Google’s YouTube Music Gambit

a.k.a. “You might win some, but you just lost one”

2 min readFeb 1, 2024

I was surprised to launch my favorite podcast player (especially on my Android phone) and to see this message:

You’d think after I’d been left in limbo after consigning a large portion of my digital life to Google Domains to have that cancelled, I’d be wise to their tactics here.

Killed by Google documents the long, painful history of Google’s habit of killing off useful and beloved services, presumably because they can’t find a viable revenue model and internal teams don’t want to work on an old dog that has no new tricks.

I didn’t really understand the play here at first.

You would think that Google might see value in having people invested in a rich ecosystem of their services that are interoperable.

But no — It became clear when I did some digging that this was a move to consolidate under the YouTube Music brand (does anyone use YouTube Music… when you can find music on YouTube?)

I suppose the logic goes like this:

  1. We have people subscribing to our Podcasts app which isn’t really monetizable
  2. We have a YouTube Music brand which can support podcasts, and is much more readily monetizable
  3. We beat Spotify as the #1 music and podcasts app!

Unfortunately, it’s not going to work that way, in my case. I already have a Spotify account, so rather than adopt a new music app when Spotify works well, it’s more likely I’ll increase my use of Spotify’s version of the podcasts — since all of the shows tend to be syndicated everywhere anyhow.

Google went from having me on 1 of 2 apps competing with Spotify to 0 of 1 apps competing with Spotify.

And now, this…