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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Google’s Music Service Gets Podcasts

In order to expand its audience on the largest mobile platform in the world i.e. Android, Google has decided to make an addition to its music service in the form of podcasts. Audio producers are hoping that this move would be fruitful for Google Play Music because it comes amidst a surge of interest in the format that’s almost a decade old. Podcasts have long since been associated with Apple Inc. as the term itself is sourced from iPod. Serial, the breakout true crime drama released last year boosted the popularity of this format considerably and they have gained a lot of traction amongst listeners.

This has also inspired interest amongst advertisers as they are eager to reach their target audience who have gotten into the habit of listening to TV shows on their smartphones. The ubiquity of mobile phones has done wonders for this format, but the most dominant platform for podcasts still continues to be Apple even though the Android OS belonging to Google Inc. holds a greater share of the market. According to a listener survey that was conducted this year, 52% of the audience use their iPhones for listening to podcasts whereas about 26% use their Android phones.

Podcasts have been a part of the iTunes store for a long while and in fact, in 2012, the iPhone maker even launched a native app for them. As per industry executives, the launch of this app has aided in boosting the listernership on the iOS platform. In comparison, a native podcasting app hasn’t been installed on the Android platform, which could be why not a lot of people make use of it. In the opinion of some experts in the podcasting industry, the Android market is rather underserved, which explains the lack of podcast use on the platform.

Partnerships have been signed by Google with various podcast producers including HBO, Gimlet Media, PRX’s Radiotopia and Midroll’s Earwolf network. Podcast creators based on the US can now start uploading shows on Google Play Music from Tuesday onwards. Consumers will be able to access them in the next couple of months. Google Play Music service is also offered on the iPhone. It is also in the search engine giant’s plans to aid podcasters in not just getting in touch with existing users and fans, but also introduce new people to this format and assist them in finding new shows according to their interest and mood.

Podcasts will be recommended with the help of technology that Google acquired from Songza in 2014, which specializes in curated playlists. 

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