With music streaming now a staple of modern life, service providers have started to find new ways to attract and retain subscribers. Podcasts, which predate this media streaming industry, appear to be returning to the fore, with Spotify and Apple going after their new audio offerings. Amazon Music, however, is not going silent and making a lot of noise that it says will put it ahead of the competition with its feature of synchronized transcriptions.
Audio transcriptions are also becoming a trend in certain industries, especially since they can be used to display expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence. It also has accessibility benefits, allowing people with hearing loss to continue to enjoy content posted on the Internet. Amazon Music is adding something similar to some of its podcasts, but with a twist that almost looks like YouTube’s recent video chapters.
Amazon calls this synchronized podcast transcripts, and it’s not for synchronized listening between multiple people. Instead, the automatically generated text is synchronized with the audio and vice versa so the two always go together. People who have used many of the AI-based meeting transcription services available today may be familiar with such a feature.
For Amazon Music, this allows users to access specific parts of the podcast that interest them, at least based on the transcript they’re reading. It works both forward or backward in time, and the audio will jump to the specific point in the selected text. They can also scroll through the transcript instead of waiting for the audio to reach that section.
Amazon Music’s Synced Podcast Transcripts are starting to roll out in the US on iOS and Android. Unsurprisingly, only a selection of podcasts have this feature enabled, including Amazon Original and Wondery shows like SmartLess, Dr. Death, and Uncommon Ground With Van Jones. There are also shows from American Public Media, audiochuck, Cadence13, The New York Times, Stitcher, and TED, where these transcripts will be available.