Spotify isn't slowing down when it comes to adding new features, and the latest upgrade announced by the streaming service is the automatic transcription of podcasts, so you can read along as you listen (or read along instead of listening).
"We'll be rolling out transcripts to millions of episodes in the coming weeks, and we'll innovate more on this feature in the future," says Spotify. One of those future innovations will be the ability for media such as images to be added to transcriptions.
To find the transcription for a podcast, you simply scroll down on the Now Playing screen in the mobile app, then tap the 'Read along' card to see the full text. The transcription is automatically synced to the audio for you, as you go backwards and forwards.
It's handy for those who are unable to listen to audio on their phone in the normal way, or for those times when you don't have headphones but can't turn up the phone speaker volume either – on the bus or in the library maybe. Hopefully a good percentage of the "ums" and "ahs" and "likes" will get cut out along the way.
Podcasts by the numbers
Spotify has timed the announcement to coincide with International Podcast Day, which we're just learning actually exists and is apparently on September 30. Podcast chapter support is rolling out to more users as well for easier episode navigation, and Spotify is also revamping the show pages that give you information about a podcast.
From what Spotify says, its podcasts are proving a hit: it now has 100 million regular podcast listeners, a 10x increase since 2019, and the stats show that half a billion people have listened to at least one podcast on the platform in that time.
The Spotify podcast catalog now extends to 5 million shows, across 170 different countries, and Spotify is taking part in several podcast festivals and events across the globe in the coming months to push its numbers up even higher.
This all sits alongside the growing range of Spotify audiobooks in the streaming service's growing library of non-musical content, plus rumors about a new Spotify Supremium tier (a possible name for the long-awaited Spotify HiFi).
AI smarts are also being used to translate podcasts into other languages while keeping the original voices, Spotify announced a few days ago, and it also recently announced a new Spotify Jam feature to make it easier for multiple people to collaborate on party playlists.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.