Spotify is taking the first step toward making transcripts available for the podcasts on its service. The company announced this morning it’s soon launching a limited beta that will introduce automatic transcripts for its own Spotify Exclusive and Original shows, with the larger goal of enabling transcripts across all podcasts published to its platform in the future. The company also introduced a handful of other accessibility improvements alongside the announcement, including readability features and options for text resizing.
The new transcripts feature will automatically generate transcripts for Spotify’s own shows, allowing users to read the text of the podcast on their iOS or Android device, either with or without sound.
This can be useful from an accessibility standpoint, as it makes the audio programs available to a wider audience that includes those who are hard of hearing or deaf. However, it also makes it easier for any listener who wants to jump to a particular part of a conversation without having to fast-forward or rewind to trying to find the right spot.
Users will be able to scroll and navigate the provided transcripts, then click on any paragraph to start streaming the show from that point, the company explains.
If Spotify makes good on its promise to make transcripts available across its full podcast library, it could save podcasters from having to do the extra work of transcribing shows and publishing those to their website. Instead, they could simply inform listeners that those who wanted a transcript could visit Spotify. Plus, the feature could steer users away from third-party apps offering transcripts, while competing with Apple’s podcasts transcription search. (And it could potentially signal that Apple is poised to release an update in this area in the near future, too, given its recent investment in its redesigned Apple Podcasts app, which will now include subscriptions.)
The transcripts feature will roll out in the “coming weeks,” Spotify said.
Alongside the news of the beta, Spotify introduced a handful of readability improvements to aid low-vision and visually impaired users to better see various buttons in the app, like those to start listening or shuffle play, by adjusting the button’s color, text formatting and size.
And while Spotify already supports the system-wide text size changes known as Dynamic Type, it’s now allowing users to increase text sizes even more through a new feature under Settings on iOS. (Settings –> Accessibility –> Display & Text Size; tap “Larger Text” and drag the slider.)
Spotify says the Podcast transcripts beta is rolling out to all mobile users for select Spotify Original and Exclusive shows in English over the coming weeks.