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Google Podcasts is shutting down soon, users urged to move to YouTube Music

Google is shutting down its Podcasts app in the U.S. in a matter of days. The company has begun warning the app's users they will need to migrate their subscriptions to YouTube Music by April 2 to follow and stream their favorite shows going forward. Users who don't make the move immediately will still have additional time to migrate, but will no longer be able to stream from the Podcasts app directly after this date.

The Google Podcasts app, installed over 500 million times on Android devices globally, for over half a decade has offered a simple and streamlined interface for discovering, following and listening to podcasts, as well as tools to add podcasts by RSS feed. Unfortunately for fans of the app, the tech giant said last September it would begin to wind down the Podcasts app in early 2024 as part of its broader plan to centralize its audio services under YouTube.

In 2020, YouTube Music offered a similar transition strategy to move music listeners away from Google Play Music ahead of its shutdown that same year. However, the Google Podcasts app continued to be maintained for years because YouTube Music wasn't ready to support podcasts until more recently. By the end of 2023, YouTube Music was able to support podcasts globally, and, by February, they had the ability to upload their RSS feeds, too.

The move to shift podcasting over to YouTube could help Google become a bigger player in the space, not only by combining its efforts and sharpening its focus, but also because interest in video podcasts -- which were already popular on YouTube -- is on the rise. This week, for example, Spotify forged a deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) to bring video podcasts to U.S. users of its streaming app after earlier in March announcing tests of video podcasts in 11 other markets around the world.

Bleeping Computer was the first to notice the shutdown date for Google Podcasts in the U.S., and a support page on Google's site confirms that users in the U.S. will only be able to use the Podcasts app through the end of March 2024. For those who miss the in-app pop-ups, Google will offer users additional time to save their subscriptions by allowing them to use the app's export feature through July 2024.

Google did not immediately return a request for comment, but after publication did respond to say that while it was still "tracking towards" the April 2 timeline for the U.S., it has not shared a timeline for the rest of the world yet.

From its earlier statements, though, the plan is to discontinue Google Podcasts globally in 2024.

Updated, 3/29/24, 5:00 PM ET with Google comment.