Musixmatch is making podcasts more accessible

Musixmatch, a company that allows users to view time-synced lyrics on music streaming platforms, announced that it has begun producing automatic transcriptions of popular podcasts as well.

With a database of lyrics to more than seven million songs in 80 languages, the Bologna, Italy-based tech company claims to have accrued the largest catalog of song lyrics. While you may not recognize the company by name, if you’ve ever accessed time-synced lyrics through Spotify or Apple Music, you’ve used the company’s technology.

Now just 12 years after it was first launched, Musixmatch is venturing into a less melodic realm of audio content: podcasts. To help make podcasts more accessible — both for those who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who simply wish to read, rather than listen to, the content in a podcast — Musixmatch is generating automatic transcriptions of several popular podcasts.

“Unfortunately, audio is an inaccessible medium by nature,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the development last Thursday. “It’s inaccessible by people with hearing impairments, by people who may not be fluent in the podcast recording language, but also by search engines: even if an audio file is tagged with metadata that can be indexed in a search engine, its actual content remains hidden to the listeners and it’s impossible to preview.”

Over the past year or so, Musixmatch has been generating automatic transcriptions of popular podcasts. These transcriptions were first released to the public on Oct. 20. Like the company’s lyrics widget, the transcriptions of each podcast are also time-synchronized.

Throughout the platform’s history, Musixmatch has largely depended on volunteer community members to sync the presentation of a song’s lyrics up with their timing in the song. Similarly, with its first forays into podcast transcriptions, Musixmatch will allow podcast owners and the platform’s more than 500,000 community members to edit these automatic transcriptions and verify their accuracy.

Musixmatch hopes that these efforts will make it easier for individuals to search for podcasts according to their content. Currently, it can be difficult to gauge what’s being said in an episode of any given podcast without actually listening to it all the way through — by transcribing it and tagging keywords mentioned throughout the podcast, Musixmatch claims the platform will make it easier for users to search for and search through audio content.

“Our ultimate goal is to let anyone discover, enjoy and share great audio content without boundaries,” the company wrote. “This is achieved by ‘revealing’ what’s behind the audiowave.”

Andrew Warner
Andrew Warner is a writer from Sacramento. He received his B.A. in linguistics and English from UCLA and is currently working toward an M.A. in applied linguistics at Columbia University. His writing has been published in Language Magazine, Sactown Magazine, and The Takeout.


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