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(Pocket-lint) - The BBC is to expand its BBC Sounds audio streaming app to include third-party podcasts by British creators.

The service has seen significant growth in recent times, not least during lockdown, with 3.6 million listeners accessing its live-streamed radio stations and homegrown podcasts in just the first week alone.

Now the corporation wants to capitalise on the increased popularity by adding further content, not necessarily baked at the BBC itself.

"We will need to accelerate the growth of BBC Sounds to meet the new listening habits of audiences in both music and speech," it said in its 2020/21 Annual Plan.

"Over the next two years we will evolve the user experience in Sounds to make it easier to use and more personally relevant to each user, innovate around new listening formats within Sounds, develop new exciting content, and in a significant new step incorporate discovery of the best third-party content.

"The BBC is not the only producer of great podcast material. In a first for the BBC, we will open up Sounds to be a home for non-BBC podcasts, helping audiences familiar with podcasting and those new to it to discover the best and most relevant content available, and providing a strong UK route to market that can showcase British talent."

This comes after Spotify took a major step in its plan to dominate the global podcast market. It has paid $100 million to snag the exclusive hosting rights to The Joe Rogan Experience, one of the most listened to podcasts in the world.

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It will soon only be available through Spotify and no longer on platforms, such as Apple Podcasts.

Writing by Rik Henderson.