YouTube is growing its commitment to hosting podcasts on its platform. This week, at the Podcast Movement conference, YouTube product lead Steve McLendon confirmed the platform will be rolling out support for RSS uploads for podcasters by the end of the year, among other updates. The new functionality had been in beta testing since earlier this year, as a strategic, invite-only pilot.
YouTube additionally confirmed to TechCrunch it's rolling out support for podcasts on YouTube Music by the end of year, as well. The company previously announced it was adding podcasts to its music streaming service in the U.S. across iOS, Android and the web, but it had not yet expanded to other markets.
Also at the event, the company announced that it would support the ability for users to add RSS feeds to their library within YouTube Music, including private feeds. This would make YouTube Music more competitive with standalone podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts, Overcast, and others. And it puts YouTube Music ahead of Spotify in terms of supporting private RSS feeds.
Spotify remains the only major podcast app that doesn't support that functionality, preferring to direct users to its own podcast subscriptions. But in reality, many users subscribe elsewhere to gain access to a private feed, then need to ingest that feed into their preferred podcast player. Earlier this month, Spotify capitulated on this point to some extent by announcing a partnership with Patreon, a popular platform used by podcasters, to allow fans to listen to their subscriber-only Patreon feeds within Spotify's app.
YouTube's ambitions to become more of a destination for podcasts have been underway for some time. Last year, for instance, the company added a dedicated podcasts homepage as one of its top-level navigation options on the video platform. It was also revealed that YouTube had plans to feature audio ads in podcasts sold by Google and other partners.
However, at the same time as YouTube is expanding further into podcasts by embracing RSS feeds, Spotify is inching into YouTube's territory with its support for video podcasts. Late last year, the streamer expanded its video podcast publishing tools to creators worldwide after first adding video podcasts for Spotify Originals and other shows, like the Spotify exclusive "Call Her Daddy," and others.
Related to YouTube's podcast news, Triton Digital announced that YouTube podcasts will now be integrated into Triton’s Podcast Metrics, which allows publishers to now view metrics on their YouTube videos along with audio podcast episodes.
Both Spotify and Apple made announcements related to podcast creator tools this week, as well, with Apple adding subscription analytics and a partnership with Linkfire, and Spotify adding new customization tools, analytics, and other controls.