TikTok is going after podcasting—and it’s all YouTube’s fault

The news: Evidence suggests TikTok is getting ready to release a podcast app: Audiomeans noticed that a new bot started harvesting its feeds on October 11, and in a statement to Podnews, says it has tracked TikTok as the source.

  • TikTok also recently registered a patent for TikTok Music that includes podcast content. And the firm is already in contact with record labels. TikTok has over 1 billion monthly users and 138 million monthly active US users.
  • TikTok parent Bytedance already owns Resso, a music streaming service available in Brazil, India, and Indonesia, which currently offers podcasts from hosts like Libsyn.

Will it work? When we identified the different directions TikTok could take to develop a super app, music was one of the possibilities we named. After all, TikTok has propelled numerous unknown artists to prominent spots on the Billboard 100 and Spotify Viral 50. But does podcasting make as much sense as music for TikTok?

  • While it’s too soon to make a definitive call, it’s worth noting that podcasts are increasingly visual. YouTube is the No. 1 podcast platform among US adults who listen to five hours or more of these shows per week, per Edison Research.
  • Google clearly sees a major opportunity with podcasts, going as far as adding a dedicated page for discovery to its video platform.
  • Facebook, meanwhile, shut down its podcast service in May after just one year of operation in which it gained little traction. If TikTok’s gambit succeeds, it might finally settle the question of whether it’s more like YouTube than Facebook.

The big takeaway: Podcasting is a relatively old technology that’s recently experienced a renaissance. By next year, it will have accounted for more than half of all digital audio listening. It makes sense that the hottest property of 2022 is looking to incorporate it.

  • Even if TikTok never becomes a major player in podcasting, snagging even a small piece of the pie can impact players like Apple, Spotify, and YouTube—while simultaneously allowing the leading short-form app to keep users in-app, rather than sending them elsewhere to consume spoken-word content.