YouTube Music Looking to Add Podcasts to Its 80 Million Users

While it is on record that YouTube Music has 80 million subscribers as of last year, it is well below Spotify’s 200 million paid subscribers and far lower than YouTube’s 2 billion user base. Despite this, YouTube’s head of podcasting, Kai Chuk, has revealed that podcasting is coming to YouTube Music and both creators and users can hope for a rewarding experience.

Although YouTube already has millions of podcasts in video versions, adding podcasts as an audio service is about to launch on the platform. Chuk said creators and subscribers can expect to have audio first experience, background listening, and library controls come to YouTube Music – first in the United States and later in other parts of the world.

“We will soon start to bring both audio and video-first podcasts to YouTube Music for users in the US, making podcasts more discoverable and accessible, with more regions to come,” a YouTube spokesperson disclosed. “This will help make the podcasts that users already love on YouTube, available in all the places they want to listen.”

Creators will be able to access production tools in YouTube Studio for their podcast needs. They will also be able to use RSS feeds to add audio podcasts to YouTube as well as on the YouTube Music app on smartphones. “Podcast playlists will be eligible for current and upcoming podcast features on YouTube, such as eligibility for, podcast badging, and inclusion in the YouTube Music app,” the spokesperson said.

Chuk told attendees at the Hot Pod Summit which was held on Thursday that “If someone wants to watch a podcast, we have a solution; and if someone wants to listen to a podcast only, we should have a great experience for that as well.” An analyst, Alban Brooke, said with the coming unification of audio and video experiences for podcast enthusiasts, you can “start watching a podcast at home, listen during your commute…maybe finish watching at work.”

Users will be able to enjoy background listening without any costs, but this will be ad-supported, and audio-first podcasts can be designated with a special badge. Users who do not want to see ads on background listening can subscribe to YouTube Music and maybe will be able to switch between audio and video versions of given podcasts.

For now, exclusive shows or licensed original podcasts will not be hosted.

“Our focus is on creators, so as long as they find it successful and helpful, that’s success for us,” Chuk said. “We’re just focused on the YouTube users and ecosystem and bringing podcasts into that fold.”