YouTube is making another step to turn its music streaming service into a direct competitor to other audio streaming services like Spotify.
As reported by The Verge, YouTube’s head of podcasting, Kai Chuk, told Ariel Shapiro at the Hot Pod Summit today that the company will be bringing shows to the service “in the near future.” According to the executive, “if someone wants to watch a podcast, we have a solution. If someone wants to listen to a podcast only, we should have a great experience for that as well.”
Chuk is clearly referring to YouTube itself, which is also incredibly popular for video versions of podcasts and is the de facto place to watch videos on the internet, although TikTok is giving the company a run for its money. While more and more podcasts are adding video versions of their shows so they can post that content to the video platform, YouTube seems to want to take a lead in the audio-only space for podcasts as well.
According to the report, YouTube Music will offer free ad-supported background listening for podcasts and “enhanced library tools.” There will also be a new badge to designate audio-first shows in the app. As with YouTube itself, the company appears to be focusing on driving podcasters to the platform with its business model and features, saying that “our focus is on creators, so as long as they find it successful and helpful, that’s success for us…We’re just focused on the YouTube users and ecosystem and bringing podcasts into that fold.”
The move will set up YouTube Music as an even more direct competitor to Spotify, which has been offering both music and podcasts in its app for a while now. While YouTube boasts around 80 million paid Music and Premium members, Spotify still dwarfs that number with over 200 million subscribers. What’s also unclear is what will happen with Google Podcasts, which the company also offers as a podcast streaming service.
While YouTube wants to be more like Spotify, TikTok wants to be more like YouTube, recently announcing a new creator fund and testing horizontal video on its mobile app.