Google’s Podcasts App Faces Discontinuation: Ensure a Smooth Transition to YouTube Music

Google’s Podcasts App Faces Discontinuation: Ensure a Smooth Transition to YouTube Music

Google Podcasts has officially gone the way of Google Play Music and has been integrated directly into YouTube. As of April 2, Google Podcasts ceased to function in the US. 

Fortunately, you still have some time to migrate your subscriptions to another service. Google will allow you to migrate your data to either YouTube Music or the podcast app of your choice using the Google Podcasts app through July.

Google Podcasts first launched in 2018. Before its launch, podcasts were tied with Google Play Music. When it came out, it focused primarily on Google Assistant integration and using information gathered from your listening habits to offer more personalized recommendations. The service improved over time and became one of the most popular podcast apps, boasting over 500 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone.

Google revealed the reasoning for integrating Google Podcasts with YouTube Music in its announcement last year. 

“We’ll be helping Google Podcasts users move over to Podcasts in YouTube Music,” Google said in September in a blog post. “This matches what listeners and podcasters are already doing: according to Edison, about 23% of weekly podcast users in the US say YouTube is their most frequently used service, versus just 4% for Google Podcasts.”

Google Podcasts will officially enter the Google graveyard at the tender age of six years. Folks outside of the US will still have access to Google Podcasts for a little while longer — the company didn’t share when the rest of the world would lose access, but it’ll be sometime in 2024. 

Here’s how to move your Google Podcasts subscriptions to other services.

Photo of Google Podcasts app on a phone

You’ll want to export your podcasts to YouTube Music.

Joe Hindy/CNET

How to migrate Google Podcasts subscriptions

There are two ways to export your podcast subscriptions from Google Podcasts. The first is a direct export to YouTube Music. The other lets you download your subscriptions in OPML format. You can then load that file into another podcast app to retrieve your subscriptions. We’ll go over both methods. 

Export to YouTube Music

  • Before you begin, make sure to download YouTube Music, open the app and sign in with your Google account before proceeding.
  • Open Google Podcasts. At the top of the app’s home screen, you’ll see a banner encouraging you to export your subscriptions. 
  • Tap the Export subscriptions link on the banner.
  • You’ll have an option to export directly to YouTube Music or export to another app. Tap the Export button to migrate your data to YouTube Music. 
  • YouTube Music will automatically open to the podcast transfer screen. 
  • Tap the Transfer as… button. It should show your Google account email on the button.
  • If you listen to podcasts hosted by a third-party server, Google will let you know that you’re adding an RSS feed instead of directly subscribing to the podcast. Tap Continue to proceed.
  • The transfer will be processed. This may take a few minutes if you listen to a lot of podcasts so hang in there. 
  • Once done, the app will take you to your podcast library so you can make sure everything is transferred correctly. 

Export to another podcast app

  • Open Google Podcasts and find the banner that tells you to export your podcasts. Tap Export subscriptions.
  • On the next page, tap Download
  • You’ll be encouraged to save a file to your downloads folder. Tap Save to do so.
  • For your reference, Google names this file google-podcasts-subscriptions.opml by default.
  • Open the podcast app you wish to migrate your podcasts to. 
  • Navigate to that app’s settings and locate where you can import OPML files. 
  • Once located, use the app’s import tool to find and import the OPML file saved by Google Podcasts in the previous step. 
  • Finally, check your library to ensure that Google Podcasts transferred everything correctly. 

Are YouTube Music podcasts free?

YouTube Music podcasts are free. Google says that “listeners can enjoy podcasts on-demand, offline, in the background, while casting and seamlessly switch between audio-video versions on YouTube Music. This podcast listening experience is different from our music listening experience where you need a Premium or Music Premium subscription to enjoy some of these features.”

Why is Google shutting down Google Podcasts?

Initially, the move to separate Google Podcasts from Google Play Music emulated Apple’s approach of having separate podcast and music streaming apps. At the time, Apple Podcasts was the most popular podcast app in the US, with 34% of US podcast listeners using it. However, Spotify has since taken the throne as the top podcast app in the US, and Amazon has doubled its own podcast listener numbers since 2021 with the same all-in-one strategy. 

So while this seems like another classic case of Google doubling back, as it did with Inbox by Gmail, Google integrating podcasts with YouTube Music more closely emulates the methods that are driving success for other companies in 2024. In addition to audio podcasts, YouTube Music will boast video podcasts along with access to YouTube, one of the internet’s largest sources of both music and podcast content. 

What else should I know?

YouTube Music launched podcasts on its platform in April 2023 and is fully integrated into the experience. You can search for podcasts the same way you search for music and add podcasts to your library the same way as well. It isn’t quite as robust as a dedicated podcast app, but you do have the ability to save podcasts for later, download podcasts for offline listening and enable auto-downloads so you don’t have to do it yourself later. 

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