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Transcription App Matter Begins Letting Users Turn Podcasts Into Text.


The read-it later app Matter is branching out into podcasting, adding a new feature that will allow users to transcribe an episode on their own into text. What it is calling Readable Podcasts will allow Matter users to continue sourcing episodes on their favorite app, saving an episode, and then bring over the Matter app for conversion into text.


When a user listens to the episode, the transcript will be highlighted similar to how music lyrics are highlighted when someone is listening to a song on apps like Spotify. Matter will make the text easy to skim, allowing listeners to jump ahead to a section of the show they want to hear. The text will also be highlightable. And Matter says users will be able to share any of the transcripts that they create. At launch, Matter allows users to bring over podcasts saved from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Castro, and Pocket Casts.


“Readable Podcasts is a novel interface that opens new possibilities for a certain segment of podcast fans,” Matter co-founder Ben Springwater said in a post on social media. “At the same time, it feels familiar, intuitive, and (we hope) obvious in retrospect.”


The backend of the podcast transcriptions is, in part, powered by the podcast search engine Listen Notes. The Matter app currently supports several languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Hindi, Japanese, Chinese, Finnish, Korean, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. But there are some limits to what Matter can do. It is unable to transcribe exclusive shows on Spotify, for instance, because they are not open access. It also does not support private podcast feeds. The app is also iOS-only.


To show off the feature, Matter has showcased four transcribed “timeless” episodes such as comedian Jerry Seinfeld on The Tim Ferriss Show, poet John O’Donohue’s appearance on the On Being podcast, Stripe cofounder John Collison’s appearance on Invest Like The Best podcast, and former CEO and co-founder of AngelList Naval Ravikant on The Knowledge Podcast.


Matter reportedly has tens of thousands of active users and thousands of paying subscribers for its premium service.

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