Google adds podcasts to music service

Google adds podcasts to music serviceGoogle is adding podcasts to its digital music service in a move that audio producers hope will expand their audience on Android, the world’s largest mobile platform.

The addition of podcasts to Google Play Music comes amid a surge of interest in the decade-old format that has long been associated with Apple — even drawing the name “podcast” from the iPod.

Boosted by the popularity of last year’s breakout true crime drama Serial , podcasts have gained traction with listeners and, in turn, with advertisers eager to reach captive audiences who increasingly listen to shows on their mobile phones.

But even as the format has benefited from the ubiquity of smartphones, Apple has been the dominant platform for podcasts despite Google’s Android commanding a far larger market share.

A listener survey conducted by Midroll Media, the podcast and advertising company acquired this year by EW Scripps, found 52 per cent of its audience listened on their iPhones versus 26 per cent on Android phones.

Apple has long included podcasts in its iTunes store and in 2012 broke out a native iPhone app for podcasts, which industry executives say has helped boost listenership on the Apple platform. In contrast, Android has not had a natively installed podcasting app.

“The Android market is very underserved,” said Mark McCrery, chief executive of podcast advertising company Podtrac.

Google has signed partnerships with podcast producers including Midroll’s Earwolf network, Gimlet Media, HBO and PRX’s Radiotopia. US-based podcast creators can begin uploading shows to Google Play Music on Tuesday; they will become available to consumers in the coming months. Google Play Music is also available on iPhones.

Google also plans to help podcasters reach not just existing fans but help introduce people to the format and help them find new shows “based on their mood or interest”.

It will use technology from Songza, a company it bought in 2014 that specialised in curated playlists, to help recommend podcasts based on context in Google Play Music.

Source: Financial Times
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