It’s official—a Google Podcast shutdown has been scheduled for April 2024. Initially announced in September, Google has been considering its variety of apps and services and streamlining those with an overlapping user base. A Google migration tool is available for those who want to migrate from Google Podcasts to YouTube Music or move to another streaming platform altogether. The company’s change of heart appears to be a result of a majority of the audience already present on the YouTube Music app, quoting an Edison study that stated 23 percent of weekly podcast listeners used YouTube most frequently, with only 4 percent relying on Google Podcasts. The Google Podcast news comes as no surprise but those comfortably settled into the Google interface will have to look for something new.
Google Podcasts Shutdown—What We Know So Far
Acknowledging the popularity of podcasts, Google by no means intends to cut down on their investments in the field. Statista noted that podcast advertising generated over $1.8 billion in revenue in 2022 and is expected to touch $4 billion in 2025. In September 2022, YouTube crossed 80 million Music and Premium subscribers, a 30 million increase in users from 2021. There is clearly money to be made and users are already actively engaged with YouTube’s services, making it a much more logical investment for Alphabet Inc. and Google by extension. A Google Podcast shutdown was inevitable unless Google decided to develop special features to make the service more appealing to users.
The main challenge with migrating Google Podcasts to YouTube Music would be for users to have to recreate their playlists and listening preferences on another app all over again. Announcing a Google migration tool that should appear for listeners soon enough, users will be able to either migrate to YouTube Music seamlessly or download an OPML file of their subscription and import it to an entirely different podcast app that can support the incoming files. Personally, we understand the appeal of shifting to a new platform entirely, with Google’s history of shutting down key services—Google Play Music was a key component of our listening experience for nine years before it was shut down in 2020. Similar to the shift that was offered to YouTube Music back then, users will have some time to familiarize themselves with YouTube’s podcast offerings this time around.
How to Migrate From Google Podcasts to YouTube Music
The Google Podcast shutdown was announced early with a simplistic timeline spread across the upcoming year to give users sufficient time to make the most of the Google migration tool. With the Google Podcast shutdown scheduled for April 2024, users should be able to listen on the app until March 2024, although it’s likely podcasters will stop uploading new episodes on the platform by then. Extending the deadline for the shift a little further, migration from Google Podcasts to YouTube Music should continue to be available until July 2024. OPML files, used to exchange RSS feed lists across RSS readers, will be available for export until August 2024.
Listeners in the US can access the tool immediately but a global rollout will be announced over upcoming Google Podcasts news releases. A banner on the Google Podcast screen will provide quick access to the migration tool by Google and a support page will be available to explain the transfer step-by-step. To migrate Google Podcasts to YouTube Music, users will simply have to locate the export option, select the mode of export, and tap ahead to complete the process. YouTube Music will see a distinct uptick in the features and services available on the app to encourage more users to make the switch, such as the “mark as listened option,” in addition to the RSS feed and podcast shelves that were added.
The Google Podcasts shutdown is not a dramatic one as the YouTube services are an easy alternative considering the Google Migration tool that is available. Still, reorganizing your preferences is not always a fun process and it might just be discouraging enough for users to switch to another podcast app entirely. Although alternate apps too run the risk of meeting the same fate, with Stitcher, one of the most popular podcasting platforms, having shut down in August this year. The shifting nature of the tech industry is undeniable and despite the disappointment, users will likely make the switch to a new podcast service before the year ends.