YouTube Music is adding podcasts
Podcasts are coming to YouTube Music. The streaming music service plans to add podcasts "in the near future," YouTube's head of podcasting, Kai Chuk, told Ariel Shapiro at Hot Pod Summit this morning. The addition will pit YouTube Music even more directly against Spotify, which has looked to podcasts -- and big exclusives like Joe Rogan -- as a way to retain users and grow its audience.
"If someone wants to watch a podcast, we have a solution," Chuk said. "If someone wants to listen to a podcast only, we should have a great experience for that as well."
"Our focus is on creators"
YouTube Music will allow free ad-supported background listening to podcasts and offer "enhanced library tools," Chuk said. There'll also be a podcast badge to designate audio-first shows.
YouTube hit 80 million subscribers last year for its Music and Premium services, the latter of which includes both Music and ad-free YouTube. That's a big number, but it still puts the service well below Spotify -- which recently hit 200 million paid subscribers -- and YouTube proper, which has more than 2 billion users and has proven itself to be a powerful discovery platform for podcasts.
The company isn't currently looking at adding exclusive shows or licensed originals.
Chuk and Steve McLendon, Google's product lead for podcasting, said the goal of YouTube Music's podcasting features was to build great tools for the people making shows. "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."
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