Apple and Google want to change the way podcasts are listened to
Apple and Google want to change the way podcasts are listened to: Greetings, Ariel and Amrita from Hot Podders! Mostly out of necessity, we’re giving you a co-bylined edition of the newsletter today.
To start, there is a ton of news to sift through: Apple makes a significant (almost) advancement in the integration of its audio applications; YouTube Music overtakes Google Podcasts; and Spotify introduces a new AI tool designed for podcasters.
Google Podcasts is no more; YouTube Music is here to stay
Okay, this was going to happen. YouTube said on Tuesday morning that it would be discontinuing Google Podcasts in order to concentrate more on establishing YouTube Music as a destination for podcasts. Next year, the app will be withdrawn.
The company’s blog post states, “As part of this process, we’ll be helping Google Podcasts users move over to Podcasts in YouTube Music.” According to Edison, over 23% of US weekly podcast users say YouTube is their most frequently used service, compared to only 4% for Google Podcasts. This is in line with what listeners and podcasters are currently doing.
By January, things were becoming tough for the standalone podcast app when Google Podcasts embeds vanished from search results. Google Podcasts’ product head Steve McLendon and YouTube podcast lead Kai Chuk said at the Hot Pod Summit in February that Google Podcasts will still be present when YouTube Music entered the podcast space.
At the summit, McLendon said, “YouTube and Google Podcasts… are really different products, and they serve different users.” “Google Podcasts resembles a classic RSS podcatcher in many ways. That’s not what YouTube is. Thus, Google Podcasts remains unaltered.
However, YouTube said at Podcast Movement in August that it would support RSS by year’s end. Google Podcasts will become completely unnecessary after that. As per the blog post, YouTube is going to provide a migration option for users of Google Podcasts.
Consolidating podcast listening is a wise step, however, the business presents a little inaccurate statistic on its blog (23 percent of podcast listeners use YouTube, compared to 4 percent who use Google Podcasts).
Yes, as research after study has shown, YouTube is the best medium for podcasts. However, it is not the same as music on YouTube. This is a calculated move to lure podcast listeners to YouTube Music in the hopes that they would become paying subscribers.
(Where have we already seen that?) While this isn’t a terrible plan, if the firm hopes to prevent people from just Googling for a podcast and landing up on plain, old, ad-supported YouTube, it will need to spend heavily in the product.
Being a podcast software is not all that Apple Podcasts aims to be.
Someone of a certain kind could want to use their language app for language courses, podcasts, meditations, and so on. Apple hopes to persuade the user to switch to its podcast app for all of its audio needs since it seems to be developing into a one-stop shop for high-quality, non-musical audio material in the near future.
Following the release of iOS 17, Apple Podcasts received a makeover today. It is now possible to connect third-party subscriptions to a wide range of news and lifestyle applications, such as Bloomberg, Curio, Sleep Cycle, The Economist, and others. Users of the kids’ education app Lingokids, the meditation app Calm, Apple News Plus, and Apple Music will now be able to listen to their original audio through the Apple Podcasts app.
The final product is an Apple Podcast that looks more like, well, Spotify than it does the basic podcast player of the 2010s. You can see the beginning of a growing world of “audio content,” yet your podcasts are still there, front and center.
On the app’s channel page on Apple Podcasts, users may choose to manually link their subscriptions, while most subscriber material from third-party applications should appear automatically. The functionality expands upon Apple Podcasts, which introduced paid podcast subscriptions in 2021. One significant absence still exists, though: Apple Books still sells paid audiobooks.
Apple Podcasts become 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, sleep sounds, and much more — all in one place, the company said in its announcement. This is because it can connect subscriptions to top apps.
Apple, the firm that popularized podcasts, has made a deliberate move into other audio programming genres, suggesting that it has a different perspective on podcast listeners than others in the business.
Although survey data supports the idea that listeners prefer a stand-alone podcast app, it is evident that the largest corporations dominating the market either disagree with this idea or don’t believe it matters.
Ultimately, businesses such as Apple, Amazon, and Spotify want users to spend as much time as possible using their programs. Another objective for a corporation like Apple, which makes both the software and the hardware used to listen to podcasts, maybe for customers to be unable to tell the difference between the two.
It is true that users of Apple Podcasts may access their third-party content on Apple devices other than the iPhone, such as the iPad, Mac, HomePod, Apple Watch, and CarPlay. Your preferred audio content will be accessible anytime, anywhere with on-demand access. For certain listeners, the precise distribution method may eventually become unimportant.
As an example, over the weekend, while taking a road journey from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, my (male) partner played me Mike Duncan’s 192-episode podcast, The History of Rome, on the Roman Empire. He decided to turn on Car Mode on the Audible app on his phone in order to play the podcast, which is a victory for Amazon.
It made little difference that the majority of consumers mistakenly believe Audible to be only an audiobook app. Indeed, he could have listened to the same audio on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any number of other players that had vehicle mode enabled.
It would never have affected what we were listening to. Broadening their scope (instead of limiting themselves to a single genre) seems to be a wise strategy for Apple and other audio firms hoping to stay ahead of today’s fickle customers.
For quite some time, it has been difficult to distinguish between podcasts and other forms of audio material. The most recent update to Apple Podcasts may have almost eliminated it for a very particular customer. In 2012, Apple released its standalone podcast app, but at the time, it seemed to be nothing more than an eye-catching RSS feed directory.
You could listen to your podcasts on the move using this app, which offered a nice place to store them apart from iTunes. However, over the last ten years, the quantity of audio-only content accessible to the typical consumer has increased dramatically, to the point where combining them under one roof makes sense.
You can read more about the Apple Podcasts redesign from Justine Calma at The Verge.
The new collaboration between Spotify and OpenAI opens the door for voice translation of podcasts.
Spotify is now developing a voice translation function that will eventually support other languages and translate English podcasts into Spanish, French, and German. Spotify has created a tool that makes use of OpenAI’s Whisper model, which can now speak text to voice and write it to speech, as I reported for The Verge:
With the use of its new technology, the firm has collaborated with a few podcasters to translate their English-language episodes into Spanish. In the next weeks, it aims to provide translations into French and German. Some well-known actors, including Dax Shepard, Monica Padman, Lex Fridman, Bill Simmons, and Steven Bartlett, will contribute to the first batch of episodes. Spotify intends to expand the lineup to include Trevor Noah’s next program and The Rewatchables from The Ringer.
The use of AI to translate podcasts is already drawing criticism, particularly in light of the fact that even the most sophisticated translation software is fallible. Hot Pod is interested in hearing your opinions if you speak Spanish and have listened to any of Spotify’s AI-translated episodes!
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