With music streaming now a staple in modern life, service providers have moved on to finding new ways to pull in and keep subscribers. Podcasts, which predate this media streaming industry, seem to be coming back to the forefront, with Spotify and Apple taking jabs at each other over their new audio offerings. Amazon Music, however, isn’t keeping silent and is making a lot of noise that it believes will put it ahead of the competition with its synchronized transcripts feature.
Audio transcripts are also becoming a trend in some industries, especially since they can be used to flaunt machine learning and artificial intelligence expertise. It also has accessibility benefits, letting people with hearing disabilities still enjoy the content being streamed over the Internet. Amazon Music is adding something similar to some of its podcasts, but with a twist that’s almost like YouTube’s recent video chapters.
Amazon calls it synchronized podcast transcripts, and it isn’t for synchronized listening among multiple people. Instead, the auto-generated text is synchronized with the audio and vice-versa so that the two always go together. People who have used several of the AI-powered meeting transcription services available today might be familiar with such a feature.
For Amazon Music, this allows users to jump to specific portions of the podcast that interests them, at least based on the transcript they’re reading. That works both going forward or backward in time, and the audio will jump to the specific point of the selected text. They can also scroll through the transcript instead of waiting for the audio to reach that section.
Amazon Music’s synchronized podcast transcripts are starting to roll out in the US on iOS and Android. Unsurprisingly, only a selection of podcasts has this feature enabled, including Amazon Original and Wondery shows like SmartLess, Dr. Death, and Uncommon Ground With Van Jones. There are also some shows from American Public Media, audiochuck, Cadence13, The New York Times, Stitcher, and TED, where these transcripts will be available.