With podcasts finally launching on YouTube Music and becoming widely available on the platform as of yesterday (at least for the United States), I realize that they’re not for everyone. However, as someone who’s keen to ditch Google Podcasts and have everything in one place where I already listen to music religiously, I’m excited about the change. Today, I’m going to show you how to use a few of the new podcast features in YouTube Music so that you can get the most out of your experience. These include a sleep timer (finally!), a queue tool, audio-only listening, and an option to save episodes for later.
First things first, to access all of the podcast content, simply tap the “Podcasts” smart chip at the top of YouTube Music on mobile or the web. This will filter out all of the music content and replace it with podcasts, making it easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for. From there, tapping on any episode will begin playback. Now, let’s get to the good stuff!
The first major addition to the app as of this week is the long-awaited “Sleep Timer”. By playing an episode of a podcast and calling up its card, you can tap the moon icon with a sleepy “z” to set a timer to pause or stop playback after a specific amount of time. This feature is great for anyone who likes to fall asleep listening to podcasts (that’d be me) without worrying about missing anything important and having to rewind it all during their morning coffee the next day.
The sleep timer can be set for 5, 15, or 30 minutes, as well as an hour or at the end of the track, which is my favorite setting. Another new feature is the “Save episode for later” button. By tapping the three dots menu next to a podcast episode, you can add it to a new “Episodes for Later” collection, making it easy to find and listen to when you have more time.
By revisiting the homepage and tapping the “Podcasts” chip again, you’ll see a “Podcast episodes for later” section if you scroll down a bit. Tapping the “more” button next to that will take you to this bookmark icon-looking page where you can see what you’ve stored. Of course, you can just tap an episode to play it from the homepage too!
In addition to these tools, there are also existing features that pad out the podcast listening experience, such as the “Add to queue” button, which allows you to build out a list of content to play in succession, and the “Audio” and “Video” tabs, which allow you to toggle between audio-only playback and video playback.
Since all of these podcasts come directly from YouTube videos, it can be easy to leave the video toggle on, especially if you’re cool with watching, but if you want to save some data on the go or give YouTube Music that podcast feel, I’d encourage you to toggle over to the “Audio” option, so that the playing content has a thumbnail and no visuals otherwise.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that there’s also a “Playback speed” option, which you can use to crank out listening to more episodes much faster. I probably won’t be using this, but it’s great that it’s available, especially since it was a part of Google Podcasts.
One of the most significant things about this content strategy shift though is that you can now officially cast YouTube videos to smart speakers! Yeah, you heard me right – in the past, you couldn’t do this whatsoever, but now, so long as a “YouTube video” is marked as a podcast and appears in the Music app, it can either be watched or cast directly to your Nest speaker so you can listen more casually away from screens!
Sadly, there isn’t a lot of podcast content on the platform yet. While the new features are certainly nice to have, many content creators may not jump on board due to Google’s tendency to ditch products so frequently. I mean, how many times is Google going to ask people to jump ship and move their podcasts to a new setup? Anyway, I hope you can make use of these new features like I already am, even if it’s just sporadically until (and if) more content arrives. Let me know in the comments if you’re already listening to podcasts in the YouTube Music app, or if you’d like a way to turn it all off.