June 16, 2024

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Apple and Google are changing the way you listen to podcasts

Apple and Google are changing the way you listen to podcasts

This is it Hot pod, the edge’The newsletter about podcasting and the audio industry. subscription here For more.

Hello Hot Powders, Amrita and Ariel here! Today we bring you a combined issue of our newsletter, mostly out of necessity. We’ve got a lot of news to delve into: Apple is making a big move toward integrating its audio apps, Google Podcasts is being defeated by YouTube Music, and Spotify is launching a new AI tool for podcast creators.

Google Podcasts is dead, long live YouTube Music

Well, that was expected. YouTube announced Tuesday morning that it will be shutting down Google Podcasts as it increases its focus on making YouTube Music a destination for podcasts. The app will be discontinued next year.

“As part of this process, we will help Google Podcasts users navigate to Podcasts in YouTube Music,” the company’s blog post said. “This matches what listeners and podcasters are already doing: according to Edison, about 23% of weekly podcasters in the US say YouTube is their most used service, versus just 4% for Google Podcasts.”

Things were already looking dicey for the standalone podcast app in January, when Google Podcasts included It disappeared from search results. When YouTube podcast leader Kai Chuk and Google podcast product lead Steve McLendon announced YouTube Music’s move to podcasts at the Hot Pod Summit in February, they claimed the plan was still on to maintain Google Podcasts.

“YouTube and Google Podcasts… are really different products, serving different users,” McLendon said at the summit. “Google podcast is a traditional RSS podcaster. YouTube isn’t…so Google Podcasts hasn’t changed.”

But in August, YouTube announced in the Podcast Movement that it would support RSS by the end of this year. Once that happens, Google Podcasts will truly become redundant. According to the blog post, YouTube will offer a migration tool for Google Podcasts users.

It’s a smart move to integrate podcast listening, but the number the company cites in its blog (23 percent of podcast listeners use YouTube versus 4 percent for Google Podcasts) is a bit misleading. Yes, YouTube is the best platform for podcasts, as it stands Stady After the study showed. But this is not like YouTube Music. There’s a strategy here to attract podcast listeners to YouTube Music, where they can convert into paying subscribers. (Where have we seen that before?) It’s not a bad strategy, but the company needs to get serious about investing in the product if it’s going to prevent users from just searching podcasts on Google and ending up searching for regular old ads. YouTube supported.

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Apple Podcasts wants to be more than just a podcast app

There is a certain type of person who prefers listening to podcasts on their podcast app, meditations on their meditation app, language lessons on their language app, etc. Apple would like to convince this person to start using its podcast app for everything instead: The app seems headed toward a future where it’s a one-stop destination for almost everyone Premium non-musical audio content.

On the heels of the iOS 17 update, a new, updated Apple Podcasts app was unveiled today that can link third-party subscriptions to a variety of lifestyle and news apps, including BloombergKoryo, sleep cycle, The Economist, and others. Subscribers to Apple Music, Apple News Plus, the meditation app Calm, and the children’s education app Lingokids will be able to listen to original audio through the Apple Podcasts app as well.

The end result is Apple Podcasts that no longer looks like Naked podcast player From the 2000s and looks more like Spotify. Your podcasts are still there – still front and center – but you can see the beginning of an expanding world of “audio content.”

Much subscriber content from third-party apps should appear automatically, or users can choose to manually connect their subscriptions on the app’s channel page on Apple Podcasts. This feature builds on Apple adding paid podcast subscriptions to Apple Podcasts again in 2021. However, there’s still one big omission: paid audiobooks remain in Apple Books.

“With the ability to link subscriptions to the best apps, Apple Podcasts becomes the best way for listeners to access many forms of premium audio content — podcasts, news briefs, narrated articles, radio shows with full music, educational courses, guided meditations, sounds of sleep. And more. So much – all in one place,” the company said in its report advertisement.

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Such a purposeful shift to other types of audio programming from a company that put the “pod” in “podcast” is a sign that Apple has a different view of podcast consumers than perhaps most in the industry itself. While the view supported by survey data is that listeners prefer a standalone podcast app, it’s clear that the biggest companies controlling the space either don’t share that opinion — or don’t think it matters.

Ultimately, the goal of companies like Apple, Amazon, and Spotify is for consumers to spend as much time as possible on their apps. For a company like Apple, which controls both the hardware and software you use to listen to podcasts, another goal might be to no longer distinguish between the two. In fact, subscribers can access their third-party content from Apple Podcasts on Apple devices outside of iPhone, including iPad, Mac, HomePod, Apple Watch, and via CarPlay. The audio programming of your choice will be available on-demand wherever you are and wherever you go. Ultimately, the specific distribution method may become irrelevant to some listeners.

Case in point: During a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas over the weekend, my (male) companion played History of Rome For me, a 192 episode podcast about the Roman Empire by Mike Duncan. In order to play podcasts, he chose to turn on car mode on the Audible app on his phone, which is a win on Amazon’s part. The fact that most people think Audible is Just The audiobook app (not so) doesn’t matter. And yes, it was also able to play the exact same podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or a number of other players using car mode. It will have no effect on our listening experience. For Apple and other audio companies, casting the net as wide as possible (rather than just one type of audio) seems like a smart way to avoid losing out on today’s fickle consumers.

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The line between podcasts and other types of audio content has been blurry for a while. Apple Podcasts’ recent overhaul may have — for a very specific consumer — eliminated it. When Apple first launched its standalone Podcasts app in 2012, it seemed to serve only as a colorful guide to RSS feeds. The app was a neat and tidy place for podcasts that was separate from iTunes and allowed you to listen to your podcasts on the go. But the sheer amount of audio-only software available to the average consumer has exploded over the past decade — to the point where consolidating it under one roof makes sense.

You can read more details about the Apple Podcasts overhaul from the edgeJustin Calma.

A new partnership between Spotify and OpenAI paves the way for podcast audio translation

Spotify is testing a transliteration feature that will reproduce English podcasts in Spanish, French, and German, with more languages ​​to come. As I wrote to the edgeSpotify has developed a tool that uses OpenAI’s Whisper model, which now includes speech-to-text and text-to-speech capabilities:

The company has partnered with a few podcasters to translate their English-language episodes into Spanish using its new tool, and has plans to roll out French and German translations in the coming weeks. The first batch of episodes will come from some big names, including Dax Shepard and Monica Badman , Lex Friedman, Bill Simmons, and Steven Bartlett. Spotify plans to expand the collection to include Rewatchable From The Ringer and his upcoming show from Trevor Noah.

Critics are already bristling at the use of AI to translate podcasts — especially since even the most advanced translation software can still make mistakes. If you are a Spanish speaker and have had the opportunity He listens For some AI-translated Spotify episodes, Hot pod He wants to hear your thoughts!