Starting today, Amazon Music is launching auto-generated, synchronized transcripts on select podcasts for users in the United States. Rolling out for the latest version of the Amazon Music app on iOS and Android, these transcripts will be available for recent episodes of select podcasts by Amazon Originals and Wondery, a network owned by Amazon. Transcripts will also be available for certain shows from American Public Media, audiochuck, Cadence13, The New York Times, Stitcher, and TED, like “My Favorite Murder,” “Crime Junkie,” “Modern Love” and “This American Life.”
After adding podcasts to Amazon Music in September 2020, this is the first major podcast feature that the app has implemented. Spotify beta tested a similar feature for Spotify Exclusive and Original shows in May. Creators on Apple Podcasts can include transcriptions in their show notes, which are then searchable in the app, but they aren’t synced with audio in this way.
Listeners can read the transcript in paragraph form in the app, or they can listen along, with the words being highlighted as the host says them. This feature can also be useful for finding a certain place in a podcast if you want to revisit an episode later — while dragging the cursor along, users will be able to see previews of the words being spoken, like scrubbing a video and seeing thumbnail previews.
As an audio-only medium, transcriptions are essential for podcasters to reach Deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences. Many podcasts already post transcriptions on their website, but this feature offers another way to experience a show. When it comes to live audio, live captioning is an essential accessibility feature — while Twitter Spaces offers this, Clubhouse has yet to implement the feature.