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YouTube Enters the World of Podcasts (again)

YouTube experienced notable success in the past year, recording more than 80 million paid subscribers for its Music and Premium services. This impressive figure is still less than Spotify's 205 million paid subscribers, and significantly lower than the 2 billion+ monthly users on the traditional ad-funded (free) YouTube platform. However, buoyed by these results they have announced they are to be the latest service to enter the podcasting world with their YouTube Music platform.

YouTube has been slow to introduce dedicated podcast features to its platform, but that cautious approach may have been advantageous. YouTube is already a popular platform for podcasts, due to the platform's strength in discovery. This has enabled tremendous viewership numbers. It is common to find podcast episodes that cumulatively garner hundreds of thousands and even millions of views.

Driving discoverability and helping creators gain an audience is still the focus for YouTube. For this reason, it currently has no interest in commissioning original shows or landing exclusive licensing deals with top podcasters, like Spotify has. YouTube's mission is to find creative ways to help content creators find their audience, both on and off platform, to help further the popularisation of the podcast format.

Podcasts coming to YouTube Music offer several benefits. Users can experience background listening free of charge, and the podcast will not be cut off if you lock your phone. As a bonus, users can easily switch between audio and video versions while they are enjoying the show. However, bear in mind that free services are ad-supported.

Content creators have yet to discover the details on how they can make money from their podcasts using YouTube. So far, it appears that rather than embarking on a complete overhaul of the system, YouTube Music is taking a more gradual approach. It remains to be seen what this will mean for podcasters.

This strong push into podcasting has clear implications: YouTube Music are looking to become a major player in the space. This move is exciting for both marketers and podcasters, who now have access to YouTube’s powerful analytics and reach. It will be interesting to see what other initiatives YouTube takes in the coming months as it tries to solidify its plan to be the go-to platform for podcasting.

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