News May 20, 2021

Spotify to start auto-transcribing podcasts, hi-fi tier ‘imminent’

Spotify to start auto-transcribing podcasts, hi-fi tier ‘imminent’
Image supplied by Spotify

is planning to test auto-generated podcast transcripts “in coming weeks”, initially for select Spotify Original and Exclusive podcasts across iOS and Android.

But the idea is to introduce the feature to all the podcasts on its platform – which numbered 2.2 million six months ago.

“The new feature will automatically generate transcripts for these shows, allowing users to read the text of the specific podcasts on their phones either with or without sound,” the company explained.

“Users will also be able to quickly scroll and navigate through specific episodes and click on any written paragraph to start playing from that point.”

The podcast transcription is one of three new features that Spotify introduced for low-vision and visually/hearing impaired users.

It includes buttons with increased readability features and options for text resizing.

“We care deeply about creating an inclusive experience, which is why we’re working with people with disabilities to conduct user research and plan to evaluate and assess our ideas on an ongoing basis,” Spotify said.

“We want to make Spotify available to everyone, and with these new updates, we’re taking steps to progress toward that goal.”

In the meantime both MacRumours and 9to5mac are suggesting that the launch of Spotify’s new hi-fi premium tier could be “imminent”.

In February, the company indicated the tier would be introduced some time in 2021.

But after this week’s announcements – Apple Music confirming a June date and Amazon changing its tier to a freebie – the pressure was on Spotify to move its plans forward.

Meanwhile Reddit user themonarc inadvertently found a hidden hi-fi menu in the Spotify app by “quickly tapping the glitched icon” that briefly appeared on the Now Playing screen upon launch.

Themonarc shared a three-second video with the Spotify HiFi menu popping up briefly.

A separate screen explained that the hi-fi option supports 16-bit 44.1kHz streaming over wired earphones.

Years back when Spotify began alluding to a hi-fi tier, it was suggesting a subscription add of between US$5 and $10.

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