As promised, YouTube Music now offers podcasts. In the US, you can launch the Android or iOS app to stream audio or video podcasts without a Premium or Music Premium subscription. The programs will play in the background and you can stream them to other devices, such as speakers.
The feature is coming to US users “little by little,” YouTube says, so don’t be surprised if you have to wait a while to see the podcast section. The format will be coming to other regions, though YouTube has not provided a timeline. And before you ask: paying members will still have to listen to host read announcements.
The addition may seem strange when Google already has a Podcasts app. However, this unifies listening for YouTube Music subscribers and, of course, theoretically invites you to sign up. This could make the app a more viable alternative to Spotify if you’re paying for music on demand and want everything in one place.
YouTube has been ramping up its podcast efforts across the board, including an Explore page for non-music users. Just don’t count on the service churning out a large number of originals like Spotify. The rival has removed some of its originals and has been expanding the distribution of Gimlet programs to other platforms. The podcast industry is not as hot as it used to be, even if there is still a lot of demand.