While the US has enjoyed podcast support on YouTube Music since April this year, the rest of the world has been jealously watching from the sidelines. That could be changing soon as YouTube is reportedly rolling out podcast support to more countries.
Don’t rush off to YouTube Music just yet or you’ll be disappointed. Podcast support hasn’t made it to SA yet and there’s no solid guarantee that it will. This news comes from user reports out of Brazil and Canada on Reddit (spotted by 9to5Google) – which means a wider rollout can’t be far off.
Without any official announcements from YouTube, we’ll have to add a bit of salt to those user reports. Not that we don’t believe them – the company has said it’ll be expanding to more countries eventually.
When YouTube’s podcasts do hit South African shores, they’ll be found in the new “Podcasts” tab joining the other ‘mood filters’ at the top of the screen. It’ll feature categories for your perusal such as Gaming, True Crime or Political Commentary.
Otherwise, YouTube Music’s podcasts feature appears to be very similar to those currently on the market. It’ll let you save episodes for later listening or download them to do that offline. As long as your’re paying Google R60/m of course.
But there are a few caveats to contend with. Those not willing to pay the R60/m fee won’t be forced to keep their screens open and on when listening to a podcast, but they will have to “experience host-read endorsements or sponsorship messages when listening to podcasts.” If you can put up with it on Spotify, you can put up with it here.
The larger issue concerns the number of podcasts that’ll be available on the platform. Only those podcasts/channels that upload video versions of the podcast can host their episodes. There are no audio-only options – which might be an issue for the podcast enjoyers on a tight mobile data plan. But maybe they’re planning on fixing that later.
In spite of the caveats, wider support for podcasts on YouTube Music will give creators another potential revenue stream and provide listeners with another source of background noise. That usually means the established channels — Spotify and the like — will need to work a little harder to maintain their user base. Some more than others. We’re looking at you Apple Music.