In September, Google announced it would shut down its standalone podcasts app, Google Podcasts, sometime next year. Now that the end of 2023 is nearing, the company is today launching a migration tool that will allow U.S. users to shift their existing podcast subscriptions over to YouTube Music, which will be Google’s new home for podcasts.
Users will have plenty of time to export their subscriptions as the official discontinuation of Google Podcasts won’t take place until April 2024. While the current tool only supports U.S. users, Google says it will become available to other markets soon.
The company additionally shared the timeline for the Google Podcasts app’s shutdown. It notes that U.S users will be able to listen to their podcasts in the app through March 2024. And although the app is being discontinued in April, users will still be able to migrate or export subscriptions through July 2024.
The new migration tool will appear in the app in the weeks ahead, through a banner at the top of the screen. Step-by-step instructions will also be documented on Google’s support site. For those who don’t want to move to YouTube Music, an option to export subscriptions to an OPML file will also be provided. This file can be uploaded into any other third-party podcast app that also supports uploads.
Google has been working to make YouTube more of a destination for podcasts for some time, launching a dedicated podcasts homepage last year, and announcing plans this February to bring podcasts to YouTube Music — the company’s Spotify and Apple Music rival.
The change will consolidate Google’s efforts in the audio streaming market by allowing it to combine the listenership that’s today spread across multiple apps. The company had already shuttered Google Play Music years ago, but it took longer to address podcasts.
To use the migration tool, users will click on “Export Subscriptions” at the top of the screen, then under “Export to YouTube Music,” they’ll tap “Export.” If they don’t have the YouTube Music app installed, they’ll be prompted to install it at that time. After reading the disclosure, users will tap “Continue” to complete the migration process.
But now, listeners will also be able to add shows directly to their YouTube Music library via the podcast’s RSS feed. YouTube itself is aiming to support RSS uploads for podcasters, the company had previously said.
To support podcasts on YouTube Music, the company earlier added podcast “shelves” in the app to make them easily accessible, as well as features like adding RSS feeds, automatic downloads, and a listening experience where you can jump back in where you left off. Later, it will add a “mark as listened” option, as well.