In April of 2020, YouTube Music replaced “Hotlist” with the “Explore” tab. A small addition that’s presented as a new way to access Explore more or less obviates its position in the bottom bar.

Update 4/25: With the “New Features Highlights: Apr 2022” summary earlier this month, YouTube Music confirmed that it introduced the “pinned explore shelf” to make it “easier for you to discover new music elsewhere if you’re unable to find something to listen to on your home feed.”

When running experiments on this feature, we learnt that listeners preferred discovering new music via the new explore shelf vs. the explore tab and so we’re stoked to finally roll this out to more of you!

YouTube Music made the smallest of tweaks in recent days by making each of the three buttons ever so slightly taller to make tapping easier.

1: Old | 2: New

Original 4/8: In recent days, YouTube Music for Android and iOS has widely rolled out an “Explore” section at the very bottom of the “Home” feed that links to New releases, Charts, and Moods & genres. These shortcuts take you to the exact same pages as the items at the top of the Explore tab. 

This gives you the functionality of the Explore tab save for the combined feed that shows all three sections in one go. It somewhat reflects how the main YouTube app replaced the dedicated Explore tab (with “Shorts”) and moved it to the top Home tab carousel.

It’s unclear how many people use Explore regularly as it’s not too personalized compared to the recommendations that appear in Home. However, some do want a generic trending section to browse what the world finds popular.

9to5Google’s Take

YouTube Music could remove the dedicated Explore tab without too much fuss as the underlying functionality remains accessible for those that still want it. As such, this leaves an opening for a new section in the bottom bar.

Reading the institutional tea leaves, a “Podcasts” tab would make a great deal of sense given how YouTube proper is laying the groundwork for a big push. Hopefully, a fully dedicated tab for audio shows means that the main Home/music tab never needs to show podcasts, which is a big complaint of Spotify’s implementation. 

While we’ve yet to see any major sign that podcasts are definitely coming to YouTube Music, a minor one comes from the addition (last month) of strings that reveal “Playback speed” controls are in the works for the app. That capability is obviously found in the main YouTube client, but it does not make sense for tunes in YouTube Music. It does fit for longer stretches of audio, and is a bare minimum for a podcast player. It’d be great to see a development on this front sooner than later. 

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: