Podcasts are hot right now. Yes, the act of downloading and streaming audio files just to listen to people speaking has had a huge resurgence in the past couple of years. More and more people have been subscribing to podcasts and listening to them while they drive to work, or working out at their gym, or just sitting back on the couch.
Today, Google announced that it is joining the podcast trend by launching its own, City Soundtracks, as part of a tie-in to its Google Play Music service. It also seems to be a way for the company to help sell music tracks on Google Play.
The premise of City Soundtracks is that each episode focuses on one artist, and the city they consider their home, as they offer insights on the musical themes that have come out of each location. The artist for each episode also creates a Google Play Music playlist. The first three episodes focus on the cities of Oakland, New Orleans, and Austin. A subscription to Google Play Music is not required to download the City Soundtracks podcast.
Google likely decided to get into the original podcast business as an effort to publicize and get more people to sign up for Google Play Music. There are, obviously, a ton of music streaming services to choose from, so throwing in some original content could allow each service to stand out from the rest.
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The current king of music streaming, Spotify, announced earlier this week it had reached the 50 million paying subscriber milestone. It has recently launched a number of original podcasts of its own. Apple Music is going in another direction by launching original streaming TV series. At least two of them have already been announced; a reality competition show, Planet of the Apps, and a stand alone version of Carpool Karaoke, the popular segment of The Late Late Show with James Corden.
If you’d like to give City Soundtracks a listen, check it out at the Google Play link below.