Google Podcasts is set to shut down, with users encouraged to transition to YouTube Music

Calvin D

In just a few days, Google is set to discontinue its Podcasts app across the U.S., prompting users to transition their subscriptions over to YouTube Music by April 2 to continue enjoying their preferred podcasts. Although this change is impending, there's a grace period for users who delay the shift, allowing them a bit more time for migration. However, post-April 2, streaming directly from the Podcasts app will no longer be an option.

The app, which has been downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide, has served as a beloved platform for the discovery, following, and listening of podcasts for over five years. It featured a user-friendly interface along with functionalities that let listeners add podcasts via RSS feed. Despite its popularity, Google announced in September of the previous year its intentions to gradually phase out the Podcasts app in early 2024, aiming to streamline its audio services through YouTube.

Back in 2020, a similar strategy was employed with YouTube Music gearing up to take over from Google Play Music. Despite this, the Podcasts app remained functional for an extended period because YouTube Music had not yet incorporated podcast support. By the end of 2023, YouTube Music had globally added podcast support, including the ability for upload via RSS feeds by February.

This strategic pivot towards YouTube Music for podcasting is part of Google's endeavor to enhance its presence in the podcasting arena. This approach is not only about consolidating efforts but also tapping into the growing popularity of video podcasts - a domain where YouTube already excels. Recent developments, such as Spotify's collaboration with Universal Music Group (UMG) to introduce video podcasts to its U.S. audience, highlight the escalating interest in this format.

Bleeping Computer initially reported on the upcoming closure of the Google Podcasts app in the U.S., a fact later confirmed by a Google support page. According to this page, U.S. users have until the end of March 2024 to utilize the Podcasts app. For those overlooking the notification within the app, Google plans to provide an extension till July 2024 to export their subscriptions. While Google hadn't immediately commented on this timeline, a later statement acknowledged they were "tracking towards" the April 2 date for the U.S., with no confirmed timeline for other regions as yet. Previous statements indicate a global discontinuation of Google Podcasts in 2024.