for ad-free podcasts at this time.
Google says the podcast will be rolled out to other countries in the future. No word yet on what will happen to Google last Current podcast app, Google Podcasts, but it’s likely to be shut down eventually. This is Google’s fourth attempt at podcasting after Google Listen (2009-2012), Google Play Music Podcasts (2016-2020), and Google Podcasts (2018).
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